The Word Made Fresh
1LORD God the avenger, come!
2Arise, judge the earth,
and give the proud what they deserve!
3How long, LORD? How long must the wicked celebrate?
4They spit out their arrogant words.
All of them are bragging.
5They are crushing your people, LORD.
They oppress the very ones who are your heritage.
6They murder widows and strangers and orphans.
7They boast “The LORD doesn’t see!
The God of Jacob doesn’t know!”
8But understand, you dumbest of the people,
you fools. When will you get smart?
9Doesn’t the One who designed the ear hear?
Doesn’t the One who designed the eye see?
10Do you think the One who disciplines nations
and gives knowledge to people doesn’t send punishment?
11The LORD knows what people think,
and knows their thoughts are futile.
12But those whom you discipline, LORD,
those whom you teach your law,
13are given rest from their days of trouble
until the wicked get what’s coming to them.
14The LORD’s people will not be forsaken.
They belong to the LORD and will not be abandoned.
15The guiltless will receive justice,
and all the faithful will be rewarded.
16Who will join with me against the evildoers?
Who will stand up for me?
17If the LORD hadn’t come to my aid
my life would have soon been in the land of silence.
18When I thought my foot was slipping,
your constant love held me up.
19When my troubles are multiplied,
your assurances support me.
20Can you support wicked kings
who issue decrees to bring us misery?
21They join together against good people
And condemn innocent people to death.
22But the LORD has become my safe place.
My God is my protector
23who will repay them for their crimes
and do away with them because of their wickedness?
The LORD our God will destroy them.
1-3: Psalm 94 seems to be a wayward insert into the flow of the so-called enthronement psalms, and interrupts the happy descriptions of God as ruler of the earth. Here God is a God of vengeance who is summoned to deal with the wicked people that have arisen to persecute the innocent.
4-7: It may be that the description of the atrocities given in these verses are from a specific event – the destruction, for example, of Jerusalem by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. Verse 7 seems to be a reflection of the kind of taunts an opposing army might throw at the defenders (see, for example, 2 Kings 18:29-30).
8-11: God does see, however. Only fools think that God does not take notice of what goes on in this world.
12-15: In spite of everything the author of the psalm refuses to give up on God but insists that, ultimately, God will see that justice is done.
16-23: The author now gives a personal testimony. Although the situation has been bleak, he has confidence that God will bring about punishment for the wicked and relief to the oppressed.
The author of this little psalm is either undergoing an awful calamity or is witnessing something terrible happening to people at the hand of those who are in charge. But he is absolutely convinced that God knows what’s happening and will take action to rescue the oppressed. When distressed, know that you will be blessed…in God’s time.