Both the righteous sufferer and the gloating murderer speak to the absence of God.
The former employs a question mark, the latter an exclamation point. So do they determine their own destiny.
The tenth psalm bursts upon its reader with one of the psalter’s classic, pained questions:
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
When the righteous sufferer addresses the hiddenness of God, he knows that something is wrong and pleads for it to be set right.
By contrast, the troubler of the poor affirms God’s absence as the convenient status quo.
They stoop, they crouch,
and the helpless fall by their might.
They think in their heart, ‘God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.’
The righteous lament God’s hiddenness. The wicked declare it their stage and prance blood-stained and cackling upon it.
The psalms know that YHWH’s absence is not the final word, even as they plead for the void to be filled by his raised arm. The wicked imagine that—since no just Governor watches or cares—all things are possible.
The righteous prays for resolution. The wicked assumes continuity.
The world hangs on a prayer.