For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
Nine days in to September, here’s Psalm 9:
1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
3 My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
6 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.
7 The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
in the gates of Daughter Zion,
and there rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
let the nations know they are only mortal.
What is this Psalm about?
This Psalm is about God – moving, I think, from a declaration of praise and worship (v1+2), through an acknowledgement of what God has already done, (v3-6), to a celebration of who God is (v9-12). The Psalmist then re-focuses on his personal situation (v13-14), this time couched in and focusing on the possibility of God acting, and ultimately being able to ‘rejoice in our salvation’. The Psalm closes with a focus on the nations (v15-20), an interesting pivot, again emphasising the Kingship of God and his compassion.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
In Psalm 9, we learn more about God ‘the Lord’, and the kind of King of Kings that God is. He is the ‘Most High’, rebukes the nations, judges with equity, is enthroned in Zion, never forgets the needy, and is (unlike the nations) immortal. The Psalms have taught us so far about both God’s authoritative kingship and his personal compassion – Psalm 9 fleshes this out in ways that will be differently encouraging to different groups.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
The day after Queen Elizabeth the Second’s death, social media has been a place with an ‘interesting’ level of dissonance and disagreement. I think Psalm 9 has something to say to everyone. It has something comforting to say to those with legitimate greivances. It has something comforting to say to those who mourn. It has something powerful and true to say about the way the world really is, viewed from the ultimate side of history. When the world seems confusing, Psalm 9 reminds us that there is indeed a higher throne, with a perfect King.
A prayer from Psalm 9:
Lord, I rejoice and give thanks in your name for your wonderful deeds, for your just and wise rule and reign. Help me to listen, as you do, to the cries of the afflicted, and remember that even the most powerful people and institutions are as nothing compared to you. So, too, have mercy on me. Amen.