We are learning to sing a new Psalm—new for this congregation—Psalm 10. It is full of words, lots of words, many of them not so nice words about this world, our own flesh, and the power of a strong, saving, violent God. This is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. When you learn to sing the Psalms, you learn to sing things that your God loves to have you sing and things you might not ever have thought you wanted to sing.
Psalm singing is soul stretching.
So what is this Psalm about? We live in a world where optimistic as we are called to be, sin and the horrible results of sin, are a living, ongoing reality. We are tempted at times to think that God does not care. Quite the opposite—He teaches us in Psalm 10 how to pray against it and how to complain properly before Him.
“To the Church of God during times of persecution and to individual saints who are smarting under the hand of the proud sinner, this Psalm furnishes suitable language both for prayer and praise.” —Spurgeon.
How are we to complain? Verse 1 says, “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” In God’s providence, it sometimes appears from our vantage point as if God is aloof to our concerns and needs. And yet, here we see that God has composed a prayer for us in just such times.
“(God, the) refiner is never far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire, and the Son of God is always walking in the midst of the flames when his holy children are cast into them.” —Spurgeon (again).
And there are dozens of reasons that our heavenly Father has placed us in such flames: past sins, strengthening of faith, discovering our depravity, life-instruction—these may be why God appears at times to hide His face. One obvious reason in this Psalm’s context is to instruct the godly to turn and cry out to God to put down the wicked.