Summary: 1) The Tyrants Boast (Ps. 10:1-11) and 2) The Victims Prayer (Ps. 10:12-18)
One of the most contentious articles that have hit the public square recently has been that of Father Raymond J. de Souza, (National Post • Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010). What he describes as an orgy of violence in Iraq, so far just in this month of November terrorists have set off a series of bombs, murdering well over 100 people. An al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group stormed into the cathedral of the Syriac Catholic Church, Our Lady of Deliverance, during the evening Mass. They immediately killed the priest offering the Holy Mass--three priests in all were murdered. They began shooting members of the congregation, and held hostage others who took refuge in a locked room. When the security forces stormed the church, the jihadists killed as many as they could, and some of them set off the suicide bombs on their belts. All in all close to 60 worshippers were killed. It has now come to this, where Christians are killed at prayer by Muslim fanatics.
Citing historical fact, Father de Souza noted that Christians have been in Iraq from the earliest centuries, long before there was an Iraq or, one might note, there was Islam. Jihadists have launched a campaign with genocidal intent, aimed at driving out every last Christian from what they consider to be an Islamic land. It is now clear that the only place such jihadists envision for Christians in Iraq is the grave.
The Catholic archbishop has been killed. Priests have been riddled with bullets upon leaving their churches. Ordinary Christians, trying to live a quiet life, have been subject to harassment, threats and violence.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan said after these latest killings: "Christians are slaughtered in Iraq, in their homes and churches, and the so-called ’free’ world is watching in complete indifference, interested only in responding in a way that is politically correct and economically opportune, but in reality is hypocritical,"
Indeed, the international community issued the usual boilerplate condemnations, most of them refusing to identify those responsible.
Father de Souza said that: the blood on the altar makes it clear. No amount of goodwill, no amount of dialogue... nothing will dissuade the jihadists. So let us not abnegate ourselves over the dead bodies of our fallen brethren in Christ. Let us speak frankly of those who want to kill us.
Those Christians on Sunday heard the jihadists shout Allahu Akbar-- Allah is great!, in the church. Can there be any greater irony than to kill the innocent at prayer, while shouting that God is great?
Today, more than 200 million Christians around the world face brutal opposition and persecution for simply naming Jesus as their Lord and choosing to serve Him. Their daily reality includes discrimination, intimidation, attacks, fines, imprisonment, unimaginable torture, and even death for their faith.
While we here in the West may not identify with their hardships, we identify with their calling – and are called to pray on their behalf.
Psalm 10 begins in despair for a people facing persecution. Injustice is rampant and God seems disinterested. At this point the psalmist’s is walking more by sight than by faith. His perspective will change as he slowly turns around and shifts his focus from empirical observations to theological facts. This is not an easy turn-around, especially since he is surrounded by so many practical atheists (cf. vv. 4, 11, 13). But hope will begin to dawn for the helpless (e.g., v. 12). In view of such kinds of general observations, the psalmist’s expressions in Psalm 10 exemplify how true believers seem to live in two different worlds at the same time.
Taken together, Psalm 9 & 10 exhibit some of the features of an Acrostic Psalms. It is one of the nine Acrostic poems (“Alphabetical Psalms”). These are Psalms 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145 (Gingrich, R. E. (2005). The Book of Psalms (Book One) (17). Memphis, TN.: Riverside Printing.).
An acrostic poem is, a poem which ranges through the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with each line or verse beginning with the appropriate letter in sequence. Thus Psalm 9 features ten out of the first eleven letters of the Hebrew alphabet—the letter corresponding to “d” being missing—while Psalm 10 begins with the twelfth letter, with seven of the remaining letters appearing in sequence in the rest of the psalm (Davidson, R., M.A. (1998). The vitality of worship : A commentary on the book of Psalms (40–41). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Edinburgh: W.B. Eerdmans; Handsel Press.).
As in Psalm 9, we assume David’s authorship. Commentators describe this psalm as a communal lament (Williams, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1986). Vol. 13: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 13 : Psalms 1-72. The Preacher’s Commentary series (94). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.). Verbal and ideological affinities with Psalm 7 (cf. Ps 9:16 with 7:16; 9:20 and 10:12 with 7:7) suggest a political and social climate common to both poems: it is probably due to the long years of agony for the kingdom of Judah (600–587 BC) (Terrien, S. (2003). The Psalms : Strophic structure and theological commentary (144). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).