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  • Paul Wallace

Psalms 10 Through 12

Psalm 10:1-3 (ESV) 1  Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. 3  For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.

This is the heart cry of a righteous person seeing the wicked prosper and wondering why God does not act. The psalmist asks for them to have a taste of their own medicine. They pursue flesh and are proud of it. Money is their god and they don't want the real God to get in their way.

Psalm 10:4 (ESV) 4  In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Convicted by a guilty conscience, the wicked person’s response is to pretend there is no consequence, no Judge, no one who will hold them accountable.

Psalm 10:5-6 (ESV) 5  His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. 6  He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”

The wicked don't see they are laying up wrath against the Day of Wrath. Impending calamity would cause them to consider their ways, so they refuse to consider it.

Psalm 10:7-11 (ESV) 7  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8  He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent.His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9  he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor;he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10  The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 11  He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

His words show the evil in his heart. He walks over the lives of others, especially the needy, to get ahead. He is without sympathy. He has said there is no God in verse 4, but now he says God doesn’t see.

Psalm 10:12-15 (ESV) 12  Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13  Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14  But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15  Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The psalmist asks God to take action against this evil, because God does care for the poor and afflicted, and because God is just.

Psalm 10:16-18 (ESV) 16  The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17  O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18  to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

The world may not be just but God is. He lets the wicked see justice so that they might fear Him and turn from their ways. The God of the Bible is the God of the underdog, the poor, afflicted and fatherless. He will act on their behalf when they cry to Him.

Psalm 11:1-2 (ESV) 1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul,“Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2  for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the stringto shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;

“The Lord is our refuge and strength” is found in Psalms 2:12; 5:11; 7:1; 14:6 and on and on. Why would we not flee to Him when under attack? Where do we usually turn?

Psalm 11:3 (ESV) 3  if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

This reminds me of the present condition of the USA. Our education and entertainment and judicial systems have destroyed the foundations laid down by our forefathers.

Psalm 11:4-5 (ESV) 4  The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5  The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

And yet God reigns from His throne watching over all, testing the righteous and holding the wicked to account. We noted before that God hates evildoers in our study of Psalm 5:5. Some would say the author did not yet understand God’s loves for the world. But perhaps the wicked who have set their hearts against God have rejected His love to the extent that, being thoroughly wicked, God should hate them.

Psalm 11:6-7 (ESV) 6  Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7  For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

This contrasts the final outcome of lives that hate God and those who are upright. It is a contrast of hell and heaven. There is no gray area.

Psalm 12:1-2 (ESV) 1 Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. 2  Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

If David wrote this, 3000 years ago, it seemed like people were so selfish then that life was brutal. It seems to be increasingly that way again. Flattery is selfishness in disguise.

Psalm 12:3-4 (ESV) 3  May the LORDcut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, 4  those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

Wow! A whole lot of people would be lipless and without tongues. Some people think they can talk themselves in to or out of anything. Deception is their tool to gain advantage over others.

Psalm 12:5 (ESV) 5  “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The poor, the plundered, and the needy are those whom God seeks to protect. As in the previous psalm, God is looking out for the abused.

Psalm 12:6 (ESV) 6  The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

If God has said it, He will bring it to pass. He cannot lie. While the present situation may look discouraging, we know God’s heart and His promise to act.

Psalm 12:7-8 (ESV) 7  You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. 8  On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

These sound like promises for us today. Vileness is being exalted in the public square, in our town, and the world. This generation is becoming increasingly corrupt, but God promises to guard us.



  1. Have you ever wondered why God did not clobber some very evil person?

  2. What does psalm 10 teach us about God?

  3. Is the Lord your refuge and strength?

  4. In what ways has God tested you lately?

  5. What does the promise of 12:6,7 mean to you?

  6. Did you notice the thread of justice upon evil in these three psalms?

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