28 June. Psalms 9-16
More than any other part of the Bible, the Psalms are an expression of human experience, with its full range of emotions and attitudes. Take the first two of these: in Psalm 9 the writer (or should we say singer?) is confident of God’s justice, that God is “a stronghold in times of trouble” and will give the wicked what they deserve. But Psalm 10 immediately following starts with “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” The singer this time sees evil flourishing without being punished.
Why the stark difference? In the next Psalm (11), the question “how can you say to me … what can the righteous do?” is answered by “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven”. It is the contrast between those who have faith that God is always at work even when we cannot see the end result, and those who only go by what they see around them. It is not for us, even if we are righteous, to do God’s work of judgement for him, we only need to trust.
Even those who do have great faith, like King David, cannot always keep it up in practice. In the very short Ps.13, he goes from despairing at God’s absence to expressing trust in God’s love and salvation. But the last of this set (Ps.16) is full of trust and peace in God’s presence.