The recent news in Afghanistan was so difficult to listen to with all the suffering that is taking place. Life has always been full of evil as we consider drugs and human trafficking. It’s overwhelming, and often hard to relate. But through movies and other media, we can catch glimpses of this world, and we realize that the reality is much worse. Real people are suffering from real bad people.
Why God!? Where are you? These are questions that we often ask ourselves. Today’s Psalmist understands our feelings. Verse 1 ”Why do You stand far away, LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” When we’re suffering, God seems so far. But God IS there. That’s why the Psalms are so important. It brings our real feelings and sufferings…and God. Look at how the wicked are described. They are: (Verse 2) Arrogant, Wicked; (3) Boastful, Greedy, Disrespectful to the LORD; (4) Haughty, with no God; (5) Successful in the world’s ways, (6) Proud; Full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; (7) Murderers; (11) Forgets God
Verses 4 and 11 talk about taking God out of a person’s thinking. Why is that so important for the wicked to do this? Without God, there is no judgement. That is also why they attack the Bible. It is God’s Word. Through it, we not only
know God, but we know His standards, His holiness, His justice, etc. Psalm 14:1 says “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good.” The fool thinks they will get away with their wickedness. They are only focused on the now and forget about the future judgement. If this life was all that there is, it would be unfair. But there is an afterlife that is more real and eternal that we look forward to. That is how Christians in the past, and those who are suffering now can endure. Justice will come. Relief will become a reality. We need to start by putting God first in our lives. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
And part of growing in Christ is to put our trust in the future promises of God. In the end, we will be victorious. 1 Cor.15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
So the Psalmist continues… 12 “Arise, LORD; God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the humble.” He hasn’t seen justice yet, but he prays for those who are suffering. He helps us to know how to pray. In the midst of hardship, he focuses on God and worships. God hears our prayers. Believe it, even though you don’t feel it. In the midst of trials, it is difficult to feel God’s love. But He is there. Justice will come. The wicked will not be able to hide. And one day, there will be a new heaven and new earth. Jesus promises, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Remember this promise.
I think hard times may come in the near future. There is evil in the world. And there is a movement to take Christ and the Bible out of our culture. Believers must learn to stand in the truth, and trust God. 2 Tim 3:12 “Indeed, all who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The purpose is not to scare you, but to prepare you.
When things don’t seem fair, and the wicked seems to prosper, remember this Psalm. Know that our LORD hears our prayers. He will strengthen you, comfort you, and use you mightily in the midst of all this.
(The above is a summary of the message shared by Rich Nakamura during our worship service on August 29, 2021.)