How long, Lord, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?
Today’s Thirsty Thursday post is a reflection on Psalm 94 submitted by Justin Bessert, a member of The Living Well community in Kalamazoo.
Confession: I have a high sense of justice. When I read a story, or watch a movie, I love to see the wrongdoer caught and made to pay for their transgressions. My heart cries out, though, when I don’t see justice done. Recently, I read a story about a man whose life was taken and no one was even arrested for the crime. I felt angry and wanted justice for the victims. Is it possible that I love justice too much? We all want to see wrongs made right, don’t we?
This week’s psalm is one of lament. The writer is crying out against injustice against the people of Israel. He writes, “How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?” (94:3). The writer laments the murder of widows and orphans and the overall oppression of God’s people (vs. 4-6).
Not only are these wrongdoers proud of their crimes, but also they’re flaunting their ability to commit them. The psalmist continues, “They say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice'” (vs. 7). It’s as if these wicked people are telling the Israelites, “You’re God doesn’t care about what we’re doing. He’s not going to help you.”
Sometimes our lives feel that way, don’t they? We look at current events and see pandemic and poverty, fires and famine, death and destruction. Perhaps we are tempted to agree with the evildoers in this psalm. “God, where are you?” we ask. “What are you doing? Do you even notice? Do you even care?” The psalmist wonders the same. He cries out, “Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?” (vs. 16). What do we do, or where do we turn when justice is out of our grasp?
We find our hope in Christ Jesus. The apostle Peter writes, “When they hurled their insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). The one who judges justly is God. Or as the writer of Psalm 94 professes, “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me” (vs. 18).
Our hope, like that of the psalm writer, is not in seeing the wrongdoers brought to justice. Yes, God will do that. The Lord “will repay them for their sins” (vs. 23). Of course, we can and should fight to ensure wrongs are made right. That is a noble calling. But when earthly justice fails, we trust in the love of God that does not fail. He doesn’t change. He will fulfill his promises.
Trust in God. His love never ends. He is our hiding place. Stay thirsty for him.