The wicked are windbags,
the swindlers have foul breath.
The wicked snub God,
their noses stuck high in the air.
Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls:
“Catch us if you can!” “God is dead.”
Psalm 10:3-4 The Message
The Psalmist, presumed to be David, was having another rant about the “wicked”. We don’t know what wound him up, but, as the Message translation shows, he wrote very graphically about these unsavoury members of society. He was perplexed that, in spite of their behaviour, they seem to succeed in all that they got involved in. But in this Psalm he called upon God to punish them. No messing about in those days!
To say that God is dead is first and foremost a challenge to God’s authority, and was very much behind the rationale presented to Eve by the serpent in Genesis 3. Not too many people would have the nerve to speak these three words out loud in a meaningful way – this would normally be the domain of liberal or radical theologians, or trendy philosophers and so called intellectuals. But at least the God-deniers have presumably assessed the implications of the thought that “God is not dead”. They will know that if God is alive, then they have some serious, life-changing, decisions to make, that is, if they don’t want to spend eternity in hell. And because a decision for God would seriously impact their whole lives they adopt an arrogant posture and choose instead to reject Him and deny that He exists, ignoring the evidence to the contrary. Those adopting a God-denying life style are very much behind the Psalmist’s rant in Psalm 10. It is a lifestyle that can be distilled down to selfishness, oppression, particularly of the less fortunate members of society, illegal acts and general wickedness. Sadly, most people choose not to consider what happens after we die, not realising that no choice is the same as the “God is dead” choice. They comfort themselves, if challenged, with the erroneous thought that “I’m a good person – God won’t reject me”, not understanding that God has a totally different expectation of what “Good” means. The Bible calls the God-deniers “foolish” (Psalm 14:1). One day they will find out how foolish they really have been.
But what about us, God’s people? We can’t just stand on the periphery, looking on as the “wicked” perpetrate their mayhem, choosing, as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day did, to keep our hands clean by not getting involved. At the very least we must pray, supporting organisations that stand up for those less fortunate than us. Organisations such as “Open Doors”, for example. And where we can we must volunteer to help in our communities – after all we are the “salt and light” that Jesus taught about in Matthew 5. And we can face down the “wicked” with God standing right there with us. Personally and individually, though, we must guard our hearts from complacency, from erosion of our spiritual lives and from the activities of the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). Jesus presented a radical, counter-cultural Gospel which still resonates around the world today, through His radical, counter-cultural followers. Like you and me?