The prayers of the lowly: Psalm 10.1–18 (Day 96)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Read

Read

Aaron Offers Sacrifices

1The day after the ordination rites were completed, Moses called Aaron and his sons and the leaders of Israel. 2He said to Aaron, “Take a young bull and a ram without any defects and offer them to the LORD, the bull for a sin offering and the ram for a burnt offering. 3Then tell the people of Israel to take a male goat for a sin offering, a one-year-old calf, and a one-year-old lamb without any defects for a burnt offering, 4and a bull and a ram for a fellowship offering. They are to sacrifice them to the LORD with the grain offering mixed with oil. They must do this because the LORD will appear to them today.”

5They brought to the front of the Tent everything that Moses had commanded, and the whole community assembled there to worship the LORD. 6Moses said, “The LORD has commanded you to do all this, so that the dazzling light of his presence can appear to you.” 7Then he said to Aaron, “Go to the altar and offer the sin offering and the burnt offering to take away your sins and the sins of the people. Present this offering to take away the sins of the people, just as the LORD commanded.”

8Aaron went to the altar and killed the young bull which was for his own sin offering. 9His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger in it, put some of it on the projections at the corners of the altar, and poured out the rest of it at the base of the altar. 10Then he burnt on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the best part of the liver, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 11But he burnt the meat and the skin outside the camp.

12He killed the animal which was for his own burnt offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he threw it on all four sides of the altar. 13They handed him the head and the other pieces of the animal, and he burnt them on the altar. 14Then he washed the internal organs and the hind legs and burnt them on the altar on top of the rest of the burnt offering.

15After that, he presented the people's offerings. He took the goat that was to be offered for the people's sins, killed it, and offered it, as he had done with his own sin offering. 16He also brought the animal for the burnt offering and offered it according to the regulations. 17He presented the grain offering and took a handful of flour and burnt it on the altar. (This was in addition to the daily burnt offering.) 18He killed the bull and the ram as a fellowship offering for the people. His sons brought him the blood, and he threw it on all four sides of the altar. 19Aaron put the fat parts of the bull and the ram 20on top of the breasts of the animals and carried it all to the altar. He burnt the fat on the altar 21and presented the breasts and the right hind legs as the special gift to the LORD for the priests, as Moses had commanded.

22When Aaron had finished all the sacrifices, he raised his hands over the people and blessed them, and then stepped down. 23Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of the LORD's presence, and when they came out, they blessed the people, and the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appeared to all the people. 24Suddenly the LORD sent a fire, and it consumed the burnt offering and the fat parts on the altar. When the people saw it, they all shouted and bowed down with their faces to the ground.

A Prayer for Justice

1Why are you so far away, O LORD?

Why do you hide yourself when we are in trouble?

2The wicked are proud and persecute the poor;

catch them in the traps they have made.

 

3The wicked are proud of their evil desires;

the greedy curse and reject the LORD.

4The wicked do not care about the LORD;

in their pride they think that God doesn't matter.

 

5The wicked succeed in everything.

They cannot understand God's judgements;

they sneer at their enemies.

6They say to themselves, “I will never fail;

I will never be in trouble.”

7Their speech is filled with curses, lies, and threats;

they are quick to speak hateful, evil words.

 

8They hide themselves in the villages,

waiting to murder innocent people.

They spy on their helpless victims;

9they wait in their hiding places like lions.

They lie in wait for the poor;

they catch them in their traps and drag them away.

 

10The helpless victims lie crushed;

brute strength has defeated them.

11The wicked say to themselves, “God doesn't care!

He has closed his eyes and will never see me!”

 

12O LORD, punish those wicked people!

Remember those who are suffering!

13How can the wicked despise God

and say to themselves, “He will not punish me”?

 

14But you do see; you take notice of trouble and suffering

and are always ready to help.

The helpless commit themselves to you;

you have always helped the needy.

 

15Break the power of wicked and evil people;

punish them for the wrong they have done

until they do it no more.

 

16The LORD is king for ever and ever.

Those who worship other gods

will vanish from his land.

 

17You will listen, O LORD, to the prayers of the lowly;

you will give them courage.

18You will hear the cries of the oppressed and the orphans;

you will judge in their favour,

so that mortal men may cause terror no more.

The Nineteenth Saying

1Don't be envious of evil people, and don't try to make friends with them. 2Causing trouble is all they ever think about; every time they open their mouth someone is going to be hurt.

The Twentieth Saying

3Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding. 4Where there is knowledge, the rooms are furnished with valuable, beautiful things.

The 21st Saying

5Being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength. 6After all, you must make careful plans before you fight a battle, and the more good advice you get, the more likely you are to win.

