BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41
In this psalm 9, David praises God for giving him victory over his enemies. He prays to God that he might have further occasion to praise him, for his own deliverance and the confusion of his enemies. Then he goes on to triumph in the assurance he has of God’s judging the world and protecting His oppressed people. This is very applicable to the Kingdom of the Messiah. His enemies have been partly destroyed and will continue to be so until they are made to be His footstool. Of this we are assured that God may have the glory and we may take the comfort.
Psalm 9 – A Psalm of David
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart and tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You and sing praise to Your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, They shall fall and perish at Your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause. You sat on the throne judging in righteousness and rebuked the nations. You have destroyed the wicked and have blotted out their name forever and ever. O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities;
Even their memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation. The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Meditation. Selah The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O Lord, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah
Holy joy stems from a life of thankful praise
Henry says – In these verses David engages himself to praise God for His mercies and the great things He had done for him and his government, Ps. 9:1, 2. God expects suitable returns of praise from those for whom He has done marvellous works. We must praise him in sincerity not only with our lips but lively and fervent as with our whole heart. When we give thanks for some particular mercy we should remember former mercies to show forth all His marvellous works. Holy joy stems from a life of thankful praise just as thankful praise is the language of holy joy: I will be glad and rejoice in You.
Whatever happens to make us glad, our joy must pass through it, and terminate in God only: I will be glad and rejoice in You, not in the gift so much as in the giver. When God has shown Himself to be above the proud enemies of His people we must take the occasion to give Him glory as the Most High.
Vengeance is Mine
I verse 3, David acknowledges the almighty power of God as that which the strongest of his enemies were in no way able to contest with. They are forced to turn back. Their policy and their courage fail them, so that they cannot push forward in their plans. When once they turn back, they fall and perish. The presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power, are sufficient for the destruction of His and His people’s enemies. This was fulfilled when our Lord Jesus, with one word said, I am he, which made His enemies to fall back in His presence (John 18:6). He could, at the same time, have made them perish.
David gives to God the glory of His righteousness in verse 4: “You have maintained my right and my cause, that is, my righteous cause. God sits in the throne of judgment. He decides controversies, to determine appeals, to avenge the injured, and to punish the perpetrators. For He has said, Vengeance is Mine. If there seem to us to be some irregularity in the present justice let it strengthen our belief of the judgment to come, which will set all to-rights.
They will never more be remembered
Prior to their ruin they were given warning: “You have rebuked the heathen, having given them real proofs of Your displeasure against them.” He then cut them off: You have destroyed the wicked. The wicked are marked for destruction. He buries them in oblivion and puts out their name for ever, that they should never be remembered.
The Psalmist will have the enemy to know that their destruction is just. God was but reckoning with them for all the trouble they had done against His people. The malicious neighbours of Israel including the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and Syrians had made intrusions upon them. They had destroyed their cities and done what they could to make their memorial perish. But now the wheels had turned; their destructions of Israel had come to a end. They now ceased to spoil and must themselves be spoiled, Isa. 33:1, 2.
He is a refuge for the oppressed
Such a destruction would make a perpetual end of them. By the righteous judgements of God great and populous cities have been reduced to ruins and their very memorial has perished. But we look for a city that has stronger foundations. David comforts himself and others in God with thoughts of Him and of eternity. On this earth we see nothing durable, even strong cities are buried in rubbish and forgotten; but the Lord shall endure for ever, Ps. 9:7. There is no change in Him; His ecstasy, power, and perfection, are out of reach of all the combined forces of hell. They may put an end to our liberties, our privileges and our lives, but our God is still the same. He sits even upon the floods, unshaken and undisturbed, Ps. 29:10; 93:2.
He has prepared His throne, He has fixed it by his infinite wisdom. God even now rules the world and will shortly judge the world (Ps. 9:8). This is a great support and comfort of good people, when they are threatened and are melancholy and perplexed. God shall determine their lot both in this and in the future state, in righteousness and in uprightness. God gives peculiar favour to His own people and takes them under His special protection. The Lord, who endures forever, is their everlasting strength and protection. He who judges the world will be sure to judge for them, when at any time they are injured or distressed. (Ps. 9:9): He will be a refuge for the oppressed, a high place, a strong place, for the oppressed, in times of trouble.
