Reading with the Pastor
Acts 7 and Psalm 10-11
I struggle with both halves of Psalm 10. The first half (verses 1-11) lays out the wickedness of the oppression of the poor and the godlessness of a lifestyle that is driven purely by the profit motive, and the second half (verses 12-18), calls for the “breaking of the arm” (verse 15) of the evil-doer. I hate the wickedness of the first half and the harshness of the second.
Of course, verse 15’s arm-breaking is a metaphor for power–break his power and ability to do his wickedness. Make the oppression the poor, come to an end. But that only ameliorates the harshness. It’s still there. And that is the rub. Justice is sometimes harsh. It has to be sometimes.
And so we cry out with the psalm’s last three verses.
6 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart;
. you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth
. may strike terror no more.
And sometimes, we respond with our own retelling of the struggle. Here’s another offering for THE POETRY PROJECT.
When The Poor are Despised
They say there is no God.
They are sure they won’t be judged.
They care only for themselves.
They want only to have more.
They exploit the poor,
They lay traps.
They devise thefts.
And then they walk away unbloodied.
They murder the innocent.
They plot their ambushes.
And then they do it again.
Why should they believe?
Why should they repent?
There are no consequences.
Why should they turn to You.
In their heart, the same refrain is repeated
Over and over and over and over again.
“There is no God.”
I have one plea.
Break his arm and call his wickedness to be accounted for.