The Prayer of Psalm 10 Part III
For the last couple of posts I have been looking at Psalm 10 in my continuing quest to understand Psalms that petition God for protection and deliverance. All of this was spurred by some comments made by Dr. George Meisinger at the 2012 Chafer Theological Seminary Pastors’ Conference (please read “The Doctrine of Fear” for details). Basically I was upset at the thought that God would expect certain behavior from Christians and then not protect us from the evil that always seeks to punish such behavior.
I have found that Gary Kukis (an exegete who I have found to be solid and practical) has done a lot of work on Psalm 10 and I want to study it in a bit more before closing out my posts on this Psalm. However just thinking about what Psalm 10 says and its implications for the different doctrines I have been taught has been a fruitful exercise for me.
After reading Psalm 10 (see “The Prayer of Psalm 10”) I have reached one conclusion and have some new questions. Here are my thoughts so far:
- In spite of what I was taught about prayer (see “The Prayer of Psalm 10 Part II” for details) it appears that asking for protection from God is perfectly legitimate. In many of the Psalms the author doesn’t just ask for protection but demands it!
- There is an imprecatory (asking for the destruction of an enemy) aspect to Psalm 10. I was always taught that imprecatory prayer was forbidden in the Church age but, after thinking about it, it seems that the justification I was given for that doesn’t hold up very well. Of course I am not aware of any imprecatory prayers by Jesus or the Apostles either.
- It may be alright for Christians to demand protection from God like some of the Psalmists did. That being said I don’t think I am ready to be demanding just yet. Until I can confidently tell the difference between a legitimate demand and being a spoiled brat I think I am going to avoid “pushing the envelope.”
I may have misunderstood what Dr. Meisinger was trying to say in his talk however I cannot see any justification for the idea that we cannot depend on God for protection. He didn’t deny that God can protect us but he was of the opinion that we cannot expect protection every time. I know that we shouldn’t take God for granted but we are members of the body of Christ and there will always be provision for us. A very general outline of what God expects of the believer is:
- Ask for Divine guidance, wisdom, and protection. This is not a passive process on our part and requires us to study and learn the revealed will of God in the scriptures.
- God does promise protection for those who are following His plan. Of course if you wander off and insist on doing things “your way” then don’t be surprised if you get “paid back” for doing wrong (see Colossians 3:23-25).
- Application: Go out and do what you are commanded to by the scriptures. Circumstances may get rough but there will be provision for you!
Pastor Bill Wenstrom has a good write-up on divine guidance that I have been trying to work through. On page three he wrote the following which is exactly what I needed to see:
The responsibility of each of us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is to entrust our way to God for His guidance and direction. Prov 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
by Bill Wenstrom
You may be saying to yourself: “Okay but those passages don’t say anything about protection. “ That is true but there are other passages that do promise protection:
“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of all of them.”
In his write-up on Psalm 34 Gary Kukis has this application for verse 19:
A reasonable question is: why should I become a Christian if I know that there will be problems and difficulties in my life? The answer is: everyone has problems and difficulties. There is not one person in this world who does not face trials and tribulations. Most people inflict themselves, being their own worst enemy. And believers have the added problem of facing demonic attacks. However, the advantage is, God is near and God is there to help us and God will solve our problems. Many times, it is nothing more than a test, and the more difficult the test, the more interesting the outcome. That is, you should find it interesting to watch God and see how He gets you out of this jam.
Psalm 34:19 vv. 19–22: God’s Redemption of the Believer
by Gary Kukis
I have one thing that I want to point out about Gary’s exposition. Note that he takes the “sit back and watch the Lord provide” approach that I was taught growing up. I believe that this is too passive and that we need to also pray for deliverance and protection. The principle that “we do not have because we do not ask” applies to more than just material things.
I always like to include a passage from the New Testament on any topic if possible. This is because many Christians don’t necessarily consider the Old Testament to be authoritative for the Christian in the same way that the New Testament is. In that spirit here is the Apostle Paul:
No temptation [testing] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [testing] will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
From Benjamin W. Brodie’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:13:
Before the Corinthians start getting jumpy, worrying about impending discipline from the Lord, Paul lets them know that God provides the solution along with the problem. The process of testing, also known as suffering for blessing, is designed for our benefit. Some trials come our way not by way of discipline, but for our spiritual growth. Paul says no period of testing has caught up with us in the past nor will run over us in the future (Intensive Perfect tense) that is not common to all mankind. Trials and tribulations are the common lot of man; we are never alone when going through tough times, even though it often feels like we are being singled out.
Not only are we not alone, but God is faithful to provide (Predictive Future tense) us with the biblical solution, the divine problem-solving device found in Scripture, that we should apply to the test so we are able (Static Present tense) to endure (Culminative Aorist tense) the test with a good attitude when it comes. If we are able to apply doctrinal principles to the problem at hand, the terrible nature of the apparent cursing (human viewpoint) can be transformed into blessing (divine viewpoint) in our spiritual life. By utilizing the doctrine in our soul and the filling of the Spirit, God promises we will not be tested (Futuristic Present tense) beyond our ability to endure the test.
Benjamin W. Brodie
This is not a guarantee that there will be only lollipops and rainbows in the Christian’s life but that God will always be there. That is all I was looking for and it is of great reassurance to me that God never abandons us.