How Much Longer, Lord? – Part 2

Fredy Peter

Who are the weakest in today’s society? The unborn! 625,346 unborn children were killed in the womb in 2019, according to the CDC [though state reporting is voluntary, not mandatory]. That’s greater than the population of Baton Rouge, Louisiana or Colorado Springs, Colorado. The total number of abortions worldwide since 1980 is tallied at over 1.6 billion babies so far! “And they say, ‘The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive’” (Psalm 94:7).

Is God really not paying attention? How much longer, Lord?

Can we see God’s hand at work in the increasing Islamization? More than 500 years ago, Martin Luther said in On War Against the Turk, “Every pastor and preacher ought to exhort his people most diligently to repentance and to prayer. They ought to drive men to repentance by showing our great and numberless sins and our ingratitude, by which we have earned God’s wrath and disfavor, so that He justly gives us into the hands of the devil and the Turk.”

It’s as if God is saying, “Have it your way. If you won’t listen to my beloved Son, then I will give you another god who will rule over you.”

As hatred of God’s earthly people and God Himself grows more fanatical, so also does contempt for and persecution of God’s heavenly people, His Church. First and foremost in Islamic countries, but also increasingly in the West. According to the Open Doors World Watch List,  in 2021 more than 340 million Christians were “living in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination” (

“The LORD does not see…” That is affirmed by Ecclesiastes 8:11: “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.”

This is the exact context in which David expresses himself in the third stanza:

Unsettling Warnings 
“Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise?” (v. 8). The Bible is very direct here and not at all “politically correct.” David is saying that godless people are irrational and stupid. Animals who act instinctively are referred to as lacking understanding (cf. Ps 49:20). What a scathing judgment against modern man, who has traded wisdom for knowledge!

“He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” (v. 9). 

What an ingenious God, who causes spoken words to enter our inner ear as sound waves, be converted into nerve impulses, and finally, transported to the brain! What a brilliant God who created the eye, which uses a highly complex process to transform electromagnetic waves emanating from objects, allowing us to perceive color, light, and shape! “Does he not hear and see?”

He doesn’t just preside over the smallest nerve cells, but also controls the great events of this world: “He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge” (v. 10).

God installs and deposes kings. He is the Lord of history. He has a plan—a plan of salvation—for this world. “Does he not rebuke?” Where are the godless Roman emperors, who were once so feared by Jews and Christians? Today, we name dogs Caesar and Nero!

“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath” (v. 11). 

What a frightening statement: God isn’t deaf, blind, and ignorant, but sees everything we see, hears everything we hear, and registers everything we say and do. Even the heart’s deepest thoughts are known to Him: all our machinations, inventions, and plans. God remembers them, and one day every human being will have to answer for them before the just Judge. These are unsettling warnings!

But in the fourth stanza of his psalm, David addresses the one who takes this to heart, admitting his total depravity before God and placing his trust in Him.

Liberating Certainties
While adversity serves as judgment for the nations, it is a blessing for children of God. With a special Beatitude for godly people in need, the psalm’s focus now shifts to words of hope, faith, and trust.

“Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked” (vv. 12-13). 

Warren Wiersbe notes, “If God immediately rescued His people from their personal difficulties, they would become ‘spoiled brats’ and never grow in faith or character” (Commentary on the Old Testament).

The New Testament devotes almost an entire chapter to this concept. Hebrews 12 clearly shows that chastisement is never a punishment, but an expression of the Father’s special love for His children. This psalm shows us a truth that’s difficult to understand: sometimes God even uses ungodly people to accomplish His purpose.

Here is where we get the answer to, “How much longer, Lord?” Namely, until the pit is dug for the wicked. A reckoning is coming, the ultimate day of disaster. None of the people of Israel should be ignorant of this, nor should anyone in the whole world: judgment is absolutely certain without repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

God’s unconditional loyalty to Israel, however, is equally certain. “For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage” (v. 14). John MacArthur writes in his Study Bible that “this important truth serves as a doctrinal basis for Psalms 93—100 and was intended to encourage the nation during difficult times.”

