(1) Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? [why] hidest thou [thyself] in times of trouble?
(2) The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
(3) For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, [whom] the LORD abhorreth.
(4) The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God] : God [is] not in all his thoughts.
(5) His ways are always grievous; thy judgments [are] far above out of his sight: [as for] all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
(6) He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for [I shall] never [be] in adversity.
(7) His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue [is] mischief and vanity.
(8) He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
(9) He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
(10) He croucheth, [and] humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
(11) He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see [it] .
(12) Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
(13) Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require [it] .
(14) Thou hast seen [it] ; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
"FROM A DISTANCE" (Written by Julie Gold, performed by Bette Midler)
From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distant there is harmony, and it echos through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
It's the voice of every man.
From a distance we all have enough and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease, No hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments, marching in a common path.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace,They're songs of every man.
God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
From a distance you look like my friend even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend what all this fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony, and it echoes through the land. It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
It's the heart of every man. It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves, This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching,
God is watching us from a distance.
It has been a short 17 yrs since this song was popularized by Bette Miller.
17 years and what has changed?
Hard to believe it has been 17 years since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
For months allied troops were poured into Saudi Arabia, and "From A Distance" became the theme-song of the war.
Not much has changed…
Let’s Compare the lyrics with the current situation in the Mid-east
From a distance you look like my friend Even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
What all this fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony, And it echoes through the land."
In spite of our hopes, humans are still distant.
17 years later, and every funeral in Israel provides fuel for a dozen more.
Everyday, someone dies in the Mid-east because of hatred.
We are distant from humans, and God seems distant, too.
Why does God seem distant from us?
God seems distant because He is utterly holy and different.
The Jews at Mt. Sinai stayed away from God out of fear.
(18) And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it] , they removed, and stood afar off.
(19) And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
(20) And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
(21) And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God [was] .
More often we stay away because we want to go our own way.
Psalm 10:4 says, In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Verse 11: He says to himself, God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.
God cannot be close if we push him away.
Why do we do this…
Our pride…In our pride we don't want the competition.
David Henderson writes this article
… "Here Comes The Pride: How to recognize and defeat the stealth sin," in the Discipleship Journal, #105, May-June 1998.
"Many of us are guilty of this practical atheism. While we profess faith, we live unbelief. We shift ultimate confidence from God to ourselves. In the process, our lives become monuments of self-reliance, universes from which God has been Squeezed. Sure, we believe in Him. But actively rely on Him? Naah."
Recipe for Failure!:
Sometimes we think we can handle the problem in our lives ourselves…
So we move God to the side to do what we think Is right..
When you do this, you will always fail.
Sometimes God seems distant because we are distressed.
We don't sense his presence in our lives.
The writers of the Psalms felt God was not only distant, but ignoring their cries for help.
Some Passages from the Psalms
Psalms 10: 1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? [why] hidest thou [thyself] in times of trouble?
Psalms 22:1-2 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (quoted by Jesus on cross)
Psalms 22:11 Be not far from me; for trouble [is] near; for [there is] none to help.
Psalms 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
Other times God seems distant because he really is.
He must separate himself from us due to our un-repented sin.
Proverbs 15:29 The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
God can even be far from "religious" people, whether they sense it or not.
“ religious” people are those that go through the motions when their heart is not in it…
Matthew 15:8-9 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. (Jesus)
It can help to humbly recognize this before God:
(11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are] , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
(12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
(13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
(14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
God the Father was even distant from his Son, Jesus.
1) When Jesus hung on the cross, he felt completely forsaken and cut off from his loving Father.
2) He was genuinely cut off, but it was because the sins of the world - our sins - were being placed on him.
Distance can give us a different perspective on things.
The God who seems distant may suddenly come close.
He may decide to deliver us from intractable problems.
Psalm 10:14 - Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Other problems we have will never be solved in this life.
We can dream about them, and hope for them, but never attain them.
Deuteronomy 32:52 Yet thou shalt see the land before [thee]; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.
The "Heros of Faith" in Hebrews 11 had this "far-sighted“ perspective.
It was so far-sighted they did not even overcome their problems in this lifetime.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
This life is not meant to be Heaven…
If you are expecting all your problems to work out down here because you are a Christian, you are being deceived…
Our reward is in Heaven….This life is full of problems…
"God is watching from a distance."
True or False?
Is God always distant, or can he come close?
The song implies God doesn't, and can't, do anything more than "watch."
This would reflect a philosophy called "Deism."
a) Deism teaches that God exists, he created the world, but he no longer gets involved in it.
b) Humanity is on their own.
The Bible clearly teaches that God can be close to us.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Mark 12:32-34 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God…
Sometimes he even draws near when we don't seek him, because he loves us so much.
Acts 17:27-28 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
How close does God seem to you?
Have you had an experience with God, at any time, that seemed real and personal?
Looking at your whole spiritual life, how close are you right now?