‘Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.’ Psalm 10:12 (NIV)
As we continue our journey through the Psalms, seeing how they are relevant to living life in an often lonely and hostile world, Psalm 10 should be tremendously encouraging and comforting to you and me.
In verses 1-11 the psalmist goes to great lengths to paint the picture of those who have clearly rejected God’s ways but seem to be prospering. For example:
‘His [he who has rejected God] ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.’”’ v5-6
Is this not the reality that many — even most — of us see around us on a day-to-day basis? Those who have no concern for God’s ways seem to thrive and flourish in this world, whilst those who are looking to live for God often (although not always) face real hardship, disappointment and pressure. Many would point to the recent financial scandals in the city and ask how it is that some can earn such eye-watering amounts and live such lavish and self-absorbed lives, whilst we may be struggling to live a godly life on a meagre amount.
Sam Storms writes:
‘It is difficult to live in this world of corruption, abuse, and mindless cruelty and not experience a recurring spiritual nausea.’
For many, this tussle can become so suffocating that it slowly strangles the life out of their relationship with God. What about you? Do these types of questions haunt and suffocate you?
I don’t want to try to answer these questions here (although the Bible has plenty to say on the matter), but rather to show you how the psalmist responds: ‘Arise, Lord!’ In the midst of a world that seems upside-down-and-back-to-front the psalmist doesn’t retreat from prayer and intimacy with God; instead he presses in: ‘Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.’ The psalmist has learnt to position his heart so that all the injustice and back-to-front-ness of the surrounding world only adds fuel and fervour to the fire of prayer in his heart. He was looking and longing for God’s solution, God’s remedy, God’s medicine to the sickness he sees around.
It is one thing to see and observe the injustice around us, but another to turn that into Godward prayer. Today, I want to encourage you to take a fresh look around you in your neighbourhoods and communities. There is much injustice! There are many who are ‘helpless’ (v12). Don’t fall into the trap of becoming so preoccupied with the questions and frustrations that you never turn them into fuel for prayer. Don’t we want God to arise in our neighbourhoods and communities? Don’t we want those facing injustice to be treated with dignity and justice? Don’t we want the helpless to find help and hope? If so, let’s join with the psalmist in calling out afresh to God to ARISE!