Parallelism in Hebrew poetry is the repetition of a thought for emphasis and expansion! An idea is expressed in the 1st part, then separated by a semi-colon (;) from the 2nd part of the verse which repeats and amplifies the first part.
Martin Luther described this Psalm as follows:
" This Psalm is a type, form, and description of that man, who, though he may be in the sight of himself and of men more excellent than Peter himself, is detestable in the eyes of God; and this it was that moved Augustine, and those who followed him, to understand the Psalm of ANTICHRIST . "
The Cry of the Righteous Concerning the Ways of the Ungodly
The Call of the Righteous (10:1)
A familiar complaint;
This psalm deals with the cry of the righteous concerning the ways of the ungodly. This is a common refrain. Often the righteous consider the ways of the wicked and wonder what's going on. It looks like the righteous suffer while the wicked continue to get every good thing.
Notice that the psalmist feels that the Lord is far from Him. Further, the psalmist declares that the Lord has hidden Himself from him in his time of trouble.
This is the not the first time you find this kind of language, nor will it be the last, where the righteous feel that they have been forsaken by God.
In this psalm, the psalmist makes a very important first step of turning to God. Many times Christians are tempted to turn their ways to the ungodly because they believe they see some benefits that the righteous do not have.
The psalmist goes on to describe the works and characteristics of the ungodly. These works are condemned by God and require our careful examination to be sure that these characteristics are not in our lives.
The Character of the Ungodly: Arrogance (10:2-4)
We often only equate arrogance with being snobby and stuck up. These are obvious signs of arrogance. But there are more subtle ways that we are arrogant that we may not realize.
Scripture describes a proud person as one who is "puffed up." Pride is a determination to be seen as bigger than we are.
Arrogance, in its simplest form, is being concerned with self rather than with others (self -centered). When we think our way is the best way, we are arrogant. When we think that people ought to be more concerned about us, then we are full of pride.
"Violence becomes arrogance when it doesn't get its way. Losing is not humbling if you aren't humble already; losing is humiliating. Arrogance always wants its way. When we can't earn it or win it, we then either try to take it or destroy it so no one else can enjoy it ." (UPRISING a revolution of the soul by Erwin Raphael McManus pg 44)
"God does not oppose the weak, the broken, the poor, the hurting, or even the sinful, but he does oppose the proud " (UPRISING a revolution of the soul by Erwin Raphael McManus pg. 47) Read 1 Peter 5:2-7
It is the arrogant who devise schemes for others. The arrogant are those who put a premium on their own desires. That is all that matters to the person: what they need to do or want to do. That which is in one's heart is king.
The psalmist also notes the thought process of the wicked. When there is arrogance in our lives, there is no room for God. The psalmist declares that in all his thoughts, there is no room for God.
This is another interesting definition of arrogance that we may not have considered. When our thoughts are not focused upon God, but rather are focused upon so much of who or what we are that we have no room for God, we are arrogant.
The perception of the psalmist is characteristic of what most of the righteous see concerning the wicked. The psalmist notes that "his ways are always prosperous." But notice that this is all that matters to the ungodly. He is full of pride and God's laws are far from him.
How often we look at the ungodly and desire the riches that they enjoy. One reason they have what they have is because that's their life's pursuit. There's nothing else to accomplish and nothing else to live for.
False security (10:6)
Arrogance in the heart leads one to have a false sense of security. The arrogant says that nothing can shake him and nothing will touch him. Further, notice his arrogant words, "I'll always be happy and never have trouble."
How foolish for the arrogant to believe and think these words. Yet how often do we have the same false belief in our minds! Too often we have a concept of life that we should always be happy.
If there is a God, then He should always make my life happy and smooth. We go through life with the false expectations of never having any trouble befall us. God never promised that the righteous would not endure troubles.
The ungodly believe that the accumulation of possessions will insulate them from trouble. They believe if they could just have a little more, then they will be secure, at ease, and be trouble-free. But this is a false sense of security, for God is only a refuge to those who trust in Him.
Vile speech (10:7)
The psalmist further describes the ungodly as those who are full of curses, lies, and threats. Not only these things, but trouble and evil are under his tongue. Sometimes those who claim to be Christians think that their mouths can be full of these evil things. We know that we cannot have lies, curses, and evil under our tongues. "If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless." (James 1:26).
The psalmist speaks of the acts of violence that are committed by the ungodly. Notice that the ungodly prey upon those who are helpless and weak. They lie in wait to harm the innocent.
False hope ( 10:11 )
The final thought of the ungodly says it all, for this is the rationale for most sins committed. "God has forgotten; He covers His face and never sees." As soon as this mentality creeps into man, sin is at the door.
Call to action ( 10:12 )
We have the right to go before God and request action. The psalmist has considered the ways of the ungodly in light of his own feeling of being forsaken, and turns to God and request action. Rather than grumbling, we turn to Him with all our heart and tell Him what we see and what we want.
In times of joy and victory, turn to the Lord first. In times of frustration and confusion, turn to the Lord first. The first step we take is so important for us and shows where our faith lies.
Remember that God sees ( 10:13 -15)
The second point to understand is that God sees all. The arm of the wicked and the evil man will be broken. This is a significant statement that we may too easily pass over. The arm is used throughout the scriptures as a symbol of power.
(Numbers 11:23 ). God was asking Moses if He had lost His power such that He could not act. The arm represents power. Therefore, the power of the wicked will be broken by God. Their power is not greater than God. The plans of the ungodly will never overcome or thwart the purposes of God. This point leads us into the final verses.
Know judgment comes ( 10:16 )
How can we know that this will truly happen? This is the purpose of 2 Peter 3:3-7. Peter tells us that the world has forgotten that all the nations of the earth have already been judged at one time in the past. God promised that judgment would come by water, and the judgment came. God has promised again that judgment will come upon the nations of the earth by fire. The ungodly will perish.
This is God's purpose. It will not be broken. In performing His judgments, God is heeding the words of His people who have been oppressed and afflicted. The Lord hears the cries of the afflicted. The Lord will encourage those who are oppressed.
The Lord defends the fatherless and those that are suffering. Through His judgment, man will no longer terrify. Let us never be afraid of man, who can only kill the body. Let us fear God who can kill body and spirit. The judgment is certain. The outcome is certain.