Alfred Place Baptist Church

Psalm 10: Does God Hide Himself In Times Of Trouble?

Psalm 10:1-18 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

 2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.

 3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.

 4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

 5 His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.

 6 He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble."

 7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims.

 9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

 11 He says to himself, "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees."

 12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, "He won’t call me to account"?

 14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.

 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.

 17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Psalm 10 not only follows Psalm 9, it is connected to it. In fact in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, they are one psalm, and Roman Catholic Bibles follow the Septuagint until this day, and all the subsequent numbers of the psalms are one out by our familiar reckoning. For them Psalm 10 is the second half of Psalm 9. To support their understanding you will notice, for example, there is no heading, no title, to Psalm 10 unlike every psalm preceding it. Then I want you also to be aware of something that we wouldn’t know from our English translations, that Psalm 9 is one of those acrostic psalms with each verse beginning with succeeding letters from the first half of the Hebrew alphabet, virtually its ABC. Now this carries on in a fragmentary and modified way in our psalm, Psalm 10. There is a section in it where the verses begin with letters from the second half of the Hebrew alphabet. Then, you start to think, “So, should this be two psalms in the Hebrew Bible?” Well, it is two psalms, but why? Because the mood of Psalm 10 is rather different from that of Psalm 9. The two psalms were written to complement one another. David wrote Psalm 9 about the certain triumph of God, while in Psalm 10 he deals with the problem that is raised by the apparent, but short-lived, triumphing of unbelief all around. The wicked don’t want God. They don’t need God, and they don’t want anyone else to believe in him either.

  1. THE PERPLEXITY OF DAVID.

This perplexity of the King is shown in the first eleven verses. The wicked are getting away with murder all around David. What characterizes ungodly men and women? Four things:

i] Their opposition to God is rooted in a proud heart. Don’t believe their propaganda that their atheism is rooted in science, and facts, and observation. No. What drives them to hate divine redemption and atonement is pride. Put on the spectacles of God’s revelation and look inside them. Don’t look at their outward appearance, their eloquence and numbers and degrees and the positions that they hold. How are their hearts? You’ll find this spirit within them; ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?’ See our text; is there a more comprehensive display of pride in the entire Bible than in verses two to six? Look at David’s words; “Arrogance” (v.2);“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.” “Boasting”(v.3); “He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.” “Pride” (v.4); “In his pride the wicked does not seek him [God]; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” “Haughtiness” (v.5); “His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.” “Self-confidence” (v.6) “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.’ ”

Here he is singing his own praises, and so off-key, and singing it as he walks the precipice of self-righteousness – what a dangerous place to walk. You see the progress in these verses? This proud man is a fisher of men. He wants to hunt down these weak people who say, “The Lord, he is God! Only Jehovah is great.” “What weaklings,” he thinks. “They need a crutch, but I don’t.” This proud man hates all that, and so he schemes to catch and destroy them. We see it in the world’s response to the loveliest and the best. Who was more humble than the Lord Jesus? Yet read the gospels and see how the Pharisees and the chief priests hunted down Jesus, bribing Judas, threatening Pilate, catching and killing our Lord.

Then see next that this successful hunting leads to boasting. He boasts of the cravings of his soul – lusts that one should be ashamed of become the boast of the godless. He speaks openly of the orgies he has attended, and the pornographic websites he visits and the ten pints of beer he drank when he was ‘with the lads.’ He has nights out when his wife is not allowed to come. He has forgotten how to blush. He reviles the Lord. He fills his speech with references of ‘Christ’ and ‘O God,’ Here it is in black and white (v.3). The carnal mind is enmity against God; that is the underlying reason. He loves his own lifestyle.

