Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Psalm 10:1-9 and 1 John 2:15-29.
Psalm 10:1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (NIV)
I love the absolute honesty in the Book of Psalms. Whoever wrote those ancient poems certainly wore his heart on his sleeve. Psalm 10 is a good example of someone who finds it difficult to deal with the greed and injustice in his society. His complaint to God is that the rich get richer, the wicked become more powerful, and the proud are brazen about their vanity. If ever a psalm was written for our times, this one is very fitting, meaningful, and highly relevant.
The psalmist’s complaint, however, is directed at God for what appears to be His very significant absence in the midst of so much injustice. The poet finds it difficult to see what is happening around him and that the God of his heart is doing nothing to change things. God seems to be impotent, unmoved, and distant. Evil triumphs when God is silent; good is cast aside when God does not respond. The author has put a lot of time, commitment, and devotion into his religious belief. He is perplexed when God is inactive; he is deeply disappointed when God does not challenge or remove the evildoers.
Sometimes I deal with the same frustration. I want things to be fair and just for everyone. I want the world to be a place that is free from fear or cruelty. I want the oppressed to be delivered and the marginalized to be accepted. I want all sorts of godliness to be apparent in our leaders. And if these things don’t happen, I want God to come bursting into our world to set things right, to make things smooth, to restore hope, peace, and love for everyone.
And then I remember that God has already done this on the Cross at Calvary. Every wrong has been pinned to that tree of shame. Every sin has been nailed to that broken body of Christ. Every injustice has been impaled on Jesus. Instead of being at a distance, God has come beside us; instead of being far off, God has penetrated our unjust society.
Changing the world began with Christ, but it has to continue through me. I can complain about things around me and fill my prayers with my personal frustrations, but if I am not willing to make the necessary changes in my life, how can I criticize God? I may air my grievances and vent my spleen to my heart’s content. I can carry a thousand placards and march down a million streets, but if I do nothing to change my personal acts of injustice, prejudice, and indifference, I am only a clanging cymbal of cynicism, I am only a crashing drum of discontent.
Point to ponder: What things would I like to change in my community, society, and the world? What am I doing to accomplish those changes?
Prayer: Lord God, it’s very easy for us to complain and shift the responsibility for our broken and divided world onto someone else. We forget our sinful part and ignore our own wicked deeds. None of us are perfect; not one of us is innocent. Challenge us to change; teach us to transform; encourage us to evolve. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
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