Under The Sun: Psalm 10:1-11

Psalm: ANATOMY OF THE SOUL
Under The Sun: Psalm 10:1-11
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday September 18, 20
22

Notes, Not a Transcript.

Psalm 10 is thought by some to be joined with Psalm 9 as part of a widely applied acrostic.  Some see 9 and 10 as being by David.  10 has no title associated with it.  It’s written harshly and is rough – 9 seems victorious, whereas the lament of 10 seems perhaps angry and confused. 
 
I like the tension of 10, and between 9 and 10.  What I see in 9 is the believer’s experience of Joy in God, at times, despite circumstances.
 

Psalm 9:17–20 (ESV)
17    The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18    For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
19    Arise, O Lord!  Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20    Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

 

Today, we’ll see that the range of experience between Psalm 9 and 10, is perspective.

 
There is nothing new under the sun.

 
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (ESV)
  9    What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

 
 
“under the sun” is repeated 29 times in the book of Ecclesiastes. 
 
“under the sun” reminds us of God’s positional authority because no matter what we do, it will still be “under the sun.”  We have creaturely free will.  We can choose to go left or right by God’s grace.  He often allows us to make choices.  Sometimes he constrains our will, but no matter what, we’re always just under the sun.  We need to remember that – God’s authority constrains everything.  While things feel so far gone, sometimes, they’re entirely inside the control of a sovereign God. 
 
Because that is true, and because human nature is an “under the sun” reality, though we may feel like we’re advancing and getting better.  Our scientists, who learn by testing and correcting following the scientific method, told us that we could control the earth’s warming by controlling one thing, carbon emissions.  It is a simple dial that we turn back, and the earth will stop warming, so we feel like we’re advancing.  We made weapons and advanced.  We created the wheel and advanced.  Found silicone and created computers, and we advanced.  We created the internet and tic tok and slid back a little.  We dug holes.  We found nickel, we advanced – yet we still struggle with the same seemingly conquerable sin-sick desires. 
 
When we’re down close to all our innovation, we get impressed with ourselves.  In doing so, we take on a human-centric perspective on all things.  We may not mean to, but we need to step outside ourselves.  Scripture allows us to do that.  It is almost like a view of earth from space – we’re not there in space, but we’re able to observe ourselves in that way. 
 
When we’re fully under the sun with no perspective outside ourselves, we don’t seek God.  We play God. 
 
The Psalmist allows us to zoom back in time and see struggle and concern over the very things we struggle with today – because the human condition is bound under the sun.  With that perspective, let’s read the first 11 verses of Psalm 10.

Psalm 10:1–11 (ESV)
Why Do You Hide Yourself?
  1    Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

 
We see similar language in

 
Psalm 46:1 (ESV)
  1    God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

 
Psalm 13:1–3 (ESV)
  1    How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
  2    How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
       How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
  3    Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

 
 
Or:

 
Psalm 22:1 (ESV)
  1    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

 

Psalm 22 (above) is quoted by Jesus in:

Matthew 27:46 (ESV)
Jesus cries out with a loud voice,  “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

In these moments, Jesus becomes the penalty and remedy for the many sins of God’s elect, forever in His blood, inking our names in the lamb’s book of life.  Saint, does that give you flowing relief to your earth-bound soul unable to grasp the holiness of God.  Do the things that tempt you to vex you, haunt you, terrify you, even break you?
 

Isaiah 53:4–5 (ESV)
  4    Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
       yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
  5    But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
       upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

 

He, Christ, redeemed us to God, redeeming us from ourselves.  We, under the sun, were rescued by Christ’s suffering. 

 
Galatians 3:10–14 (ESV)
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
 

Jesus’ cry toward God was as one bearing the total penalty for all names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and this cry quoting Psalm 22, echoing the language of Psalm 10, is the singular reference of Jesus addressing God, not as Father.
 
Our sin creates an impasse between every living human (future, current, and past) and a wholly righteous God and a wholly unrighteous us. 
 

1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

 

We’re reminded in:

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV),
The Temple of the Living God
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

 

We’d have read earlier:

1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

 
Proverbs 15:31 (ESV)
31    The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.

