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The Helper King

Psummer in the Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:33
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As someone committed to the exposition of the Bible, I come to passages like Psalm 10 and think, “Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t be so committed to the exposition of the Bible.”
You see, among other things, the exposition of the Bible means to take a book of the Bible or a chunk of a book and preach it straight through.
This means I will arrive at various passages covering various topics and, instead of skipping them (as I would sometimes like to do), I preach them.
Psalm 10 is simply what’s next in our series “Psummer in the Psalms.” It’s no one’s favorite chapter in the Bible. But one thing I love about Psalm 10 is that it is immediately applicable. We’ve all felt the way David felt as he penned verse 1, I’m sure of it.
David asks a questions we’ve all of us asked, in one form or another:
“Why, Lord? Why? Where are you? Why aren’t you taking care of this? Why would you let this happen? Why?!?!”
You’ve been there, I know you have. If you’ve walked this earth for more than a few years, you’ve asked “Why, Lord?”
You’ve lost a loved one. You’ve been rejected, fired, beaten-down. You’ve been betrayed, abandoned. You’ve been crushed by life, by others.
“Why, Lord? Why?!”
We ask this kind of question:

When the Lord seems far off,

Isn’t this when we ask “Why, Lord?” questions—when God seems distant, when He appears to be unconcerned?
David jumps right in. He wastes no time.
Psalm 10:1 NIV
1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
This is the problem, the tension of the psalm. This is a big deal. David feels as if the Lord is off on holiday, taking a vacation, down for a nap—and that’s best case scenario.
Worst case is that God is intentionally standing far off or even hiding Himself from the situation, like one might do when they want to avoid dealing—like God has silenced His phone, closed the blinds, turned out the lights, and is hoping the person at the door goes away.
Psalm 10:1 The Message
1 God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?
This is very real; this is that down in the nitty-gritty with God stuff.
“Why, Lord?!?!” we ask when the Lord seems far off.
Some would say that God is far off. Some would say God is unconcerned and/or unaware of what’s going on with David, with us. God, say some, might even hide Himself. God may just let things devolve into chaos, making their way toward uncreation.
I say God is not far off. God is not unconcerned. God is not hidden.
And I don’t believe David thinks that God is absent or avoiding him, either.
I agree with two men vastly smarter and more educated than me who contend that David asking “Why, Lord?” shows faith on David’s part.
That is, by virtue of asking, “Why, Lord? Why are things going down like this?”, David shows that this is not typical of God; this is not how God usually behaves. This is uncharacteristic of God.
It’d be like showing up to worship on Sunday and finding the trash overflowing, the bathrooms nasty, all the classrooms wrecked from the last weeks’ kids, old bulletins and communion cups in the pews, grass and mud and dirt on the carpet.
That would be more than odd, wouldn’t it? Because we know it’s characteristic of Brenda and Jackie to keep this building squeaky-clean.
If we walked in to a dirty building, we’d ask, “Why? Why is it like this, ladies? Where have you been?”
We’d ask “why” because it’s so different than what we’re used to.
The fact that David asks, “Why, Lord?” is a demonstration of his faith in his God, Yahweh. David knows that it’s not like the Lord to stand far off, it’s not like Him to hide Himself. David knows this is uncharacteristic of God—completely and totally at odds with who He is and how He operates.
This is not a philosophical discussion in a college dorm; this is prayer. David doesn’t begin with, “Well, if God is both almighty and good, then why...” but goes straight to God and says, “Why, Lord Yahweh, why do you...”
David might not understand the Lord, but he’s still dealing with the Lord—and that’s being faithful.
I watch as you come into this place week after week, year after year, dealing with God in good times and in bad, never giving up on God, but no doubt asking, “Why, Lord?!?!”
And that’s okay. That’s good, even! If you weren’t asking “Why, Lord?” it’d be that you’d given up on Him or didn’t trust Him.
David is being honest with God, and He’s being faithful where God is concerned. Like David, we might be baffled with God, but we don’t give up on Him—that’s faith.

When the Lord seems far off, and the wicked succeed,

David continues his prayer, his song, his psalm and takes up a lot of space in describing the wicked.
Psalm 10:2–11 NIV
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” 7 His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”
Sometimes, sometimes the Lord seems far off. And sometimes the wicked seem to succeed.
You don’t have to look very far to see this, not very far at’all. Turn on the TV or open the newspaper. Everyone—from celebrities to politicians to the neighbor next door—rejects God’s laws and think themselves unshakable. And yet, their ways seem to be prosperous.
I’m sure I’m not alone in the kind of thinking that says, “Look at them! They mock God, they are pure evil in thought and action, they have no room for Him, and yet they succeed; they are doing well. They’re driving fancy cars and living in swanky homes without a care in the world.”
It seems like the wicked succeed. They prosper. They do well for themselves, all the while mocking God and taking advantage of the weak, the helpless, the innocent.
Why does David give this description? Why take up so much time and space for him? Why give the wicked all this press?
In this psalm, so far, God is far off and the wicked are doing nicely.
It’s a function of the Psalms to touch the nerve of this problem and keep its pain alive. This psalm is working to push our buttons. It’s a good reminder for us—we are living in a corrupt world full of corrupt people.
This is meant to make us uncomfortable, to remind us that—as people of God—we stand up against the whole wicked world. This is meant to upset us, to disturb us.
The hope is that this will keep us from forgetting.
The believer’s life is a war, a life-long conflict, and Psalm 10 is, for one, meant to aggravate you, to anger you, to sadden you—to keep you from forgetting that your life is always at odds with the wicked.

