From Psalms 9-16
Psalm 9 and 10 share an acrostic pattern (sequence of Hebrew letters starting each section). They are believed by some scholars to be one Psalm broken into two parts. Today we look at Psalm 9. It is a individual hymn giving praise to the LORD for his judgment on Israel’s enemies and provision for the poor and needy. In the gospel, Jesus says he will come back to judge and render to everyone according to their deeds.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The Psalmist begins with praise to the LORD. A good way to start prayer.
9 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. (Ps 9.1)
His praise is a description of all the good things the LORD has done.
He gives thanks to the LORD with his whole heart. The Psalmist puts the LORD first in his life.
2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. (Ps 9.2-4)
Part of the reason why the Psalmist praises the LORD is because he has seen the LORD destroy his enemies. Quite often the Psalms describe a situation where the wicked persecute the righteous. The LORD comes in defense of the righteous, his faithful people, and defends them by judging the wicked.
Judgment is not simply a decision. It is his reaction against sin and evil. When the LORD judges he rebukes and destroys evil.
The Psalmist anticipates the LORD will do so again. Protecting him from his enemies.
5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. (Ps 9.5-8)
The reason the LORD is in a position to judge is because he has power and authority as king over all creation. A big part of his rule involves looking after his kingdom. He ‘establishes justice’. He judges all people justifying some, condemning others according to his moral standard.
9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Ps 9.9-12)
In addition to establishing his just kingdom. He looks after the poor and needy. He is a ‘stronghold for the oppressed’. He looks after those in trouble.
God’s people put their trust in Him. He does not forsake those who seek him.
Consequently the Psalmist sings praises to the LORD. He does all these good things all the time. He not only praises the LORD he tells all the people around him what the LORD has done and what he is like.
Two faces of the same God. God is ‘enthroned in Zion’. This refers to his symbolic presence in the world. It uses similar imagery as the Ark of the Covenant in the temple. God also ‘avenges blood’. He acts to judge those who take human life.
He receives and protects those who seek him. He himself seeks out and destroys those who bring about affliction.
13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation. (Ps 9.13-14)
Recognising all the LORD has done and his character, the Psalmist requests the LORD’s aid in his time of trouble. He wants the LORD to do the same for him. In return the Psalmist vows to declare his praises ‘in the gates of the daughter of Zion’, that is, publically in Jerusalem.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. (Ps 9.15-18)
‘The nations have sunk in the pit they have made’. The sin they have devised against others, is turned against them and used to punish them. It is the LORD who does this. The Psalmist anticipates the LORD’s judgment on the wicked. They shall perish.
The poor and needy however will be remembered. The LORD will eventually come to their rescue and help them.
Do you remember the poor and needy?
19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah (Ps 9.19-20)
The Psalmist ends this part calling to the LORD to act in the same ways he has done before. The wants the nations to be judged before him, to come under his rule. That they may respect and fear him.
The LORD protects his people, the righteous all the time. The LORD judges evil and sin all the time. The LORD looks after the poor and needy all the time.
This is how God’s people in the Old Testament saw Him establishing his rule over creation.
“The word picture painted here is not one of final and eschatological judgment; the psalmist experiences present enemies and anticipates the present reality of deliverance. His anticipation is based on the conviction that God is seated, that—despite his experience of affliction—God is still on the throne!” (Craigie, P.C., 1998. Psalms 1–50, Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)
In the gospel Jesus says he will come to judge and repay people for what they have done.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt 16.24-28)
So the scriptures present the LORD establishing justice over his kingdom all the time. Jesus adds to this describing a last judgment, where he will set the world to rights, once and for all. Is this something you look forward for?
Come LORD Jesus come.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.