The main feature in this psalm is the foul portraiture of
evil. Prayer follows in full confidence that God will arise and judge. May
the Spirit raise hatred of evil in our hearts!
1. "Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? why do You hide
Yourself in times of trouble?"
There is much weakness in the strongest faith. It is
prone to sink when billows swell and storms descend. Trials assume
desertion's form. Darkness seems to imply that God cannot be near. The sun
eclipsed seems gone forever. But faith in weakest hours still prays,
and meekly questions, 'Why is it so?'
2. "The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let
them be taken in the devices that they have imagined."
The Spirit proceeds to draw a full-blown portrait of sin.
The mask is withdrawn. The monster is dragged forth to light. The hideous
features are revealed. The Spirit's pen cannot exaggerate. The dark colors
are not too dark. The deep ingredient of the wicked heart is pride. This
scorns the humble followers of the Lamb, and seeks to trample them beneath
insulting feet. But often do oppressive schemes recoil, and plots involve
3. "For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and
blesses the covetous, whom the Lord abhors."
In arrogance the wicked boasts that his desires shall
prosper. And who can hinder him? He loves the hoarders of ill-gotten gains.
In spite of God's abhorrence, they are his delight.
4. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance,
will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts."
His haughty attitude vaunts independence. He does not
stoop to study God's will. He is no suppliant at wisdom's gate. God is not
the substance of each thought, but rather rashness says, "There is no God."
5. "Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do
not see your punishment awaiting them. They pour scorn on all their
His every step insults both God and man. His dim eye
grovels on the ground. It has no power to pierce the heavens and read God's
will. His insolence condemns his foes.
6, 7. "He has said in his heart, I shall not be moved,
for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit
and fraud; under his tongue is mischief and vanity."
In self-complacency he thinks prosperity must last
forever, and evil days can never come. He cannot speak without floods of
evil issuing forth. His words are open curses and insidious falsehoods.
8. "They lurk in dark alleys, murdering the innocent
who pass by. They are always searching for some helpless victim."
Evil words lead on to evil deeds. He craftily devises
murderous acts. He narrowly observes the poor and feeble, thirsting for
9, 10. "Like lions they crouch silently, waiting to
pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture their victims and drag
them away in nets. The helpless are overwhelmed and collapse; they fall
beneath the strength of the wicked."
Sometimes as a beast of prey he crouches for a desperate
spring; sometimes as a crafty huntsman he spreads entangling nets. By every
art he seeks to execute his hateful plots.
11. "He has said in his heart, God has forgotten; He
hides His face; He will never see it."
False thoughts of God deceive him. Impunity persuades him
that God disregards. He flatters himself that omniscience does not observe
12. "Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; do not
forget the humble."
These sights of sin impel believers to the mercy-seat.
They turn away. They look above. They seek their God. They tell out their
fears. They ask His help. They commit the persecuted to His care. They stir
Him up to have them in remembrance.
13, 14, 15. "Why do the wicked condemn God? He has
said in his heart, You will not require it. You have seen it; for You behold
mischief and spite, to requite it with Your hand; the poor commits himself
to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked
and the evil man; seek out his wickedness, until You find none."
How vain the atheistic thought that God sits still in
unconcern! From His high throne He ponders all the ways of men. In right
time He will avenge His honor. The helpless shall indeed be helped; the
boastful arm of wickedness shall be shattered. All evil shall be dragged to
light; no sin shall go unpunished.
16. "The Lord is King forever and ever; the heathen
have perished out of His land."
Glorious light shines forth. The throne of God is set. He
rules, He reigns, in majesty supreme forever. His enemies are all destroyed.
Throughout the blissful realm no trace of evil can be found. His happy
subjects now lift up the head. One shout is heard, Glory, glory to our God!
17, 18. "Lord, You have heard the desire of the
humble; You will prepare their heart, You will cause Your ear to hear; to
judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no
Good Lord, increase our faith in the power and prevalence
of prayer! The eternal world will show that supplication never desired in
vain. Grace prompts the desire, inspires the words, prepares the heart, and
gives the full reply. When God comes forth to answer and to help, what can
feeble flesh avail! It perishes forever. From this view of the wickedness of
the wicked, their righteous doom, the glories of the coming kingdom, let us
bless Him who has delivered us from the wrath to come, and called us to His
kingdom and glory!