Is he going to seek God? “Seek God?” No way. Will he go to a Christian meeting? No chance. Will he sit down and read one of the gospels – it would only take him an hour? “Give one hour to thinking about God? You
must be joking.” Will he talk over the claims of Jesus Christ? We’re told, “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (v.4). “My life is so full. I have no room for God.” He is like the inn-keeper at Bethlehem. In fact he sneers at those he has made his enemies. He is determined not to change. He is utterly blinkered. There is no more narrow-minded a man than the unbeliever. “You will never change me,” he says, “You can preach till you’re blue in the face. I’ve made up my mind.” “He says to himself, Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble” (v.6)

That is the voice of entrenched atheism and it is rooted in human pride. It displays itself in the curse of self-sufficiency and man’s autonomy. The philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘superhumans’ (the Ubermensch) would have no need of God – as his despised Christian weaklings do. “God is dead,” he said. I am reminded of an incident that took place when Mohammed Ali the world champion boxer in his early prime got on a plane. The stewardess asked him to fasten his safety belt. He looked at her and smiled and did nothing. She asked him again, but he replied, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” She was up to this banter; she looked right back at him and said, “Superman don’t need no plane.” We are not supermen; we are sinners prone to every virus and disaease, to heart-ache, and to death. We need to know why we are here, and what is the purpose of life. We cannot believe that everything came out of lucky chance, that it was the big bang that produced this finely tuned world, and Shakespeare, and William Wilberforce, and Mozart, and Jesus Christ. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. God became flesh and preached the Sermon on the Mount. So the first thing we see is that atheistic opposition to God and his people is rooted in the ego of a proud heart.

ii] Their opposition to God is demonstrated in a perverse mouth. “His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue” (v.7). You go to a doctor because you don’t feel well and when she begins to examine you she will say, “Now show me your tongue.” She knows how to diagnose, by means of your tongue, symptoms of illness that you have. Your tongue is a barometer to your inward condition. Your tongue is your identity card. It is an indicator of the physical condition; so the words coming out of your mouth also reveal the state of your heart. We can tell from what men say the condition of their souls. The Lord Jesus speaks of the ‘idle’ words that men blurt out, not the prepared speeches, but what slips out of their mouths when they are off guard or when they are surrounded by a gang of others as godless as they are. You think of the crowd of Jerusalem men who chanted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” You think of how they mocked him when he hung on the cross writhing in agony, fighting for every breath; “He saved others, himself he cannot save.” David describes the spirit of the man who hates God, “His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue” (v.7). That is such a combination isn’t it – he can’t stop lacing his speech with cursing, lies and threats? He is a man who is making trouble for his family and workmates. His little circle may think of him as a ‘personality;’ they’ll describe him as ‘larger than life, especially when he’s had a few beers,’ but God takes a more serious evaluation and he calls him evil. Wickedness is under his tongue and soon it spews out,

iii] Their opposition to God is demonstrated in plundering hands. “He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength” (vv. 8-10). Three times there is the refrain, “He lies in wait” as if this was the chief characteristic of the ungodly. They are waiting to get the godly, to catch him when he is unprepared. Look at the history of the world’s opposition to Christianity; it is a history of martyrs, of waves of persecution that have erupted against the gospel, of men burned at the stake even in Cardiff and Carmarthen. When the Calvinistic Methodists traveled around Wales preaching the gospel of God’s free grace they were first met with a hail of dead cats, mud and dung being thrown at them. In Hay on Wye in Wales – today the second-hand book capital of the world – William Seward was stoned to death for preaching the gospel in 1742. We have no time to bring to your attention Rajen Murmo half killed for giving out Christian literature in north Dhaka two weeks ago, or what convert Martha Samuel Makkar suffered on January 24 when the judge told her that he would like to kill her for becoming a Christian, or of the two Pakistani sisters, Parvisha and Snam Maish, 18 and 14 years of age, kidnapped and raped last November but now released to their families after they had been forced to convert to Islam. We have literally hundreds of such stories from last year’s suffering Christians. Pride in the hearts of unbeleivers leads to hatred on their lips and blood on their hands. How fiendishly unnatural it is. Look at creation; no creatures lie in wait and ambush and destroy their own kind. A Red Kite doesn’t prey upon Red Kites but on rabbits and mice and pigeons. A tiger doesn’t attack a tiger. A fox doesn’t devour a fox. You will find the wolf and the lion being quite favourable to their own kind, yet men will prey upon one another, the strong swallowing up the weak. What a proof of man’s depravity.

