Are you Standing in the Gap or a Stumbling Block?
A cancer patient received a condemning verse
Psalms 10: 4
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Implying that his disease was caused by his wickedness. The cancer patient in this story is a Buddhist who is humbly seeking for the truth (just like King Solomon and Buddha). This cancer patient thinks that his disease is part of his Buddhist karma (to me this is not prideful but actually humility bordering self- condemnation. This is far from what God intended for us. God intended us to be free from condemnation.
As for the “Christian” who took Psalms 10:4 out of context, I believe he is equally a seeker and probably does not see that he is actually talking to himself. A mirror image of himself.
Let me tell you why….
The book of Psalms is written by King David. It his a collection of his own thoughts and emotions (from the darkest to the joyful) and a record of his prayers to God. This is not God talking to us, but David pouring his thoughts to God. It was written for us to see the humanity of David and on the one side his faith in God. It is filled with David;s cry against his enemies and about his handicaps and trials.A lot of people may be troublew, by this bitter and scorching words against enemies, calling God to avenge him, wishing that his enemies be torn from limb to limb. But this is just David. The Psalms is part of the Old Testament, which was written down for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11)– instructions on how to be painfully honest in talking/praying to God by showing us how David prayed during hi time–The Psalms is not an instruction for evangelism or condemning people!!! The New Testament tells us that that “we are not contending against flesh and blood” (Eph 6:12). People are not our enemies. Our enemies are the principles of evil, the philosophies of the world (e.g. Big Pharma), the attitudes of the flesh, OUR REAL ENEMIES ARE WITHIN US.
Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth,, for out of the heard come evil thoughts, murder, adulteray, fornification and all these other things.
That is our enemy. And if you read the Psalms with this understanding whenever you read “enemy: you will think of how you yourself is tempted to covet or be jealous of or be prideful of something or ambition within yourself as your own worst enemy, you will see that these harsh words is actually about you—not the other person (its like 1 finger pointing at someone and 4 fingers pointing back at you).
Let me quote the whole chapter 10 of the Book of Psalms and interpret it :
1 Why, LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
At this point, David is asking God why he seems so far away. Most of us feel the same way, at times, whether we admit or not.
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.
Am not sure whether the pronounce “he” and the “wicked man” in this verse pertains to an individual or one of David’s enemy or if he is pertaining to himself. In general, I think David is disappointed with humanity—the fraility of humanity. In modern times, most of us complain about the government, about the Big Pharma about the traffic.. David is just verbalizing his complaints – his thoughts—not necessarily judging or condemning someone..and unconsciously he is condemning himself!
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
This is the verse that was taken out of context. In context, I think David is trying to say that humanity in general is too focused on different interests that they forget to think about God. Forgeting about God, implies that these people have probably known God and found Him and then turned back on Him. This verse does not apply to those who are still seeking 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.”
Again, I think the pronoun “he” seems to be pertaining to humanity in general. On hindsight I also believe that Buddhists have a deep sense of moral values. They don’t claim these statements at all “ Nothing will ever shake me or No one will ever do me harm”. They are very humble and again they border on self condemnation (the extreme opposite of pride). What they need is love and to know the promises of God—not judgement—Buddhism has them on perpetual cycle of paying for sins and for them the only way to ultimately pay for their sins is to attain Nirvana. Then if you, as a Christian come to their circle and condemn them more, you are just helping them to stay into that perpetual cycle.
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.”
In verses 7 to 11 David, is just verbalising his frustrations.
Today, you could probably complain to God and say something like this:
Cruelty of Mankind
I thought I make this update after I received a SMS from a friend who said she watched a video shared on Facebook of 5 to 6 live cows being thrown into a big crusher while still alive to make burger meat. She can’t watch the video and said it’s really heart wrenching.
Has mankind lost it’s human values in the quest for profits? I just hope the authorities or Animal Rights Group trace the source of the video and bring the perpetrators to justice.
At this point, we all could agree that humanity is deteriorating physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally— “has mankind lost it’s human values in the quest for profits”?? that’s the crux of the matter in David’s world when he wrote these verses. You see the writer of this excerpt is not angry or frustrated on any specific individual, he is frustrated by the “act of cruelty”, and naturally is seeking for justice. David in his own way is seeking for justice in the only way he know how.
NOW, See THE TURNING POINT HERE…a plea! A cry for help from God! A prayer of surrender!
Verse 12 is an appeal from the heart, a prayer
12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
See David turns to God and humbly surrender himself and ask God to lift up God’s hands (not that God will lift up His hand to defend David, just because David said so). This is extremely personal. A person has to go through the process of self-condemnation and acknowledge that humanity on its own has the tendency to commit cruelty to animals and to fellow humans. That on our own, the whole human race is HELPLESS!! He has to realize this dependency before arriving to a stage of surrender. You cannot condemn a mortal and expect him to surrender himself to God. On the contrary, you will drive him further away from God. So, my friend, if you think you are standing in the gap—reconsider your position—cause for all you know you are a STUMBLING BLOCK. You see, a seeker needs to take hold of some promise out scripture, some light, some verse that speaks directly to his heart, some truth that the seeker can remember about the adequacy of Jesus Christ who has already put these things to death on the cross…
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
VERSE 13 is a CONDEMNATION VERSE 14 is A PROMISE to the HUMBLE
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.
Here David differentiates a mere mortal human being to an almighty God. Not to offend humans but to worship God in his own way.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
At this point I think David is being child like, that he is asking his father to avenge him.
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.
Here David again summons the power of his God and saviour. In his vulnerability, he is summoning God to protect him. This is a sign of his humility. That despite winning many wars and leading his kingdom , he is weak at the core. He perpetually seeks for God in everything he do, even when he is frustrated and disappointed.
All the psalms are designed to teach us to do one thing — to worship. These psalms reflect every human emotion, but they do so in a distinct and important way: they are emotions seen in relationship to God.
So, please do not take Psalms to communicate truths to another mortal, as the Psalms are directed to God—as a form of worship.
Every psalm is written in the presence of God. This book, therefore, teaches us how to be honest before God. If you have a problem, tell God about it. Don’t hide it. Don’t cover it up. Especially, don’t get pious and sanctimonious and try to smooth it over. If you are angry with God, say so. If you are upset about something he has done, tell him so. if you are resentful, bring it out. If you are happy and glad, express that. That is what worship is — a heart’s honesty.
As Jesus said to the woman at the well in Samaria,
“The true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.”
(John 4:23) God is looking for that kind of worshiper. And as you worship in Spirit and truth, you will discover a new source of strength. If you can be honest before God, even about those troublesome problems of wrong moods and attitudes, you will find grace answering your needs.
And then what about the bad thing you did yesterday or in your past life? Seek the TRUTH!