5 Their ways prosper at all times;
   your judgements are on high, out of their sight;
   as for their foes, they scoff at them.

6 They think in their heart, ‘We shall not be moved;
   throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.’

7 Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
   under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
8 They sit in ambush in the villages;
   in hiding-places they murder the innocent.

Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9   they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
   they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.

Again, there is so much of myself I can see in HP’s hard words here about “the wicked.” It is good to examine my heart and see where I am in the company of those HP criticizes.

But, there is one place where I part company with the “wicked” ones HP has in his sights. I have never believed – I cannot believe for one moment – that I “shall not be moved,” that “throughout all generations” I “shall not meet adversity.” I have seen too much of life to believe the illusion that anyone is totally sheltered from “adversity.” 

Jesus is reported to have said to his disciples before he left them physically,

In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33 NIV).

No matter how good and righteous my life may appear, no matter how comfortable and privileged my circumstances may be, there is no way to live in this limited realm of material form without occasionally running up against difficulty and struggle.

HP is simply wrong at the beginning of verse 5, when he affirms that those who deny the reality of God and live only to fulfill the selfish “desires of their heart” will “prosper at all times.” It may appear that those who have power to oppress the poor are prospering; but if we could see beneath the surface, we would understand that those who live for greed and who benefit from injustice, indeed suffer grievously within. Even if they are unaware of their pain, their “prosperity” remains a cheap and shabby thing. In truth, their very lack of awareness may be their greatest suffering. Unconsciousness is painful, even when it is unconscious of its pain.

How do I suffer when I oppress the poor and benefit from injustice?

Lord help me to see that when I fail to live with compassion, I suffer as much as those upon whom I inflict pain.