Praise For Past Deliverance (9:1-12)
The heart of praise
In the first two verses, David begins by describing his need to praise God and particularly how he will praise God. There are three ways that David is going to praise the Lord. David declares that he will sing praise to His name. Singing to the Lord is probably the most obvious thing we think of when we speak of praising the Lord. But there are other ways that David says he will praise the Lord that we must consider. David also says that he will praise the Lord by telling of all God’s wonders. Praising the Lord also includes telling others about all of God’s wonders. David is not only recounting the great wonders of the Lord for his own benefit, but as a method of telling others about God. Praise is not only directing our words to God but also to others about the great deeds of the Lord. Have you ever thought that we are neglecting a form of praising the Lord when we are not speaking to others about the wonders and works of the Lord? Yet this is an important way that we praise the Lord when we are willing to tell others about Him. The third way that David would praise the Lord was with all of his heart. This is the only way to praise the Lord, for if we are not praising with the whole heart, then it is not the worship God wants. Unfortunately the heart can frequently be missing when we come together to praise and worship the Lord. Instead of praising, Christians complain about how God is treating them, carrying on about their needs and desires, and gossip. How easy it is for Christians to sing well-known songs such that they do not even think about the words or pay attention to what they are thinking or doing during prayer, Lord’s supper, and sermon. Praise is only praise when it involves our whole heart. Anything less falls short of what God demands of us to offer Him as worship.
The reasons for praise
David is now going to express four reasons why he is praising the Lord with all of his heart and telling of all God’s wonders. David now describes some things of the past that are reasons for his praise.
God gives victory over enemies (9:3-6).
The enemies of David have been judged by the Lord. David’s cause has been upheld by the Lord and the wicked have been blotted out. David presents to us hope in the midst of our enemies. We have already read about many of David’s problems where the enemies were against David, such as Psalm 7. We see that not only do we know as followers of God that we will overcome in the final judgment, but the Lord is upholding our cause now. Judgment upon the enemies can come upon them in the foreseeable future and not only in the final judgment. David is able to stand back and see the Lord working in his life and in the world. The nations are rebuked and the wicked are destroyed. God had blotted out their name and ruin had overtaken them. Evil is only successful for a short time. Eventually, the lawless deeds of the wicked come back upon them. David also expresses this victory on a national level, according to verse 5. Eventually, wicked nations will be judged and blotted out. God will not allow evil to endure, and this fact is seen in history and biblically. Nations fall when they turn their backs on the Lord. David praises the Lord for upholding the cause of the righteous and judging the evildoers.
God rules and is just (9:7-8).
David now praises the Lord who reigns forever. Notice that David says that God’s throne is established. The throne was not something that needed to be established in the future. God was not part of a succession of failed attempts to establish His throne, as premillennialism suggests. God’s throne has been established and it is ruling in righteousness. Our God is a perfect judge who governs the people in justice. This is the character of God. Therefore, God, through the prophet Micah, declares, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). We are called to be like God, and therefore we must add to our character these same attributes.
God gives refuge from the wicked (9:9-10).
The third thing for which David praises God is that He is a refuge for the oppressed in times of trouble. Have you noticed the number of times David has called the Lord a refuge just in these first eight psalms? Psalms 3, 4, 5, and 7 all have spoken to this idea and now David again refers to God as a refuge. Do you think David is trying to get each of us to understand that we should turn to the Lord because He will protect us? The repetition of this theme should not be ignored. This refuge is literally in the Hebrew “a high place.” God is the escape we need to “get away from it all.” God can lift us up in our times of trouble and put us in a safe place. Man turns to all sorts of other places and vices for relief and escape, such as alcohol, sex, violence, anger, and addictions. But God is the place to run to for protection and escape.
Verse 10 is, in my mind, the key verse of this psalm and it is a key verse that I would like for you to take away from this lesson. David declares, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Let us start with the first part of this declaration. David says that those who know the name of the Lord will trust in Him. Would you not expect this declaration to be stated in the opposite order? We think if we trust in the Lord, then we can know the Lord. So we work on putting more of our trust in the Lord so that we can know Him more fully. But that is not what David says. David says “Those who know your name will trust in you.” Let us ask ourselves a question: Do we trust in the Lord? If you want to trust in God, then you have to know God. If we are not putting our full trust in the Lord, fully sacrificing and surrendering to the Lord, with our full confidence in God, then we truly do not know God. For if we knew God, we would want to put our trust in Him and we would be compelled to put our trust in Him. You must know God to put your trust in God. If you do not trust God, then you do not know Him. If we knew Him, then we would know that He will never forsake those who seek Him. We would know that we will not be let down when we put our trust in God. People let us down and fail us, causing us to be untrusting. If we knew God, then we would know that God never fails and will never forsake us. You and I can only know God through prayer, study of the scriptures, and meditation on Him.
God will not overlook sins ( 9:11 -12).
God does not ignore the cry of the afflicted. God exacts vengeance upon the enemies. Just as Paul said in Romans 12:19 , “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” The Christian can be assured that God will right those who have been wronged. This is the message of Revelation 6:9-11. The saints who had been slain for the word of the Lord cried out how long for vengeance. They were told that it would be just a little bit longer. God will judge. It may not be immediate, but God will not overlook the sins and evils of the peoples and the nations.
