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28 October 2020 – Psalm 9:1-20

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

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,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah (ESV)

Allen P. Ross writes:

The psalm in many ways focuses on God’s sovereign rule over the affairs of men. The psalmist thinks of his own experience of vindication when God judged the wicked, and from there he looks forward to what it all prefigures, a great and final judgment to come. The LORD is the champion of the weak and afflicted who trust in him, and he will one day bring justice into the world by putting the oppressors in their place. Their place will be Sheol, their native element.

The message of the psalm is timeless. It may be worded as follows: Because God has demonstrated that he is the righteous judge of the world, believers may trust in him now for protection from the wicked and confidently pray for the final vindication in the judgment to come.

There are two ways this psalm may be directed. One is that people hearing this psalm may have to acknowledge that they are part of those who are being prayed against in this psalm – they may have a share in the oppression of others, either on a small scale or by being part of powerful nations. Passages such as this should inspire believers to relieve the suffering and the affliction of others when they have the opportunity to do so.

The other way this Psalm may be directed is the straight-forward meaning of the text. Any individual believers who are oppressed by wickedness in high or low places will find strength and comfort from this psalm to pray for relief and vindication. They will certainly understand the plight of others who have been afflicted, and join in their ancient prayer, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 79
Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

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