Psalm 10 (NIV)
1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
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[b] 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.”
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.
One week after the horrific attack in Las Vegas, we are still asking, “Why?” We know the who, what, where, when and most of the how. But we can’t seem to understand the why.
A few months ago, Cole drove from his college campus in California to Las Vegas to attend a John Mayer concert. He looked forward to it for weeks, and had an amazing fun-filled experience. Before he left, I told him to "be careful" as we moms always say before our children go on a trip. I remember praying for his safety on the streets. I never thought of asking God to protect him from an evil assassin. Now we are encouraging each other to Pray for Vegas for that exact reason.
Yesterday, our Bible teacher read from the above scripture. Honestly, I don’t remember having ever read it before. But as our teacher was reading it out loud, I was taken aback at just how it seemed to acutely describe the who, what, where, when, how and yes, even the why.
David asks the why question in verse 13, but he actually answered it himself in verses 3-5: the evil man boasts about the cravings of his heart; his prideful wickedness prevents him from seeking God; and he rejects God’s laws. Our laws are put in place to reflect a moral code. But whose moral code are we reflecting? Man’s or God’s? For a moral code to exist, there must be a moral code giver.
Adolf Hitler ordered his soldiers to carry out acts that reflected his personal moral code. He did not want to share his country, his continent, his earth with Jews. Even though they were created by the same Creator who made him, Hitler thought them inferior. We can all agree that his actions were outrageous and demanded consequences. But why do we feel that way? Because they offend our personal moral code? Honestly, that’s an easy one, because in this instance, our personal moral code happens to line up with God’s. Hitler’s did not. Therefore, he murdered millions of innocent God-fearing people as he convinced his own subordinates that his moral code was superior to God’s.
But what about the parts of our personal moral code that doesn’t line up with God’s? I’m not talking about the obvious like murder. Or am I? I think the politically correct term is called “abortion”. Even a few hundred years before gunpowder was even invented, God felt the need to engrave his moral code on a stone and give it to the Israelites. Thou shalt not kill. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word kill to mean: “to deprive of life :cause the death of”. The United States of America made history in Roe vs. Wade when we forever changed our nation’s moral code. Killing is legal before a baby takes her first breath but not after. Did her human DNA change? Did her human status change from inferior to equal because of oxygen? Sadly, for someone’s moral code, it did. God did not make the distinction on those tablets. Humans looking for justification to live a “happier” life here on earth are the ones who made that distinction. See, our moral code defers from our Creator’s when we deduct that we know better than Him. We put ourselves in the place of God. It’s my life, right? It’s my planet, right? It’s my…you fill in the blank…right? How do we justify removing God from our society and then being shocked when Godless acts occur? Pray for our country.
The shooter in Las Vegas had his own moral code. Why was his code different from God’s? We may never know the circumstances of his life that brought him to make the decisions he did on October 1, 2017. But David lists those reasons in verses 3-5 above: his pride, his wickedness, his rejection of God’s laws. If we acknowledge there is wickedness in this world, we must acknowledge there is good. God is Creator of good.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I’ve been challenged every day for this entire school year in the deep study of the book of Romans. I encourage you to read Romans chapters 1 and 2. Paul listed in much graphic detail the sins in which the Romans were committing. Yes, these were sins because they went against God’s moral code. Some of the sins listed go against most humans’ moral code. But you will see quickly that there are some sins that we have justified by laws and attitudes. We, as Christians, are chastised for calling them out as sin because those who have chosen to live this way feel justified because their choices make them “happy”. Paul not only condemns those who are doing them, but he also condemns those who approve of them.
“…they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32 (NIV)
We all live under God’s moral code. Romans 2 deals with how we judge those who sin. He says in verses 3-4, “do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” He wants our hearts. He wants everyone’s hearts to turn to Him. Kindness is what turns a heart, not our judgment. Pray for The World.
Verse 11 states, “but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good”. God is for us, not against us. His laws are good. God is good.
Even in David’s desperate lament to God with pleas of punishment for the wicked, he finished his cry in verses 16-18 with praise and honor. He trusted his Creator. He understood that, as a created being, he did not understand why, but he did understand that his Maker knew all. David trusted his Father. Our Sovereign King. Our Compassionate Savior. The Maker of Heaven and Earth. When we don’t get the answers we want, do we blame God? Where is he? Did he forget about me? I’ve been there. I’ve asked those questions. I came back to remembering that this life is not about me. It’s not about my “happiness”. It’s about glorifying my Father. And my Father has always been with me. Lord, I pray for my own heart.
I can’t begin to imagine the pain of the 58 victims’ families. I pray that never happens to another person. Chances are it will. But Good will prevail. We may not know how. We may not know when, but it will prevail. Because God is good.