When the Lord seems far off, and the wicked succeed, cry out for His help.

David gets to the thrust of the psalm here in verse 12.
David has hit the tension of the moment with verse 1—Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
And then he has given a long, extended description of the wicked (vv. 2-11).
And now, the psalmist sets out in prayer, pleading with the Lord:
Psalm 10:12–18 NIV
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. 16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
David calls for the Lord to do what He has done in the past; David knows the Lord Yahweh well enough to call Him to act according to His character.
David knows it’s unlike Yahweh to forget the helpless. David knows that the Lord will step in, He will intervene. He will break up the fight and take the side of the weak—every single time.
When the wicked are taunting the Lord, reviling Him and His people, even as they ignore God and push any thought of God from their lives, God is in the mix.
Many are the people who don’t factor God into the equation, who leave God out of all their plans and considerations. For many, many people, there is no space for God in their lives.
David says, “The wicked are over here doing their thing, thinking God is some uninterested, un-involved mythical being, But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand.
He is King. He is the helper. He is not distant. The wicked aren’t in control.
God is King forever and ever. He is the help His people and the innocent need. He sees. He hears. He comes to their aid. He encourages and listens and defends.
He is the Helper King.
And make no mistake: God doesn’t need any help helping you.
You don’t have to help yourself for God to help you, as if you even could.
You don’t have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You don’t even have bootstraps.
You are helpless; He is helper. He will help you with no help from you.
One of my favorite moments is when a kid—typically one of the youngsters Meghann watches—comes to me with their shoes in hand and says, “Hey, can you help me?”
What they mean is, “Can you do it, like from start to finish? I’m just going to sit here on my bumpkin and do absolutely nothing to help; I don’t even know which foot these things go on.”
It’s always a very sweet moment; I’m more than happy to help...and by help, I mean do every part of it.
It’s a sweet moment and a pretty decent picture of God’s helping us—we ask for help, and He does absolutely all the work.
Granted, He might work through us or use us for His appointed end, but it’s His work from A to Z.
God doesn’t need any help helping you.
“I am helpless.”
Say it.
“I am helpless.”
Yes, you are. But here’s the Good News: God is Helper.
Notice how David describes himself (and us, by extension) in these verses. We are:
the helpless (v. 12), the afflicted (v. 14), victims (v. 14), the fatherless (v. 14), the afflicted (v. 17), the fatherless (v. 18), the oppressed (v. 18).
We find ourselves, along with David, at the bottom of the food chain. We are way down here and the wicked are way up here.
But the Lord is our helper. The Lord is King for ever and ever.
The Lord is King and will prove to be King—this is a non-negotiable truth no matter what the wicked do right now.
Dale Ralph Davis tells the story of a young college student who lived in a boarding house. Downstairs on the first floor lived an old retired music teacher. The two had a morning ritual. The college student would come downstairs, open the old man’s door, and ask, “Well, what’s the good news?”
The elderly fellow would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair, and say: “That is middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hall is out of tune, but that, my friend—that is middle C!”
The Lord’s kingship is far more permanent and true than even middle C being middle C. God’s people—ravaged, afflicted, oppressed, fatherless—know this, and they hang their hat on the fact that He is King for ever and ever. He is king, He is sovereign, He is ruler.

When the Lord seems far off, and the wicked succeed, cry out for His help.

You will find yourself in this situation; if not now, then soon. It’s gonna happen. I’m not here to pat your head and tell you nothing bad is ever going to happen in your life. That’s not helpful; it’d be a lie.
What is helpful—exceedingly helpful—is Psalm 10:16—The Lord is King for ever and ever and Psalm 10:14—You are the helper of the fatherless.
When you’re living amongst the wicked, and God seems hidden, remember who God is. He is the Helper King.
It’s funny the way things go. God’s people in the OT had God as their King, the One who cared for and ruled over them. He was a good King; a great King. He was all they needed.
But then, for some reason, because they wanted to ‘keep up with the Joneses’—the people of God asked for a king so that they could be like the other nations around them. So God gives them a king, a long line of kings. There are some good kings, some really bad kings, and some kings that are just “blah.”
But the people of God had their king, just like they wanted. God gave them a king, even though what they really needed was Him.
And so, good as He is, one day, in the fullness of time, God gave to His people (to the world) a new King—One who was both God and King, perfect all the way around.
God provided the help His people truly needed—not another early king, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We ask, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
In the person and work of Jesus, God answers and tells us once and for all that the wicked will not prevail; they will not win.
Jesus is King. He is helper. He is the One we need to right all wrongs, to bring to judgment those who oppress and victimize.
Turns out, the Lord does not stand far off. He is not hidden. He took on flesh and bone and came to dwell among us; He moved into the neighborhood.
This changes everything—our King coming near to us, promising to be with us, assuring us that He will never leave us or forsake us...
Psalm 10:16–18 NIV
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
“Lord, we are helpless. You are Helper. You are King. When you see far away, we know you aren’t. We know you are near to us, that you are with us. And when the wicked seem to succeed, we know they will not ultimately succeed, but that you will make all things right. Help us, Lord, to trust in you. Help us to seek your help; Help us, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
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