2Arrogant scoundrels pursue the poor;
they trap them by their cunning schemes.a
3The wicked even boast of their greed;
these robbers curse and scorn the LORD.b
4In their insolence the wicked boast:
“God does not care; there is no God.”c
5Yet their affairs always succeed;
they ignore your judgment on high;
they sneer at all who oppose them.
6They say in their hearts, “We will never fall;
never will we see misfortune.”
7Their mouths are full of oaths, violence, and lies;
discord and evil are under their tongues.d
8They wait in ambush near towns;
their eyes watch for the helpless
to murder the innocent in secret.e
9They lurk in ambush like lions in a thicket,
hide there to trap the poor,
snare them and close the net.f
10The helpless are crushed, laid low;
they fall into the power of the wicked,
11Who say in their hearts, “God has forgotten,
shows no concern, never bothers to look.”gPsalm 10: 2-11
10* Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
11So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55: 10-11
5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 7* In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.* 8Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Our Father in heaven,*
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,*
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.d
12and forgive us our debts,*
as we forgive our debtors;f
13and do not subject us to the final test,*
but deliver us from the evil one.g
14* If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.h 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.i
Matthew 6: 5-14
Well, a bunch of quotes today and fitting I think for our consideration of this topic. Today, it seems as though no one is listening to the Word. Isaiah reminds us that God does not sent anything down without it accomplishing its purpose. We may not always see what that end is to be, but nonetheless, it does accomplish its proper designated end.
So, we have the Psalmist decrying the apparent haughty ignorance of the "wicked" in the first citation above. It does seem as though much of today's world believes that "God is dead". Many folks accumulate for themselves the power, treasure, and influence right now without regard how their efforts affect others, especially the poor. Other places in Matthew 6, Jesus says that they have gotten their reward. So, although it appears that those who do all of the "nasties" outlined in the Psalm are getting away with it, they will eventually face a judgment suited just for them. With the Psalmist we pray, "Our hope is in the Lord."
The Lord's Prayer, or "Our Father" as it is called in Catholic circles, is a reminder of the order in which we ought to pray. If we spend all of our time praying for our own individual wants, we are probably no better than those who pray to pagan gods. In fact, much of today's celebration of success and power is really a tribute to the gods of money, power, and influence - modern day's attempt to replace the true Creator God with gods that we can control and manipulate to our desires.
Our true response to the true Creator God is to ask for our lives to be aligned with His purpose. In grateful recognition of the many gifts with which we have been bestowed, we recognize that we a just a very small, insignificant cog in this entire universe and that what really matters is how we treat others, especially those who are less fortunate that us. We may end up being very successful in our chosen career, but in grateful acceptance of those gifts, we recognize that we must share our blessing with others. Then, the Psalmist's lament will turn into a song of joy and God's Word will return to Him having accomplished it full end.
Ultimately, God does care. God does exist, no matter what some think. Their ignorance on this issue will someday become a startling revelation. Each will be judged on how their treat others (yesterday's message) and how they judge others (today's message). God will care for those who love him, who try to become the people he wants them to be. May we be those people. May God Give You Peace!