Psalms · Psalms Book 1 · Thoughts

A Wondrous King

Good morning friends.

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you.
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Ps. 9:1-2 NIV84

Praising God in this verse is not just about singing a song but it is connected to telling of his wonders. When we tell of God’s wonders, what do we talk about?

There are wonders everywhere we look in this world. Trees, and how they change each season. Water. How it carves out a path in rocks. But this psalm doesn’t focus on nature, but on the justice God has poured out on the psalmist’s enemies.

We don’t know who those enemies are, and that makes this psalm seem applicable at many times. As I have continually gone back to this psalm over the last few months thinking about it’s words and how they apply or could apply to me, the meaning of “my enemies” has changed.

Initially as I read Psalm 9 and 10 (they are considered to be one psalm by most commentators), I was confused. How do we go from praising God for His wonders to thanking him for judging our enemies? Talking about judging our enemies in the way the psalmist does here is not very loving. It creates discomfort. Who are our enemies that we would want those things to happen to them?

Then in August while Afghanistan was falling, it seemed appropriate. I prayed for God’s justice to be poured out and for Him to supply a refuge for the oppressed and a stronghold in times of trouble for the Afghans (vs. 9). I prayed that they would know God’s presence as they seek Him (vs. 10), that the Lord would hear their cries, have mercy on them, and judge their oppressors. Protection for the oppressed. Judgment on the oppressor. This is one way to use the psalms: as prayers for situations that it is hard to find words for.

But it isn’t always people in far away countries who desire to be saved. Sometimes we need God to save us from “enemies” in our own lives. But sometimes it is hard to name those enemies, but the psalmist describes them well though. In Psalm 10 we see a picture of a wicked man who has no thought of God. Who believes he can live how he wants without consequence, catching victims unawares and crushing them. The psalmist asks why does this wicked man think God won’t call him to account? Why is God not stepping in to save the victims?

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.

Ps. 10:14-15 (NIV84)

“Break the arm” is a way of saying, “Take away their power, their tools for injury.” I think we can all get behind that. The scammer that takes money from the elderly — Take away their phone lines. Take away their technology. Keep them from doing their “job” of stealing. The bully at school (or elsewhere) — Take away their arrogance. Humble them. The gossip — Shut the ears of those who are within hearing. The one in power who does whatever it takes to get their way — Put truth-speakers in their way. Open people’s eyes to it and give them courage to stand.

I don’t know who your enemy is today. But what I do know is this:

The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Ps. 10:16-18 (NIF84)

And that is a wonder. That God, the creator of the universe, cares about each and every one of us. About every battle we fight. About every moment of our days. And that He will defend us. He is the prince who rides in to save the day. The great prince who looks at the lowliest servant’s suffering, and gives His life to save them. It isn’t just a fairy tale. It is true. In this psalm, God takes the role of the saving king. He is the one that swoops in and pulls us out of danger. He is Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings coming with his army to destroy those who are attacking his city and his people and reestablish peace.

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you.
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Ps. 9:1-2 NIV84

Praise the Lord that his wonders never cease!

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