By faith flee to Him
It is the lot of God’s people to be oppressed in this world and to have turbulent times appointed to them. Perhaps God may not immediately appear for them as their deliverer and avenger. But, in the midst of their distresses, they may by faith flee to Him as their refuge. They may depend upon His power and promise for their safety, so that no real hurt shall be done them. Those who have made God their refuge may have thoughts of sweet satisfaction and peace of mind (Ps. 9:10): “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You, as I have done” (for the grace of God is the same in all the saints), “and then they will find, as I have found, that You do not forsake those who seek You;” for the favour of God is the same towards all the saints.
The better God is known the more He is trusted. Those who know Him to be a God of infinite wisdom will trust Him further than they can see Him (Job 35:14). Those who know Him to be a God of almighty power will trust Him when creature-confidences fail and they have nothing else to trust in (2 Chron. 20:12). Those who know Him to be a God of infinite grace and goodness will trust Him though He slay them, Job 13:15. Those who know Him to be a God of invincible truth and faithfulness will rejoice in His Word of promise, and rest upon that. Even when performance be deferred and intermediate providences seem to contradict it.
If we trust Him, we shall seek Him
Those who know Him to be the Father of Spirits, and an everlasting Father, will trust Him with their souls as their main care and trust in Him at all times, even to the end. The more God is trusted the more He is sought out. If we trust God, we shall seek Him by faithful and fervent prayer, and by a constant care to approve ourselves to Him in the whole course of our conversations. God never did, nor ever will, disown or desert any that duly seek to Him and trust in Him. Though He afflict them, He will not leave them comfortless. Though He seem to forsake them for a while, yet He will gather them with everlasting mercies.
David, having praised God himself, calls upon and invites others to praise Him likewise in verse 11. Those who believe God is greatly to be praised not only desire to do so, but desire that others also may join in it: Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion. As the special residence of His glory is in heaven, so the special residence of His grace is in His church, of which Zion was a type. There He meets His people with His promises and graces. There He expects they should meet Him with their praises and services.
He has not forgotten the cry of the humble
In verse 1, He calls upon others to declare among the people His doings. David commands his own subjects to declare God’s workings, for the honour of God, of their country, and of their holy faith. To Jehovah who dwells in Zion, to the God of Israel, and to declare among the heathen that the Lord has done great things for His people, Ps. 126:3, 4. God gives the assurance that He will avenge the blood of His servants (Deut. 32:43).
There is a day coming when God will make an inquiry for blood. He will uncover what has been shed secretly, and avenge what has been shed unjustly; see Isa. 26:21; Jer. 51:35. In that day it will appear how precious the blood of God’s people is to Him (Ps. 72:14). It will then be shown that He has not forgotten the cry of the humble, nor the cry of their blood or of their prayers, but that they have been sealed up among His treasures.
Do as You see fit to me
David appeals to God for he sees that not all things have yet been put under him. (Ps. 9:13): “Have mercy upon me, who, having only misery and no merit to speak of, must depend upon Your mercy for relief.” He is not particular in his request, lest he should seem to dictate to God. But submits himself to the wisdom and will of God in this modest request, “Lord, consider my trouble, and do for me as You see fit.”
He pleads: “O You who lifts me up, that can do it, You have done it, and will do it, whose prerogative it is to lift up Your people from the gates of death!” We are never brought too low, so near to death that God cannot raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may take encouragement to hope that in all our distresses He will be a very present help to us.
David’s sincere purpose is to praise God when his victories are done (Ps. 9:14): “Lord, save me, not that I may have the comfort and credit of the deliverance, but that You may have the glory. By faith David foresees the certain ruin of all wicked people, both in this world and in the one to come. In this world, Ps. 9:15, 16. God executes judgment upon them when the measure of their iniquities is full. He does it to put them to shame and make their fall degrading. For they sink into the pit which they themselves have dug (Ps. 7:15).
Prodigals become beggars
In all the struggles David had with the Philistines they were the aggressors, 2 Sam. 5:17, 22. And other nations were subdued by them. God frequently orders it that oppressors are brought to ruin by those very projects which they intended to be destructive to the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves. Prodigals become beggars. The contentious bring trouble upon themselves. The Lord is known, that is, He makes Himself known, by these judgments which He executes. In these judgments the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. What we see of present judgments, and what we believe of the judgment to come, ought to be the subject of our frequent and serious meditations.
