Psalm 9: 1 – 20
1 I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. 3 When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence. 4 For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. 5 You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. 6 O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished. 7 But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. 8 He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. 9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. 12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. 13 Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 That I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation. 15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. 16 The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Selah 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. 19 Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. 20 Put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah
As we begin our study I would like to ask you a question, ‘what is the hardest thing for you to do?’ I am sure you are now going back and forth in your thinking. You have an idea and are now quickly changing your mind, aren’t you? In fact this is a pretty tough question.
Looking over today’s Scripture I was moved to think of something that is hard for all of us to do? It is very hard to rejoice and praise our Holy El Elyon – The Lord Most High – when things are not going so well. Will you agree with me on this point? If you are one who says that you can and do, then in all sincerity, I admire you for your wonderful character. You are in good company for David, a man after the Lord’s heart does this throughout the Psalms that he penned. Look at how he starts out.
‘I will give thanks to O LORD with my whole heart; I will show forth all your marvelous works. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O you who are Most High.’
David begins with a cry of worship and praise to Adoni Father God. He declares his gratitude for what God has done for him, for His marvelous works on His behalf, and especially (as is revealed later) because that in itself is a reflection of what Adoni Yahweh will finally do for all the righteous. He declares further that he will therefore be glad and exult in The LORD, and sing praise to His name as the Most High.
I want to offer you something that will greatly help you through tough times. In will not cost you anything except for one thing and that is you have to pray for me every time you use it. The tool I used which has encouraged me when things are gloomy is my list in which I titled, ‘Great things my God has done for me.’ There have been some great things that our Precious Lord has done. Every time He has done something spectacular for me, I wrote it down on a list. I check this list often to help me remember that God has not forsaken me. I encourage you to do the same.
Look at David’s opening words, ‘‘I will give thanks to The LORD with my whole heart.’ This was what the psalmist was determined to do whatever the circumstances, for he could look back on past blessings and knew that however dark it might sometimes seem, the future was safe in God’s hands. Whatever our situation this must also be our first concern, a whole-hearted giving of thanks to Adoni Yahweh our God. However bad our situation there is always something to give thanks for. So let us determine to do so. ‘With my whole heart.’ It is good for us too to examine ourselves to ask whether our praise also is from our whole heart, or just perfunctory.
A thing to remember is that we want our Holy Elohim to change our circumstances while He wants to change and develop our character.
I might be on target for writing down the great things [works] my Holy Master has done for me when I see David’s comment, ‘Your marvelous works.’
This signifies the outstanding works of God both in nature, in His dealings with His people in history, and especially at the times of their great crises. The Bible is full from beginning to end with His marvelous works. That in the end is what it is all about, and none more wonderful than =’The Name’ - the coming of our Great Master and King The Lord Jesus Christ.
Take a look at how this point is emphasized ‘I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O you who are Most High.’ The psalmist had learned the truth that when things appear blackest is the time to sing and give praise. We too need to learn that lesson. If sometimes things seem dark then make yourself sing your favorite hymns. You will be surprised how quickly things will appear brighter. For then we will realize that the Most High is still on our side.
‘When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish at your presence (face). For you have maintained my right and my cause; You sit in the throne judging righteously. You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the unrighteous, You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy are come to an end, they are desolate for ever; And the cities which you have overthrown, the very remembrance of them is perished.’
The king rejoices in the great victories that Adoni Yahweh, Father God has accomplished. He knows that he himself has been victorious because THE LORD has been with him. That is why his enemies turned back, fled in panic, and stumbled and perished. They were in the presence of Yahweh Elohe Yisrael – The Lord God of Israel. (‘before the face of YHWH’) and could not face Him, and therefore could not stand against God’s anointed. And, as the Psalm goes on to point out, this is not only what He is like for the king, but an example of what He will be to each of His people, even to the very lowest. All their unrighteous enemies will be similarly dealt with. The face of God will be with them and in the end all will flee before Him.
Now I want to zero in on this verse ‘For you have maintained my right and my cause, you sit in the throne judging righteously.’ It is important to recognize that God only acts thus in a righteous cause. Sure sometimes our Merciful God comes to our rescue even when we are not walking in obedience but that is not what usually happens, is it? You see that it was only because the king was living and judging righteously that he could expect help from Jehovah Gomolah – The God of Recompense. But because of that, and because God had chosen him, he can then expect help from the Righteous One. God has delivered in this case because the one delivered was accounted worthy. All who walk worthily in a way that is acceptable to God can also be sure that their enemies will finally be defeated, because for them too He is on His throne judging righteously.
