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Praying to the LORD about Putin

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10: 1) 
We tend to think that the war in Ukraine is unique. It’s happened many times before. Psalm 10 is a prayer dating back roughly three millennia. It’s being prayed today. Here’s some more of it. Putin look-alikes regularly surface. Jesus’ disciples, around AD 30, said to him, “LORD, teach us to pray.”

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 

His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 

He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 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. The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Ah, yes! What couldn’t I achieve for myself if I was an atheist? But this greatly troubled person continues to pray to the LORD. 

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 

Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 

Will the LORD answer this kind of prayer? Has he answered over the centuries when his people pray to him?

The writer of this Psalm 10, in closing gives us two answers to that question.

The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 

First answer: the nations will have no part whatsoever in “his land”. Today we know that this is true. Do any of us fear the Pharaohs? Or the Assyrians? Or the Caesars? Or the Vikings? Or Hitler? Or Stalin?

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Second answer: the afflicted who trust in the LORD are strengthened. The LORD will do justice to the bereaved children and the persecuted – they find in him their heavenly Father. 

And, above all, eternal life, the gift of the LORD God through Jesus, is unaffected by the terror of all these men (history repeats itself) who are solely “of the earth” and, therefore, temporary.

Sinner Syvret

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