iv] Their opposition to God is demonstrated in a profane mind. “He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and he never sees’” (v.11). This atheist has a conscience. He is like Saul of Tarsus kicking against the sharpest goads. He sees these men and women he is helping to stone to death behaving so meekly and blamelessly. Do you remember what Stephen did when men began to stone him? Did he curse them? Did he say, “Wait until God my Father gets hold of you?” No. He prayed for them. “He fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’” (Acts 7:60). Saul of Tarsus never forgot it while still in his blind rage, seeking to destroy other Christians while the goads of God were going into his conscience. “What have you done?” What do men say to themselves to appease the great divine monitor within their minds rebuking them for their sin? “God forgets all about it. More than that; he covers his face and he never sees.” Fifty years ago Mr. Fidler, the principal of the South Wales Bible College, was preaching in a country chapel and he had hospitality with a woman who surprised him in the afternoon by switching on the TV set and starting to watch the programmes. This was too much for Mr. Fidler. There was no other room available for him; the afternoon was cold and wet and so he took his clean handkerchief out of his breast pocket and spread it over his face and shut his eyes. He would see nothing. So too, in this psalm this anti-Christian tyrant and persecutor, whose conscience troubles him because of the innocent blood he has shed, says to himself, “Well . . . if there is a God he’s not
one who looks at our lives and judges and evaluates them and holds us to account. He hides his eyes from seeing me. He will quickly forget what I did,” but God never can forget. There are no memory cells dying in the mind of the Ancient of Days. Yesterday is as fresh as today; the first century is as vivid as is this very moment to his omniscient mind. This is the God to whom we must give account.

So there are the four pictures of the atheists’ opposition to God, but if this is the case, why does God stand far off? Is he indifferent to men’s contempt? Why does he hide himself in such times of trouble? (v.1) This is David’s perplexity. The greatest theological problem David has is God’s seeming indifference in the face of fierce persecution. God is withdrawing himself while David wants him near at hand, resisting the schemes of the ungodly, vindicating and delivering his servants. Where is God hiding? Isn’t this a very common problem? We ask God for help, but he is not answering like we think he should be. The struggle usually goes something like this. We have a problem of some sort and it concerns us because it’s too big for us to solve. Hostility is everywhere. So we pray to God and ask for his help. We know we should do that, and others encourage us to speak to the Lord, but . . . nothing happens. The problem just goes on. So we keep on praying, and the problem still lingers on with nothing changing at all. So we get weary, weary of dealing with our problem, weary of continually praying about it, and (even more) weary of seemingly getting no response from God. 

Then after we’ve been weary for awhile, we begin to have a problem with prayer. We find ourselves wondering if it really does any good, if it’s worth it to keep on praying. But a little later we slip into another struggle. We begin to doubt ourselves: “What’s the matter with me?  Don’t I pray right? Aren’t my prayers good ones? Is there something wrong with my faith? Is it too small?” And after a while it gets even more painful. Soon we are not only weary, and doubting prayer, and doubting ourselves, but we begin to have a problem with God. Where is he? Is he out there? Does he listen? Does he care? That’s where David was at, and when you get there, it’s not a very large step to becoming cynical or angry. Have you experienced this?  Can you identify with what I’m talking about?

Now, some folk are not comfortable with the term ‘unanswered prayer’.  They somehow want to believe that God answers every prayer in one way or another and so they try to explain away the whole idea of ‘unanswered prayers’. They feel they have to paint it over. But the fact of the matter is that in actuality, when we are struggling with the fact that nothing seems to be happening, it does feel to us as if it were unanswered prayer. If I am praying for some change, and no change seems to happen, then to me it’s an unanswered prayer, and that can have a great impact on our personal relationship with God. What it really comes down to is that there is an apparent conflict between what the Bible says about prayer and what is happening in our own experience. And we struggle with how to reconcile the two.