‘You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the unrighteous.’ This explains why God has given His righteous king, the one accepted as righteous in His sight, the victory. It is because his enemies were unrighteous in God’s sight. Thus their final fate was sealed in a way that was to be the inevitable fate for the unrighteous. For the unrighteous there is no future hope, unless they turn from their sins and respond to His mercy. Can you see now why He wants us to pray for our enemies? They will be dealt with ultimately.
‘You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy are come to an end, they are desolate for ever; And the cities which you have overthrown, the very remembrance of them is perished.’ The king looks with gratitude at the way that God has dealt with his enemies, and sees in it a guarantee that in the end all the unrighteous must be destroyed. The temporary victory will be followed by the final victory. The finality of it is revealed. Their name will be blotted out, they will come to an end and be desolate forever, and the remembrance of their overthrown cities will perish. This is the only end possible for the unrighteous, unless they return to God.
I enjoy watching the History Channel. They were doing a documentary on the Hittites. Now as we read here their name and everything about them will be wiped out. So at first I was wondering why there was evidence that proved these people existed. It was only to the conclusion that skeptics had doubted the Bible that this nation which perished off the face of the earth that some records were dug u to prove that they existed.
‘But The LORD sits enthroned for ever: He has established his throne for judgment; And he will judge the world in righteousness, He will minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness.’
In contrast to the brevity of the nations is the eternity of Attiq Yomin – The Ancient Of Days. And in contrast to the unrighteousness of the nations, is the righteousness of El Shaddai – Almighty God. He sits enthroned forever, and His throne is established for judgment. And that judgment will be in righteousness and will be on all peoples and will always be upright. Thus we are assured that our Majestic God judges the whole world in righteousness without fear and without favor. Every knee will have to bow to Him and every tongue will have to confess to Him. Notice that the ‘He’ in ‘He will judge’ is emphatic. None other is fit to judge apart from ‘He’, and the teaching of our Lord Jesus made clear that this ‘He’ Is none other than our Lord Jesus Himself Who has been appointed to be the Judge of all.
‘The LORD also will be a high tower for the oppressed, a high tower in times of trouble; And those who know your name will put their trust in you; For you, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.’
Our Great and Holy God protects all who, because they are righteous and trust in Him, are oppressed by the unrighteous, and He will be a fortress tower on their behalf, into which they can enter and be safe. While they may be laid siege to, or may be bombarded, they will be totally secure. Those who know Him for what He is will put their trust in Him, knowing that He will never forsake those who seek Him. They know by faith that he is totally reliable, and that they can shelter securely in His hands.
‘Sing praises to The LORD, who dwells in Zion: Declare among the peoples his doings. For he who makes official enquiry for blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the poor.’
Have you ever experienced serious harm committed against you by someone? If so, these words should comfort you greatly. He Is great in seeing and knowing all things. He Is El Roi – The Strong One Who Sees. He Is Omnipresent. His enquiries into all crimes committed against people, especially crimes of blood. Of a truth, He does not forget the cry of the poor. So they learn that God Is personally concerned about our welfare, sufficiently to act on all our behalf. In Israel the oppressed and the poor were regularly associated with the righteous. It was mainly they who in the trials of life kept close to THE LORD. And we are assured that He remembers them, and keeps an eye on their affairs.
The verse states ‘For He Who makes official enquiry (or ‘requisition’) for blood remembers them.’ The LORD Is hear seen as acting either as judicial examiner on behalf of the cities of refuge where an innocent killer could escape from the avengers of blood, revealing Him as enquiring into whether a killing was deliberate or accidental, looking into every case of violent death. Or it could signify that He will in fact be the avenger of blood Himself for those who suffer deliberate violent death. Either way He is acting as protector of His true people.
In those days it was the responsibility of the family of the dead man to pursue a case of homicide, and they had the right to a life for a life. They were to be the ‘avengers of blood’. In a time when there were no police and no local prisons it was an attempt to ensure justice, and to ensure that murder was punished. But an innocent man could flee to a city of refuge, and while there he could not be touched. However, if the family claimed that he was guilty of deliberate murder the case would be examined and if proven the man would be rejected by the city to face the avengers.
