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Psalms 10:17-18

Men of the Earth

17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: 18 To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.

The psalmist is assured by faith that God has heard the prayers of the humble, or of those who have been oppressed. It can be supposed that he includes himself in that category of people. His strong faith was seen in the previous verse where he affirmed that Yahweh is King forever. It is further seen in his use of the Hebrew word shama, which means to hear with interest and to respond.

"Thou wilt prepare their heart..." This is where the LORD does His greatest work... in the hearts of men. In this case, the psalmist is assured that the LORD will do more than just answer the prayers of the oppressed. He will work in their hearts to give them the confidence to wait upon Him. The margin indicates that He will "establish" their heart. The Hebrew word actually means to stand erect. God will make the humble and oppressed to have an upright heart, strong in the faith, established in His law and able to stand firm and wait upon Him.

"Thou wilt cause thine ear to hear..." God broadens His ears, or pricks up His ears, to hear the prayers of the oppressed. Of course this is an anthropomorphism, but it means that He is anxiously awaiting our prayers, waiting to answer, and waiting to avenge the fatherless and the oppressed.

"That the man of the earth may no more oppress." Albert Barnes explained, "...literally, 'the man from the earth;' that is, that man springing from the earth, or created of the dust (Genesis 2:7) - man frail, short-lived, feeble - should no more set up an unjust authority, trample on the rights of his fellow-worms, or suppose that he is superior to his fellow-creatures."

Barnes then goes on to elaborate on the wickedness of men, explaining that we are all the same... made from the dust, yet we think that we are superior to others. Our reasons for this unsubstantiated supposition are always based on very trivial differences such as the color of one's skin or the social circumstances of one's birth. Even our education makes us feel like we should be among the elite. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

Nevertheless, it is these feelings of superiority that cause men to oppress their fellow men but, in the end, we all return to the dust without hope, except that which is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. We will all be raised again and judged. Some will inherit eternal life and some will suffer eternal damnation. That is where and when God will judge between men and place each in the society to which he belongs. No one will be judged on his merits, no one is better than the other. The only criteria for their salvation will be their relationship with Jesus Christ, which is given solely by the grace of God.

As we complete our study of this psalm, perhaps a good thought to end with is that spoken by the Apostle Paul, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Romans 12:3) We are made of the dirt of the earth, turned against our Creator, appointed once to die and after that the judgment. God is no respecter of persons. Everyone is the same to Him. The only thing that can save us is His grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Before The Throne:

Have you ever looked down on a homeless person, a thief, a drug addict, or a homosexual? Now is the time to ask God to forgive you and to confess that you are a sinner just like everyone else. If you have found grace in His eyes, thank Him for the sacrifice that He made to that end. Ask Him to help you see other people the way that He says them and to have compassion on them as Jesus did. Pray for the oppressed, the orphans, the widows and the lost masses of this world. Ask God to send enough laborers into His harvest to make a difference.

For Further Study:

** Lord. Psa 9:12, 18; 37:4; 145:19; Prov 10:24; ** humble. 2Chr 33:12-13; 34:27; Prov 15:8; Matt 5:3; Luke 18:13-14; Jas 4:6, 10; 1Pe 5:5; ** thou wilt prepare. Psa 112:7-8; 1Chr 29:18; 2Chr 29:36; 30:12; Prov 16:1; Rom 8:26; Eph 2:18; 3:12; Jas 1:16-17; ** cause. Psa 102:17; Isa 65:24; Acts 4:24-31; 12:5-19; 1Pet 3:12;

(v.18) ** judge. Psa 10:14; 72:4; 82:3; 94:1-6; Isa 11:4; Luke 18:7-8; ** the man. Psa 17:14; Luke 16:25; 1Cor 15:47-48; Phil 3:18-19;


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