You see, the Bible says prayer is good, it’s powerful, and it makes a difference. So we find many prayers in the Bible, prayers that obviously made a difference.  We hear Jesus say in Matthew, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find” and then he went on, “For everyone who asks receives . . .” (Matt.7:7&8).  And we remember that in John’s gospel he said, “The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name”. (John 15:16 and 16:23) And the apostle James said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16) and then he substantiates that claim with the story of Elijah who prayed first that it would not rain and it did not for three and a half years, and then he prayed that it would rain and it did rain! So with things like that in the Bible, I would expect that when I pray it’s going to make a difference, and things are going to change. Wouldn’t you? But then there are our own experiences which don’t match that. We have this problem that must be resolved, so we pray about it, but nothing happens; there is no resolution. We pray for healing from the disease for our loved one; and she still dies. We pray that our business will thrive, but it doesn’t. We pray that our marriage will survive, and it falls apart. We pray for our children and their course of life, but they still get into trouble.  You could add many more to the list.  So what do we do? Our experience at times just seems so contradictory to what the Bible says!

When that happens we are right at home with some of the folk in the Bible. Folk like David, who prayed a lot, and yet wasn’t immune to the kind of contradiction that we are struggling with. This psalm is not what you’d expect to hear in the Bible. It starts not with worship, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . .” but with a blunt, earthy, complaint from a man struggling with the silence of God. Listen to his cry: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1). That is the perplexity of David. He is surrounded by enemies who are not hiding themselves. They are persecuting him; God seems a long way away hiding himself. So what does David do? Does he give up on praying? Does he stop? We turn from David’s perplexity to David’s plea in verses 12 to 15.

  1. THE PLEA OF DAVID.

David does not stop praying. Our Lord Jesus tells us that men should always pray and not faint. What is he demanding from us? Tenacity in prayer. Let God know of your deep, deep desire for what you are asking for. We can dream of a hundred things a day that we’d like. We can pray about ten of them, but if there’s something we know that’s pleasing to God then we’ll plead with God for it with importunity. We pray, and there is a gap, maybe a long gap before that particular answer comes. Is that a wasted prayer? Did we mix it with worship and thanksgiving and submission and longing? Yes. So was it worship acceptable to God through Jesus Christ? Yes. Were others of our requests answered? Yes, and did we have sins to confess and gratitude to express? Yes. Did he ask us to pray, “Thy kingdom come?” Yes. So let’s go on praying for what we haven’t yet received. Please do not faint. And that is what David does.

i] David remembers the weak.Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, ‘He won’t call me to account’? But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (vv. 12-14). How do we help the helpless? We seek by every means of practical help to do what we can to alleviate their plight. Do they need money? Do they need assistance? Do they need company? Then we try to provide it, or encourage others to assist. Do we speak to them? Do we remind them of God’s great and precious promises? Yes. Do we pray for them, both when we are with them and when we are away from them? Of course. Why? Because this is one means God uses to help them, not only our visits and gifts and work, but by our prayers for them their pain i
s alleviated and their burdens made lighter. So we pray, “Do not forget the helpless” (v.12). In other words, “Lord, while you are looking after a billion details in the Milky Way and hearing the prayers of millions of people on the earth who need you, there is little Mrs. Jones who is bedridden and helpless. Do not forget her.” We stir ourselves with boldness to address the Almighty; “Arise, O Lord! Lift up your hand O God!” (v.12). It is a call to the Lord of Sabaoth, the Lord of heaven’s hosts to make bare his arm, roll up his sleeves and deliver his faithful people. David reminds God of the wicked. They are reviling the Lord. They are boasting that they can get away with their shameful deeds; “God won’t call me to account.” That is their arrogance; “It is time for you to work, Lord,” prays David, and he dares to remind God of what is all around him, “Trouble and grief.” “O God, do you see it?” he asks. “Then take it in hand. The victimized people are putting their trust in you. You want to be known as the helper of the helpless and the father of the fatherless. Then arise Lord.” So in his bold plea he brings the weak before God. He will not stop praying – for the sake of the helpless.