‘He does not forget the cry of the poor.’ God hears those whom no one else listens to, those who have little influence, who are downtrodden and forgotten. The poor have nowhere else to turn but God. They are the humble seekers of God who bow down before Him.
‘Have mercy upon me, O LORD; Behold my affliction from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death; That I may show forth all your praise. In the gates of the daughter of Zion, I will rejoice in your salvation.’
I have gone through many a tough hardship in life caused by many people who wanted my heard. It gives me great comfort that the man whom God loved significantly endured similar problems. Here David is going through great trouble, suffering at the hands of those who hate him, the unrighteous. He asks The LORD to behold his suffering and affliction. In view of verses 3-4 it may be that we are to see these troubles as internal, enemies in the midst, for there are always enemies within as well as enemies without. But the following verses suggest a further outbreak of trouble from the surrounding nations.
However he is confident that these enemies too will be defeated. For it is The LORD Who shows mercy, it is Father God Who raises him up when he feels that he is about to die. And he seeks that Adoni Yahweh will do so now in order that he might show forth all the praises of Qedosh Yisreal – Holy One of Israel, and rejoice in His deliverance. Let the gates of Zion be triumphant that he might rejoice there in His deliverance.
Note the contrast between the gates of death and the gates of the daughter of Zion. He wants to live in public triumph and joy in Jerusalem, with the unrighteous defeated, he does not want to die and go into the gloom of the grave. ‘The gates’ were the place where public affairs were carried on, where celebrations took place and where the representatives of the city were regularly to be found. And there in the gates of Jerusalem he will rejoice in God’s deliverance and show forth all His praise. All will know of God’s goodness.
I think we all have come to a point in our lives where our Wonderful Holy God came to our help. I do not know about you but I couldn’t wait to tell as many people as I could of the great thing that He did for me.
‘The nations are sunk down in the pit that they have made, in the net which they concealed is their own foot taken. The LORD has made himself known, He has executed judgment: The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah
The consequence is that, thanks to God, those who have raised themselves against him have been defeated. They have set their traps for him and now they have fallen into their own traps. They have laid their hidden nets and now they have been caught in them themselves. Note how these descriptions stress their unrighteousness, because in the end the whole message of the Psalm is about the battle between righteousness and unrighteousness, with righteousness finally being the victor through the power of the Righteous One.
‘Higgaion. Selah.’ Higgaion is a call for musical instruments to play in order to emphasize the triumphant conclusion. Selah may indicate a moment of pause, possibly while only music is played, signifying ‘think of what you have heard’ or ‘rejoice in what you have heard’.
‘The wicked shall be turned back to Sheol, even all the nations who forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the expectation of the poor perish forever.’
After the pause and the music the final triumphant conclusion is reached. It deals with final principles. The unrighteous, and those who forget God , revealing it by their behavior, will depart for the world of the grave, into gloom and darkness. That is their inevitable end. On the other hand the needy and the poor will survive and come into God’s everlasting blessing, which is their destiny, because He has not forgotten them. They may be forgotten now, but they will not always be forgotten. They may see their cherished expectations dying now, but it will not always be so. In the end the righteous will prevail. For the righteous there will be life, for the unrighteous, judgment and destruction.
Note the change in this verse from THE LORD to ‘God’. These are those who have rejected The LORD’s offer of mercy, and must therefore face Him as ‘God’ over all, the Judge, and not as Yahweh the covenant deliverer.
‘ Arise, O YHWH; Do not let man prevail: Let the nations be judged in your sight. Put them in fear, O LORD: Let the nations know themselves to be but men. Selah.
The Psalm finishes with a cry from all who know Him As The LORD. The cry is to bring about these purposes, and deal with the unrighteous nations. We all want our Holy Lord God to arise and prevent man from prevailing, for he is unrighteous and will behave unrighteous. Let Him judge them in accordance with their deserving, as known by the all-seeing eye. Indeed let Him put them in fear and make them recognize that they are but men. Let them see themselves in a proper perspective. For then there would be a hope that some would hear the declaration among them of His doings (verse 11) and recognize their need, and hear and respond to Him.
This is not a vindictive cry. It is a prayer for the deliverance of the righteous. He wants the nations to recognize that they are dealing with the anointed of The LORD and cannot therefore prevail. They may boast about their greatness but they are but men. And thus when their belligerence results in judgment they will be made to recognize the fact. The people of God will win in the end. That is the proper response of all who proclaim Jehovah Tsidkenu – The God of Righteousness as their God.