Monday, 21 February 2011

Psalm 9 - An exposition

The first half of this psalm declares the victory of God’s total rule and triumph. Verses 1-12 is all affirmation, the fruit of reflection of God’s victory and justice over the wicked and vindication for the righteous. Verses 13-20 departs from this reflection and turns into a prayer arising from a state of suffering. The psalmist is seeking deliverance so that he may declare the praises of God.

Vs.1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart. An acceptable thanksgiving is one which is from the heart, it comes from the soul, it arises from the satisfaction of the individual towards its object. God is a God who deserves constant praise for He is worthy. Our thanksgiving should always be entirely from our hearts. Notice the excitement in this verse, the psalmist prepares himself to give thanks with all of his heart, for the praising of God is the delight of his soul. I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. After thanksgiving comes declaration, the wonderful deeds of God are so awesome that it is a sin to conceal them. A heart moved by God will not be contempt to hide to himself the great deeds of God but with joy would as soon run to the streets and shout of the great and wonderful deeds of God. The gospel is one of the greatest deeds of God and how wonderful is the story that bids sinners to come and live. Is this not wonderful to you, and if it is why do you veil it from your neighbour. Let us declare the gospel of God for it is a wonderful deed of God executed by His Son and continued by His Spirit. Vs. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praises of your name, O Most High. Our God is a happy God, therefore he calls his worshippers to be happy, to be glad and to rejoice in Him. There is a satisfaction and wholeness when one grasp the pleasantness of happily surrendering oneself to God in singing and rejoicing. The heart of man was made to sing and that to God. Notice that the psalmist is to rejoice in God and to be glad in God. The psalmist is not keen to rejoice in God’s benefits or what God may grant him, but in God. When was the last time you rejoiced in God, in His being, in who He is, Father, Son, and Spirit. For one to rejoice in God, one must know God and when one contemplates of His being and character there is immediately a warmness flowing through the veins of one’s blood for one is so excited by His character and nature that He is their satisfaction and treasure. Those who know God in a sweetly manner are apt to rejoice and sing praises to his name.

After the psalmist has declared of what He will do, that is to praise God, He now focuses on his enemies and bids them to vs. 3 turn back. The reason for such a warning is because his enemies stumble and perish before God. God has caused his enemies to fall but God has upheld the psalmist vs. 4 right and his cause, while God is sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. God is altogether righteous and throughout the psalms this nature of God is constantly being drawn out and appealed to. God is the universal judge and he judges the nations and peoples according to his righteousness. No one is wronged when God unleashes the sword and strikes with the arrows of justice. Each is judged in total righteousness and fairness. Vs. 5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their names forever and ever. The righteous are never destroyed and their names are never blotted out but the wicked are destroyed and for all eternity their names are blotted out from the book of life. They have no place in heaven and never will. The wicked are destroyed in the lake of fire and the righteous laws of God rebukes the godless nations of today.  The psalmist continues to gloat over the righteous judgement over his enemies, vs. 6 Endless ruins has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even their memories have perished. God has granted the Psalmist victory over his enemies and the psalmist rightfully acknowledges that this is all God’s doing.

The believer can sweetly rest in the hope that justice will win the day, the wicked will not go unpunished and the righteous will be rewarded. God fills the throne of power and His kingdom is everlasting. Vs. 7 The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgement. For all of eternity God will reign, his ways will win the night and his plans will never be thwarted. Some have been fools in considering themselves rulers and kings forgetting that there is a greater King who is above them who will call them into account. Humans by nature exhibit a great folly by sitting themselves on the throne in which God is to rule over their lives and in rebellion they choose to actively walk their own ways disregarding the reign of God. Little do they know that God has established his throne for judgement, to render to each soul according to their deeds. He will give to rebels what they deserve when they come to his throne for judgment and their judgement will result in a banishment from His kingdom forever into the everlasting abyss prepared for the devil and his angels.

God’s total rule abounds to the whole world and whether poor or rich God will take their lives into account and declare justice for their plight. Vs. 8 He rules the world in righteousness, and judges the world with equity. Some have complained of a lack of justice here on earth and some dictators have ministered injustice in their reign, but the Lord rules in righteousness. Partiality and respect of persons will not be found in heavens court, there will be no bowl for a bribe, or the crafty speech of a wayward lawyer. Each person will be judged with fair equality as all the evidence will be known and all rocks will be turned so that all facts are laid bare and the guilty are rightly convicted.  But vs. 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. This privilege is reserved for those who are oppressed or victims who have been wronged. The LORD is for them and He provides a shelter for them, the LORD himself will be their defendant, He will defend their case. Be encouraged my fellow believers when you are oppressed and wronged, God is your refuge and Jesus is your saviour. He will defend you and the courts of heaven will acquit you and God himself will prepare a room for your dwelling. Therefore give thanks to the Lord for He is righteous. Vs. 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. The psalmist knowing who God is is able to rejoice in God for he knows God and those who know God will trust in God. The niceness in trusting in God is that he will never forsake you. This is sweet to the soul knowing that in great trials and tribulations, when all seems to be failing you, the Lord will never forsake you. He is your anchor and your shield, those who seek him will find him and in finding him will know that the LORD was always by them and what greater blessings will He comfort you with when you find him.

Vs. 11 Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. A contemplation of the deeds of God causes the psalmist to sing praises to God and these deeds are to be declared among the nations. The deeds of God we have seen is his judgement on the nations and wicked people, God is righteous, a refuge to the oppress and administers justice to the people’s of the earth. Such a God is to be praised and enjoyed, to be loved and cherished.  God avenges and never forgets vs. 12 He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

The psalmist now moves away from the universal declaration of the Justice of God to all people’s to his own situation. Vs. 13 LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me from the gates of death. Are you a soul distressed by your enemies, call upon the Lord to come and look, tell him to come and administer justice. Beseech the Lord to have mercy on you and to lift you from the gates of death so that vs. 14 you may declare his praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. A heavenly reason why you should always seek deliverance from all of your infirmities, troubles and difficulty is so that you may rejoice in God and sing praises to his name. God’s glory should be your motivation in your deliverance and his praise should fill your lips.

Vs. 15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The psalmist reflects on the victory the Lord has granted him over other nations, how when the nations planned and boast of their plans they fell according to them. They set traps but it was them who was caught in them. Vs. 16 The LORD is known by his act of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. God’s works are demonstrated in his justice, and thus he punishes sinners. He is Holy and pure therefore the wicked cannot be justified except through the way in which He provided namely through the cross of His Son. It is the only way where sinners can be pronounced as righteous and therefore be able to stand beneath the swinging axe of God’s justice.

Vs 17.  The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. Those who forget God will be thrust into hell and whole nations will be there as well but vs. 18 God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. Mercy is always at hand for the needy and the afflicted, although they fear that they are forgotten, God will never forget them. Let those who are afflicted and needy never fail to hope, let them never succumb to the ways of the wicked but endure your sufferings waiting in hope for your deliverance which will either come in this age and without fail come in the next. Those who are found in this position are apt with great intensiveness and desire to utter these words,  vs. 19-20 Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence.  Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know that they are mortal. This is a call for humility, for God to humble those who forget that they are mortal and who put themselves in the seat of God. The nations will be judged severely those who oppress and afflict the innocent, God will strike them with His right arm and plagues which amounts to great terror that the nations will declare their own mortality and give praise to the one who is Immortal.


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