The Hebrew proper name Yahweh (or its short form Yah) is used 11 times in Psalm 94, and is rendered in our translations as “LORD.” This name emphasizes His inscrutable, unchanging, eternal self-existence. He is “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). Furthermore, this name emphasizes His faithfulness as the covenant God of Israel. The name’s strikingly frequent appearance in our psalm seems to point out one fact in particular: “Behold, my covenant is with you” (Gen 17:4a). Yes, “the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.”

This verse is also the basis for Paul’s glorious statement in Romans 11:1a: “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” This last phrase is “the strongest Gr. idiom for repudiating a statement, and it contains a sense of outrage that anyone would ever think the statement was true” (John MacArthur Study Bible).

How reassuring this is when we look at the Middle East today. And what comfort to the believing remnant in the time of tribulation, when Israel is in its deepest distress. And what security for the children of God as well, to know that just as Israel’s future is certain, nothing and no one can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39).

Jesus’ return will be the ultimate deliverance from all problems. This is what the last verse of our stanza speaks of: “for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (v. 15).

This verse means that under God’s jurisdiction, justice will once again reign. When the Lord comes, He will again judge righteously, and the upright will rejoice. But this verse may also contain the suggestion that Jesus isn’t coming alone, but with His glorified Church as described in Jude 14-15: “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’”

Interestingly, these two verses from Jude are in the same order as in Psalm 94: “judge of the earth” (v. 2), “wicked” (v. 3), “arrogant words” (v. 4).

At this point, some may be thinking, “The future sure looks great, but what about today? Who’s going to help me here and now?” The fifth stanza addresses these questions.

Refreshing Consolations
“Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?” (v. 16). Yes, who is helping me personally? “If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence” (v. 17).

Here David is relating life-threatening situations that he personally experienced, and which would have ended disastrously had the Lord not intervened. But God never comes later than right on time! In addition to his physical needs, David was suffering from mental hardships, which were also allayed by God’s powerful intervention: “When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up” (v. 18). Can Christians experience fear? Yes, of course! But David shows us how to deal with it: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (v. 19).

There are very few times in which we receive an answer to the question of why God doesn’t intervene. But what we do get is consolation and certainty that we are not alone! “Blessed be God, we are not left to that condition yet, for the Almighty Lord is still the helper of all those who look to him” (Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David). That’s why Hebrews 4:16 still applies to us today: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The peace of heart that we receive won’t change the ongoing oppressive emergency. Therefore, in the sixth and final stanza, the psalmist returns to the opening theme and proclaims to the ungodly:

Menacing Vengeance
“Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?” (v. 20).

This verse addresses rulers who pervert the law, using legal means to codify injustice. We see this portrayed today where murder of the unborn is protected by law. The legal framework is eventually perverted in such a way that the just can be condemned. This is exactly what the Antichrist will do.

Who endured the ultimate judicial injustice? The next verse speaks prophetically of Jesus: “They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death” (v. 21). 

Jesus, the only truly righteous One, must have suffered so greatly under the injustice of the time. That’s why no one is more understanding of the unjustly condemned than Jesus. For that reason, He is the greatest Comforter and Protector through injustice. The next verse speaks to this: “But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge” (v. 22).

When you’re hidden in Jesus, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re shirking your responsibility. By no means! With Jesus, your heart finds peace and security to act responsibly in the battle, as well as the ability to withstand the enemy.

And finally, the last verse gives certainty that God has heard your cry. God will also hear the cry of Israel’s believing remnant: “He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out” (v. 23). This is the ultimate fate of all nations who turn against Israel. For in doing so, they are touching the apple of God’s eye (cf. Zech 2:8). They are directly opposing Israel’s Anointed One.

How much longer, Lord? How long will the righteous be oppressed and persecuted? Why isn’t the Lord intervening? Because it is still a time of grace! Peter explains it this way: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Pet 3:9-10).

And so, we pray along with David in Psalm 25:22: “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”

The solution will be the return of Jesus. Let’s make use of the time we’re given, because who knows how soon the Lord will come. Maranatha!

Midnight Call - 04/2023

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