 
 
How instructive is the word?  It reminds us that we creatures, under the sun, are susceptible to bad character, even found in Christ.  We’re drawn seemingly helplessly towards sinful actions that alienate us from God and even have an earthy consequence.  Now think back to Christ addressing His father as God who’d abandoned, separated fellowship with the Son, in the tremendous graceful name of redemption. 
 
Redemption of who or what?   The pets of a pet blessing service, perhaps?  All those who never repent and live Godless heathen lives, maybe?
 
 A general concept, no rather, a specific mission – you on the mind. 
 
What the Psalmist wrestles with here is seeing results from living under the son as a cohabitant of time-bound earth.  Every question about the fairness of God in every situation can be answered in two scriptures for me:
 
 
Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)
  8    For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

 

Isaiah 45:9 (ESV)
  9    “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
       Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?

 
 
And

Romans 9:21 (ESV)
21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

 

Woe to the one ‘under the sun” who quarrels with God.  Let’s follow the Psalmists’ struggle:

 
  2    In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.


Arrogance is the fuel the psalmist here sees for the treatment of the wicked, there is indeed nothing new under the sun, and scriptures are clear-eyed on pride.

 
Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)
18    Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.

 
  3    For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.


John Calvin here says: “they acquire praise from their presumptuousness, and glory in their wickedness; and this foolish confidence, or bold assurance, is the cause of their throwing off all restraint and breaking forth into every kind of excess.” 
 
The psalmist encapsulates life under the sun well. 
 

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

 
These wicked, the ungodly, have no need for God.  They determine right for themselves.  They determine where life begins, for example.  When we’re fully under the sun with no perspective outside ourselves, we don’t seek for God.  We play God. 

 
  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.”
  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.

 
In these verses, the Psalmist struggles when observing the attitude of the wicked as they seem to prosper, with no concern for God and his Judgements.  Placing himself over others – living V. 7 wickedly treating people awfully, with no regard for people – spend one day in a work/office setting where people jockey for control, and you’ll see this with clear eyes.
 
This is the world the Psalmist observed long before all our advances, wheels, cars, computers, tik toc, battery cars that save the planet – yet we see these innate struggles continue. 
 

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.”

 
Despite all our advances since this writing, let’s look again at the Psalmist’s struggles when observing life under the sun. 
 
God seems not to be fixing things in verse 1.  In verses 2 & 3, he sees the arrogance of pursuing the poor for gain.  Those wicked verses 3 & 4 renounce the Lord and deny that He exists.  They’re full of cursing and deceit and murder the innocent verses 7 & 8 – and finally, seize and draw the poor into a net.
 
The Psalmist does well describing life under the sun.  We do well to know that when we’re fully under the sun with no perspective outside ourselves, we don’t seek for God.  We play God. 
 
Further, for those of us who are redeemed believers, we would do well to remember that we are drawn, wooed, and called by the world into those things that tempt and try us; but –
 
1 John 4:4 reminds us:
 

1 John 4:4 (ESV)
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

 
Church, we need to keep our eyes on the great graceful God who has redeemed us in Christ.  We need to live differently, not for performance’s sake.  Fruit comes from the vine, not our efforts.  We must live differently to God’s glory, which becomes our life aim and purpose.
 
His Glory.
 
We have a new purpose and substance.  Do our daily activities, thoughts, and patterns work to that end or against it?
 
Yes, the world around us will hate God, deny him, take advantage of those around them – but this is life, under the sun.
 

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV),
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

 
We’d have read earlier:

1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

 
Proverbs 15:31 (ESV)
31    The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.

 
We do well to remember that God’s authority constrains everything.

When things feel desperate, they are not.
When things feel out of control, they are not.
When we feel lost and alone, we are not.

Remember the range of experience between Psalm 9 and 10, is perspective.

When we gain Godly perspective, our feet are reoriented, our hearts are encouraged, and we live to His glory.  But it takes weekly, daily, and even moment-by-moment prayer and steadfastness with a desire to bring God glory.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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