Today’s passage: Psalm 10
Today’s chocolate: Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch
Whoa. What just happened?
In yesterday’s psalm, David was declaring the unceasing faithfulness of God: “You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (9:10). And do you remember “The needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever” (9:18)? Yeah, well, today David is all “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (10:1). And then he launches into a ten-verse litany of the wicked man’s immoralities, his arrogance against God and abuse to humanity. Welcome back to disorientation, fam.
Just yesterday, David was convinced that God brings the evil man to justice, gives him the due penalty for his sin, snuffs out his name like a candle. But today, it looks like the evil man is lying and murdering with impunity, and all David can do is pray for God to intervene. In verse 5, David literally says of the evil man, “His ways are strong at all times;” the NASB translates it “His ways prosper at all times.” And think of someone at the top of their game in our society, someone who apparently got there by relentlessly abusing their power and stepping on others. Doesn’t it look like that person will be there forever?
It’s a funny thing about the orientation-disorientation-reorientation process: you don’t go through it just once. This isn’t some sinner’s prayer thing where God flips a switch and suddenly you’re equipped for whatever garbage life can throw at you. You may have learned the lesson of one reorientation experience, but you’ve got a host of other areas in which you’re clinging to the unexamined complacency of mere orientation. And even reorientation can stagnate, settle into a pattern, become its own self-assured orientation. One minute you’re praising God’s everlasting righteousness, the next you’re begging, “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; do not forget the afflicted” (10:12). You thought you’d gotten there, but you’re not there yet.
There’s a turn at the end, sure. Pulling into the home stretch toward reorientation, David concludes:
O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (10:17-18)
But it’s a funny thing. You pull across that finish line, you chug from your water bottle, and with your hands on your knees you thank God for pulling you through the race, but tomorrow you’ll be out at the track again. Same ol’ starting line, slightly different you. And that jerk who kicked your shins yesterday is right there beside you, ready to run again, smirking.