The 22nd Saying

7Wise sayings are too deep for stupid people to understand. They have nothing to say when important matters are being discussed.

The 23rd Saying

8If you are always planning evil, you will earn a reputation as a troublemaker. 9Any scheme a fool thinks up is sinful. People hate a person who has nothing but scorn for others.

The 24th Saying

10If you are weak in a crisis, you are weak indeed.

The 25th Saying

11Don't hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly. 12You may say that it is none of your business, but God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch on you; he knows. And he will reward you according to what you do.

The 26th Saying

13Son, eat honey; it is good. And just as honey from the comb is sweet on your tongue, 14you may be sure that wisdom is good for the soul. Get wisdom and you have a bright future.

The 27th Saying

15Don't be like the wicked who scheme to rob honest people or to take away their homes. 16No matter how often honest people fall, they always get up again; but disaster destroys the wicked.

The 28th Saying

17Don't be glad when your enemies meet disaster, and don't rejoice when they stumble. 18The LORD will know if you are gloating, and he will not like it; and then he might not punish them.

The 29th Saying

19Don't let evil people worry you; don't be envious of them. 20A wicked person has no future — nothing to look forward to.

The Thirtieth Saying

21Have reverence for the LORD, my child, and honour the king. Have nothing to do with people who rebel against them; 22such people could be ruined in a moment. Do you realize the disaster that God or the king can cause?

More Wise Sayings

23The wise have also said these things:

It is wrong for judges to be prejudiced. 24If they pronounce a guilty person innocent, they will be cursed and hated by everyone. 25Judges who punish the guilty, however, will be prosperous and enjoy a good reputation.

26An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.

27Don't build your house and establish a home until your fields are ready, and you are sure that you can earn a living.

28Don't give evidence against someone else without good reason, or say misleading things about him. 29Don't say, “I'll do to him just what he did to me! I'll get even with him!”

30I walked through the fields and vineyards of a lazy, stupid person. 31They were full of thorn bushes and overgrown with weeds. The stone wall round them had fallen down. 32I looked at this, thought about it, and learned a lesson from it: 33have a nap and sleep if you want to. Fold your hands and rest awhile, 34but while you are asleep, poverty will attack you like an armed robber.

1Finally, we could not bear it any longer. So we decided to stay on alone in Athens 2while we sent Timothy, our brother who works with us for God in preaching the Good News about Christ. We sent him to strengthen you and help your faith, 3so that none of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God's will for us. 4For while we were still with you, we told you beforehand that we were going to be persecuted; and as you well know, that is exactly what happened. 5That is why I had to send Timothy. I could not bear it any longer, so I sent him to find out about your faith. Surely it could not be that the Devil had tempted you and all our work had been for nothing!

6Now Timothy has come back, and he has brought us the welcome news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always think well of us and that you want to see us just as much as we want to see you. 7So, in all our trouble and suffering we have been encouraged about you, brothers and sisters. It was your faith that encouraged us, 8because now we really live if you stand firm in your life in union with the Lord. 9Now we can give thanks to our God for you. We thank him for the joy we have in his presence because of you. 10Day and night we ask him with all our heart to let us see you personally and supply what is needed in your faith.

11May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you! 12May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you. 13In this way he will strengthen you, and you will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all who belong to him.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Psalm 10

In recent years, wrongdoing by powerful people has increasingly made headlines. We've read about evil in high places in politics, business and the Church, from sexual abuse to financial scandals. A common theme seems to have been that those responsible felt invulnerable. They didn't believe they were bound by the same rules as ordinary people because they were rich and influential; they could do whatever they liked.

There is nothing new about this. In Psalm 10, the 'wicked' say to themselves, 'I will never fail, I will never be in trouble' (verse 6). They tell themselves that 'God doesn't care! He has closed his eyes and will never see me!' (verse 11).

The psalmist here paints a picture of what people are like when they feel they are unaccountable. There's a bias in human nature towards sin, which needs to be controlled and corrected. Good laws and good customs can help, but the transformation of the heart can only happen through the Holy Spirit of God.

The 'wicked' – both the large-scale, headline-making sinners who end up in prison or publicly disgraced, and the smaller evil-doers whose small acts of spitefulness make the lives of their families or colleagues miserable – are under the eyes of God, whether they know it or not. 'You will listen, O Lord, to the prayers of the lowly,' says the psalmist; 'you will give them courage' (verse 17).

Pray

Pray

God, help me to remember that everything I do is in your sight. When I see wicked people prospering, help me not to be afraid of them but to trust in your power to save.

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