10. Why Do You Stand So Far Away, O LORD?

1 Why do you stand so far away, O LORD?
Why do you hide yourself in troubled times?
In arrogance the wicked trap the poor;
they catch the weak in schemes they have devised.

2 The wicked boast about their hearts' desires;
the covetous renounce and spurn the LORD.
In pride they see no need to seek for aid;
in all their thoughts they say, "There is no God."

3 They prosper and in pride ignore your law;
at all their foes they only puff in scorn.
Within their hearts they think, "I am secure;
throughout my life my happiness is sure."

4 Their mouths are filled with oaths and lies and threats;
beneath their tongues are evil thoughts and deeds.
They lie in ambush near the village street;
the innocent they murder and defeat.

5 The helpless one is crushed and trampled down;
another victim falls beneath their might.
At heart they think, "God has forgotten this;
he hides his face, so he will never see."

6 Arise, O LORD, lift up your hand, O God!
Do not forget the helpless and the poor.
Why do the wicked proudly scoff at God
and say, "He will not call me to account"?

7 O God, you note injustice and distress
that you may take it all into your hands.
The helpless ones commit themselves to you,
for you give help to orphans and the poor.

8 O break the wicked evildoers' arm!
Seek out the secret sin they try to hide.
The LORD is King through all eternity;
all sinful ones will perish from his land.

9 LORD, you will hear the longing of the meek;
strengthen their hearts, incline your ear to them.
You will defend the orphan and the poor
that evil ones may terrify no more.

Text Information
First Line: Why do you stand so far away, O LORD?
Title: Why Do You Stand So Far Away, O LORD?
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 10 10 10 10
Topic: Deliverance; Judge, God/Christ as; Laments (2 more...)
Source: The Book of Psalms for Singing, 1975, alt.
Language: English
Tune Information
Composer: Carl F. Shalk (1979)
Meter: 10 10 10 10
Key: D Major
Copyright: © Carl F. Schalk

Text Information:

A prayer for God s deliverance from those who scheme and terrorize in arrogant confidence that God will do nothing to stop them.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 =vv. 5-6
st. 4 = vv. 7-8
st. 5 =vv. 9-11
st. 6 = vv. 12-13
st. 7 = v. 14
st. 8 = vv. 15-16
st. 9 =vv. 17-18

Psalm 10 is thought to have been originally the conclusion to Psalm 9 (to which it is joined in the Septuagint); together the two form an acrostic poem in which the stanzas begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Here we find a classic description of the arrogance (st. 1-3) and malice that spout from the tongue of the wicked (st. 4-5; in the Psalms the tongue is often the most destructive weapon). We join the psalmist, who cries plaintively for God to delay no longer in delivering the weak from the wicked(st. 1, 6)-in fact, as the eternal King, to break the power of the wicked and call their sin to account (st. 8). Yet the psalm conveys a confident note of assurance: because of God's sure defense of those who look to him, the wicked, for all their defiance, will be compelled to acknowledge their mere humanity (st. 7, 9). The Psalter Hymnal versification is from The Book of Psalms for Singing (1973).

Liturgical Use:
Times when the church, as either the victim or the guilty party, reflects on social injustice.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

FLENTGE was commissioned for Songs of Thanks and Praise: A Hymnal Supplement (1980), where it was set to "Eternal Spirit of the Living Christ." Composer Carl Schalk named the tune after his mother's family name, which is also his middle name. FLENTGE is music for unison singing, in four long phrases, with the organ providing additional rhythmic energy at the cadences. Because of the forceful nature of this lament text, sing the tune with intensity and at a tempo that moves it along.

Carl F. Schalk (b. Des Plaines, IL, 1929) is professor of music emeritus at Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois, where he has taught since 1965. He completed gradu¬ate work at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. From 1952 to 1956 he taught and directed music at Zion Lutheran Church in Wausau, Wisconsin, and from 1958 to 1965 served as director of music for the International Lutheran Hour. Honored as a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 1992, Schalk was editor of the Church Music journal (1966-1980), a member of the committee that prepared the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and a widely published composer of church music. Included in his publications are The Roots of Hymnody in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (1965), Key Words in Church Music (1978), and Luther on Music: Paradigms of Praise (1988). His numerous hymn tunes and carols are collected in the Carl Schalk Hymnary (1989) and its 1991 Supplement.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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