ii] David rejects the wicked. “Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out” (v.15). When the Forward Movement brought the gospel to industrial South Wales in the 19th century its workers sought to help the people in many ways. For example, in Merthyr Tydfil there was a widow who was behind, a month or two, in her rental payments and so her landlord sent to her house two of his men and they removed her front door. It would be replaced only when she paid her rent. The ‘good old days . . .’ How angry does such an action make you? Wouldn’t you long that men who perpetrate such wicked and evil acts should be stopped? So David prays here about the oppressed, “Break the arm of the wicked and evil man.” “Break them,” he prays, and then he prays to God to judge them. “call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out” (v.15).

One great reality about the Day of Judgment is that it will be a day of holy reckoning. Men who’ve not been found out for their rapes, and murders, and swindles, and thefts, and lies will be exposed before the universe. This is a moral universe and God will bring the truth to light. What men sow they will also reap. Don’t we pray, “Call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out”? Think of the last hundred years and the horrors that have marked our world. Is not your contentment as a Christian found in part in this, that it is not the media who are going to decide who was good and who was evil but the Lord himself? Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? There was a recent text poll of 50 million young Russians. They were asked to name their greatest national figure and a 13th century warrior named Alexandr Nevsky won it, but Josef Stalin was just beaten into third place by a last-minute television rally. Think of it! Stalin was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. He is the Hitler of Russia and yet for many young Russians today he is their greatest national figure. “Call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.” There are multitudes like him, merciless tyrants, but what of ourselves? Are we not wicked men and women, and are we not fearful of the day of judgment and our secret sins revealed in the light of God? Is not our only hope that the Judge in that day will be the Saviour who took our judgment in his body on the cross? “Guilty, but please forgive for Jesus’ sake,” will be our plea.

  1. THE PRAISE OF DAVID.

The LORD is King for ever and ever” (v. 16) cries David. He is not going to stop praying after mere weeks or months have passed during which time his prayers seem not to have been heard. He contemplates the eternity of God and tries to see the rise and fall of tryants from that perspective. When the late Murdoch Campbell was a mere lad he overheard a good man remark on what one of his friends had said to him about God. Nothing gave that man more consolation than God’s immutability, that God does not change. That remark gave young Murdoch such encouragement. Some angels have changed from perfection to defilement. Some people have changed from perfection to fallenness, but God cannot change. He is without change in himself; he is unchangeable in his love, in his promises, and in his covenant faithfulness. “I am Jehovah; I change not. Therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

On another occasion Murdoch was visiting one of his members. She was in some need, and yet with solemnity and dignity she looked at him and said of the Lord, “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.”

“A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone,

Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.” (Isaac Watts 1674-1748).

Generations rise and fall before his face. Civilizations rise and fall before his face, but “Thy throne O Lord is for ever and ever,” and it is because of his unchangeable love and faithfulness that all of us will be established before his throne. David says to himself and to all his court, “The LORD is king for ever and ever” (v.16). His comfort is in the eternal sovereignty of God. He is the Christ of almighty changeless love. What a battle cry of the Christian life. In point of compressed pregnancy of language it rivals the Muslim’s cry, “No God but God!” or the old Jewish ‘confession,’ “Jehovah our God, Jehovah one.” But in depth of emotional appeal it transcends both. Here vibrates a passionate assertion of the unfailing trustworthiness of Jesus Christ, the Christian’s support and stay, the eternal refuge of his people, our King for ever and ever.

