The Righteous One’s Cry For Vengeance
With And For His Church

a brief study of Psalm 94, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 13 Nov 2009

Psalms 93 and 95 are very well-known psalms. But smack in between them is a Psalm that is relatively unfamiliar to most of us, I believe. This is the Psalm that contains the famous words: “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Ps 94:9).

But helpfully, this famous verse is an important key to understanding what this psalm is about—for it is about the justice and vengeance of God on behalf of His people. We may entitle this Psalm: “The Righteous One’s Cry for Vengeance With and For His Church.”

This Psalm has roughly 3 parts: (1) vv. 1-7 contains a Cry for the LORD’s vengeance; (2) vv. 8-15 is a Course about the LORD’s judgement; and (3) vv. 16-23 is a word of Comfort upon the LORD’s care for His People.

1. Cry for the LORD’s Vengeance

1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

Since the Fall, God’s people has always faced persecution from God’s enemies. This was so before Christ came. It remained unchanged after the incarnation. The Lord Jesus himself explained:

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

It is surely for this reason that the Spirit of Christ has inspired the words of this psalm for God’s people to sing in union with Christ.

God’s people need the words to express their grief and their prayer when they are persecuted. Christ as our king has given us the words, and the first thing we are taught in these words is that vengeance belongs to the Lord! Indeed this is asserted twice in the opening words of this psalm:

O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth…

As God’s people, we know that we cannot take vengeance by ourselves. This is the remarkable difference between the true religion and the false religions in the world of all manifestations including such as may be known as Christian.

But not being allowed to avenge ourselves does not mean that we should suffer passively. Rather, we should cry out unto the LORD as the Judge over the world to arise on our behalf so that the wicked may not triumph over us.

And what arguments shall we bring before the LORD that He might arise speedily on our behalf? Our Lord teaches us to express our longing for speedy deliverance: “How long,… O LORD” (v. 5a). He teaches us to lament the pride and cruelty (v. 5b-6) and insolence (v. 7) of the workers of iniquity. Oh what arrogance is in the heart of these who persecute God’s people, for they could only do what they do if they think that God will not see or if He sees there is nothing He can do about it!

Will God continue to remain silent when His people are suffering because His enemies think that God does not care or is powerless to do anything?

The answer is expressed in the next section of this psalm, which is really a short …

2. Course about the LORD’s Judgement

8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct?He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? 11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

Who are these words addressed to? Are they addressed to the persecutors of God’s people? Or are they addressed to the foolish amongst God’s people who are sorely discouraged and ready to give up or to take matters into their own hand? 

Maybe they are addressed to both. Both the persecutor and he who is without hope need to know…

9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?

God sees and hears all things perfectly. Nothing is hidden from him even if they are hidden to man. God will arise by and by to avenge and vindicate his own people.

Indeed, if God delays to deliver His people, He always has a good reason, for He would chastise his people to the end that they may walk in His way in hope of a better day.

12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.

The LORD, you see, “will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance” (v. 14). He will see to it that justice will return to those who walk in righteousness (v. 15a). He has promised that those who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness will have all things needful to them added to them. He has promised that they need not worry about tomorrow (Mt 6:33-34). He will not short change them. He will see to it that the upright in heart be not disappointed but continue to walk in His ways (v. 15b).

Indeed, the righteous shall experience…

3. Comfort Upon the LORD’s Care

16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? 17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

These words written by the inspired psalmist, perhaps David, would, no doubt, express accurately the sentiments of our Lord during His days of suffering.

There was really no one who could help our Lord in His suffering apart from the Father. No one would stand up for him against His persecutors (v. 16). Apart from the Father He could speak to no one (v. 17). It was the Father’s covenant loving kindness which held him up when he felt himself,—as it were,—slipping (v. 18). When all seemed bleak and dark, and anxiety was great in His soul, it was only the comforts of His Father that brought joy and light to him (v. 19).

Those of use who have experienced such times of suffering, whether because of persecution or otherwise, would surely be able to identify with these words. For when no one else can help us, we know that God will never forsake us. He will sustain and comfort us, just as He did His own son as He headed to the Cross. And so we may use these words gratefully to remind our Father of the deliverance He has wrought and to express our confidence that He will do the same.

And we may have this confidence,—not only because the Son to whom we are united is beloved of the father,—but also because God is holy and righteous. He will definitely see to it that righteousness prevails:

20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.

God will not allow the “throne of iniquity” as it were, to share authority with Him. He will not let the Wicked One and wickedness have their way against His saints.

Nay, God will be the defense and refuge of all who are united to the Holy One of Israel (v. 22); and He will see to it that those who would persecute His people would be rewarded for their iniquity and cut off for their wickedness. Yes, He will personally ensure it (v. 23).


This is Psalm 94, “The Righteous One’s Cry for Vengeance With and For His Church.”

Not many of us have experienced persecution, though it is entirely possible that we shall yet experience persecution for our faith. Let us remember this psalm to use in time of persecution.

But this psalm is not only applicable to us in times of persecution, for in the first place, it reminds us of our Lord’s persecution on our behalf. In the second place, it also gives us words to express our exasperation when we are unjustly treated by anyone. And which one of us has not experienced that?

Beloved brethren, youths and children, let us learn the sentiments in this psalm that we may better express our heart rather than to allow the flesh to dictate how we think and feel in regard to all the frustrations that we may face in this life as God’s children. May this psalm, when we are familiarised with it, contribute to the molding of our thoughts and comfort our hearts as the disciples of Christ. Amen. Ω