In the other world (Ps. 9:17): The wicked shall be turned into hell, even all the nations that forget God. Forgetfulness of God is the cause of all the wickedness of the wicked. There are multitudes that live without God in the world. Many great and many mighty nations, that never regard Him nor desire the knowledge of His ways. Hell will, at last, be the portion of such, a state of everlasting misery and torment—Sheol, a pit of destruction. In which they and all their comforts will be for ever lost and buried. Their being so numerous will not be any security or ease to them, nor any loss to God or the least impeachment of His goodness.
Wait for His salvation
David encourages the people of God to wait for His salvation, though it should be long deferred, Ps. 9:18. The needy and others may think themselves forgotten for a while. Their expectation of help from God may seem to be forever frustrated. But the vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak. God’s people, God’s elect, shall not always be forgotten, nor shall they be disappointed. God will not only remember them, at last, but show us that He never did forget them. It is impossible He should, even though a woman may forget her sucking child.
He concludes with prayer that God would humble the pride, break the power, and blast the projects, of all the wicked enemies of His church: “Arise, O Lord! (Ps. 9:19), stir up Yourself, exert Your power and deal with all these proud and daring enemies of Your name, and cause, and people.” “Lord, restrain them, and set bounds to their malice: Let not man prevail. Do not let not weak and mortal men prevail against Your Kingdom. Shall mortal man be too hard for God, too strong for his Maker?” “Lord, reckon with them: Let them be plainly called to an account for all the dishonour done to You and the trouble done to Your people.”
When their day of grace is over..
Unrepentant sinners will be punished. When their day of grace is over, infinite mercy will not relent towards them, Rev. 14:10. “Lord, frighten them: Put them in fear, O Lord! (Ps. 9:20), strike a terror upon them, make them afraid with Your judgments.” God knows how to make the strongest of men tremble and flee even when no one pursues them. He can make them to know that they are but weak men, unable to stand before the holy God.
It is a very desirable thing, to the glory of God and the peace and welfare of the earth, that men should know and consider themselves to be but men, depending creatures, mortal, and accountable. In singing this psalm we must give to God the glory of His justice in pleading the cause of His people against His and their enemies. Let’s encourage ourselves to wait for the year of the redeemed. Even for the final destruction of all anti-christian powers and factions, to which many of the ancients apply this psalm.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Ceaseless Praise Lord of my days Make me sure of Your ways Remove from my eyes the lingering haze That I may offer You continuous praise. So as thoughts of self are slowly decreasing Your presence You are joyfully releasing. May my love for You be ever increasing My praise for You unceasing. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. May I praise You in sincerity not only with my lips but to be lively and fervent as with my whole heart. Help me remember all Your former mercies toward me and be filled with Holy joy. Let my life be a river of thankful praise. Whatever happens to make me glad, let that joy pass through and terminate in You alone.
Where there seem to be some irregularity in present justice let it strengthen my belief of the judgment to come, which will set all to-rights. I declare that I look for a city that has stronger foundations. Help me comfort myself and others in You with thoughts of eternity. Though the enemy attempt to put an end to our liberties, our privileges and our lives. Yet Your ecstasy, power, and perfection, are out of reach of all the combined forces of hell. You sit upon the floods, unshaken and undisturbed. You even now rule the world and will shortly judge the world. When I feel threatened and am melancholy and perplexed let this be my great support and comfort.
You give peculiar favour to Your own people and take them under Your special protection. You O Lord endure forever and You are my everlasting strength and protection. Thought it be our lot to be oppressed in this world and have turbulent times yet in the midst of my distresses, by faith I can flee to You as My refuge. I can depend upon Your power and promise for my safety, so that no real hurt shall be done to me. I have made You my refuge. So I can have thoughts of sweet satisfaction and peace of mind. For You do not forsake those who seek You.
May I submit myself to Your wisdom and will. Your people shall not always be forgotten, nor shall they be disappointed. You will not only remember us, at last, but show us that You never did forget us. It is impossible that You should. Let us encourage ourselves to wait for the year of the redeemed. Even for the final destruction of all anti-christian powers. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
The Psalms to date can be seen here.