Some days we are overwhelmed with the weakness of the church and the power of evil, the great structures of unbelief that would destroy the name of Christ, and then this is our peace, Christ Jesus reigns – “The LORD is king for ever and ever.” He praises God for his eternity, this incommunicable attribute of God. All of us had a beginning, but he is God from everlasting to everlasting. So David’s land was being invaded by the Philistines and the Moabites; the people were being pressed in on both sides. David comforts them in the justice of God; “the nations will perish from his land.” It is not their land; God has promised it to his people until he comes to bruise the serpent’s head.

But finally David comforts his heart in the mercy of God. Though he wonders where God is, and why he doesn’t arise when the enemy comes in like a flood, this is his final assurance; David has broken through; “You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more” (vv. 17&18). The king had been wavering; he heard of the pain; he saw the grief that his people were enduring. He saw the mighty strength and cruelty of the enemy. He cried to God for help ag
ain and again and at first there was no response but then assurance flooded his soul. God does hear. God does answer in his perfect timing; “You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more”. Here is the little orphan girl and she is crying to God and all of heaven is listening to defend her. The terrifying men who dominate the earth will not have the last word. God will encourage and keep all his people.

Remember, God is delaying in answering your own prayers for a reason. It is not mere sovereignty that is saying No. Maybe the Lord is wisely denying a request that wouldn’t be good; or perhaps God has a better alternative plan. If we could see the big picture we’d know that God is indeed at work answering. I would also caution you to be careful about how much you feel you can demand of God. It’s true we may tell God all of our needs, and we may ask him to help with all of them, but sometimes, I’m afraid, we also think we can tell God exactly how he ought to answer, and exactly what he should do. Then if he doesn’t do it in exactly our way, we think he’s being silent. We call for help, but then we must leave it to him to decide how and in what way he will help.

There’s another caution too. Don’t assume that just because God is silent it means he is inactive. It’s easy to jump to that conclusion, I know, but not all silence is inactivity. Sometimes while he seems silent he is busy working out of view, in the background, the tide is coming in and the boats in the harbour are beginning to rise up off the sand and the creeks are being filled with water again. It is quite imperceptible but it is getting done.

I want to conclude with this, that we must learn to live with mystery. There are and always will be things that we can’t understand. There will always be some of God’s ways that we can’t fit into our finite minds. They are sometimes beyond our comprehension. And so, though we cannot understand why he seems to stand afar off and hide himself from his people in trouble, we affirm that from everlasting to everlasting he is God, he loves us, he is merciful, trustworthy; he is the source of all good, and we can trust him . . . no matter what!

Keep on praying. Don’t give up . . . even when you are tempted to doubt its value. There is a very stirring parable that Jesus told in Luke 18. A widow was calling on a judge for some justice; and the judge paid no attention to her. Day in and day out she kept coming to him, but he wouldn’t listen. Finally, after many such attempts he changed and gave her what she requested. The point Jesus is making is not that God is like that Judge whose reluctance has to be overcome by monotonous persistence, but that if a godless hard man will finally give in to the persistence of a widow then how much more will God give the very best to those who trust in him.

How much more will a loving Father give his own children what is best for them? So, I say to you no matter how successfully God seems to be hiding himself, don’t quit calling on him. All of our praying comes down to trusting God. It comes down to a deep sense of trust. And how can we do that? How can we know he’s worth trusting? Men and women, just think of what he has done. Think of all the ways in which he has reached into your life in times past, times you may be tempted to forget about in your struggles. Think about all the ways in which he has reached into the lives of others near you, and of others right through the halls of history. Think of how he has loved, cared, supported, rescued, carried and pardoned, even to the point of sending his Son Jesus Christ to this world to be the payment for our salvation. Imagine that! He sent his Son to live here and love sinful people; to die here and pay for our sins; to rise from the dead to accomplish victory over death for us. Think of all of that. Surely he listens and answers.  I love the way the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 8 (verse 32) “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Keep praying, and keep trusting the God who at times seems to hide himself. Trust him, even when you can’t see what he’s doing!

15th February 2009   GEOFF THOMAS