Prayer For Future Deliverance
Prayer for mercy ( 9:13 )
In verse 13 David stops recalling the works of God in the past and directs his attention to the present distress. David says that there are enemies that are currently persecuting. David derived his hope from the past victories God had caused in his life. Because of what God has done to the enemies in the past, David has confidence to pray to God now concerning his present enemies. Because of his current situation, David prays for mercy. This is an interesting way to request help. David does not tell God what needs to be done or how to go about fixing his situation. David leaves all of this in the hands of God and simply makes his request for mercy. This is very similar to the two prayers we see compared in Luke 18:9-14 concerning the prayer of the Pharisee and the prayer of the tax collector. The tax collector boiled his request down to one thing: mercy. He said, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!” This prayer must really be at the heart of all our requests. We can tell God all that is going on and explain what we want and need. But our request must really boil down to needed mercy. How often we forget that we need the mercy of the Lord. Our sins and burdens weigh heavily upon us. We are deserving of judgment and condemnation. Let us never forget to cry out for mercy from the Lord daily.
Reasons for mercy ( 9:14 )
David also expresses two reasons why he wants mercy from the Lord. The first point David makes for mercy is so he can declare praise for God in the gates of the Daughter of Zion. David desires mercy so that he can glory in the Lord all the more. David will use the opportunities of mercy to declare the mercies of the Lord to all those who will listen. David will declare these mercies even in the gates of the city of Jerusalem . David will express his praise for the Lord in the most public way. The gates of the city were the meeting place for the wise, knowledgeable, and powerful people of the city. David will declare these things even to those very people, who in our minds are the most intimidating to speak to. We are afraid to declare the glory and the mercies of the Lord to the powerful, the knowledgeable, and the wise. Despite these things, David would speak about the Lord and so must we.
The second reason for David desiring the mercy of the Lord is to be able to rejoice in salvation. How great it is to look and see how deep a pit of despair we have found ourselves in and watch God lift us out and set us up in an elevated place again! It is wonderful to rejoice in the turnarounds that God can cause in our lives. Time after time, God can deliver us from the darkest of pits and set us on track to the brightest of paths. But let us not only consider the darkest physical pits that we fall into in our lives, but also the spiritual pits and the salvation God has offered. All of us were in a position of hopelessness concerning our eternal welfare, destined for eternal punishment because we all have violated the will of God. Praise be to God who has delivered us from this body of death, redeemed us, and raised us up with Him to sit in the heavenly places. What a great salvation the Lord has extended to every person to accept. For these things, David desires mercy and the opportunities to share his stories of mercy with others.
Prayer for judgment
In the last few verses of this psalm, David prays for judgment from the Lord. But the prayer is not simply about requesting future judgment, but declaring the way God judges the nations and the peoples of the world.
God’s justice: evil is repaid ( 9:15 -16)
The key to this section is the simple statement, “The Lord is known by His justice.” However, the Lord’s justice is not always blatant and clear. God’s justice is not found in lightning striking people dead, or the earth swallowing up evildoers. God’s justice is very subtle. Those who plan and scheme evil deeds will be caught in their evil plans. Dig a pit for your neighbor and you will be the one who falls in. Set a trap for another and you will be caught in your trap. The hands of the wicked will catch themselves in their own work.
God’s warning: do not forget Him ( 9:17 )
Verse 17 is a strong warning declared by David. David says that the wicked return to the grave. There is nothing that is too earth shattering by this statement. But notice who David defines as the wicked, for this is much more amazing. David says the wicked are those who forget God. What a powerful warning that we need to take to heart. David does not say that the wicked are only those who forsake God. It is true that those who forsake God are those that God calls the wicked. David is issuing a warning that the writer of Hebrews spoke about in Hebrews 2:3. Hebrews 2:3 says, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” The writer of Hebrews was warning against neglecting the work of the Lord. This is the same idea that David presents in Psalm 9. The wicked includes not only those who forsake God, and not only those who neglect God, but also those who forget God. Do we have days that we forget God? Are there days that we forget God by not talking to Him, listening to Him by reading the scriptures, and thinking about Him and His righteousness? I believe we have those days. Let us be warned about forgetting the Lord. How dangerous it is when we forget God one day, but how easily that one day turns into a few days, which can turn into a week. Sometimes we only remember God on Sundays and how tragic and dangerous that is. When we choose to forget God or choose to be so busy that we become absentminded about godly things, we are no longer walking in the light but walking in the path of the wicked.
God’s hope: His people are not forgotten ( 9:18 )
After expressing this warning, David also issues a reminder of hope. The way things go in this life is not a determination concerning God’s favor to you. We may be classified as those who are oppressed, those who are needy, and those who are afflicted. But though we may be forgotten and ignored by the world, we are never forgotten by God. The world may put us to scorn and despise us, but we are not forgotten by God. This thought ties back into the teaching we read in verse 10. Those who are God’s are never forsaken by God. It does not matter how bad life may become. It does not matter that Satan throws his most difficult trials, temptations, or hardships, we are not forgotten by the Lord. Jesus gave a wonderful reminder of this in Matthew 6 when He reminded us that God takes care of the birds and clothes the grasses of the field, so how much more will God take care and be mindful of us! As our song says, “the Lord has been mindful of me, He blesses and blesses again.”
God’s reminder: know your position ( 9:19 -20)
Finally, God gives the reminder that we are to know our position before Him and in this world. Man should not triumph. Let man be struck with terror if that is what is needed to know that we are only men. Let us remember that we are only dust. We are only created beings and it is when we forget who we are that we forget where we are going and who we belong to.
Praise God for all that He has done. Let us be mindful of God’s mighty works and tell others about Him.
Know the name of the Lord. If we do not know the name of the Lord, then we cannot trust God. If we cannot trust God, then we cannot obey God nor can we be saved.
Do not forget God. When we forget God, we have taken our place among the wicked and are traveling on the path to destruction.