I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2
Like Psalm 8 before it, Psalm 9 begins with an exuberant note of praise. Unlike Psalm 8, the 9th Psalm turns to lamentation before its end, as the psalmist David considers the reality of his turbulent earthly circumstances. The context of the Psalm clearly shows that David’s present condition is one of suffering, where any hope of deliverance is unseen and lies in the future; yet the Psalm begins, and is scattered throughout, with verses of joyful and confident thanksgiving.
Far too often when Christians are faced with turbulent times, they tend to complain and bemoan their problems sooner than they will praise God. It seems that in the life of many in the church, experiences and circumstances trump praise and thanksgiving; but not so for David. Though he is challenged by living amidst his enemies, David nevertheless rejoices over the just Judge of all nations, and as a result sees his enemy’s future final destruction and his own deliverance (vss. 3-8). Between the realism of his present trials and the equally real, but unseen, future, David knows his God to be his refuge in the midst of the present tempest. In verse 9 he confesses:
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
The key to David’s confidence lies in verses 10 and 11:
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 sits enthroned in Zion!
David knows and trusts a great God – one who is enthroned, not among men, but in the heavenly Zion; One who is set above, and therefore unaffected by the circumstances of humanity. It is based on this knowledge of God that he can offer hope to those around him in the composition of this Psalm which praises God amidst the surrounding godless wickedness.
What is your experience when it comes to praise? When the music stops, is your singing sustained? When the ‘songs of glory’ end, and times of joyful prosperity are over, do you sing on? If the Israelites could rejoice and be glad in the midst of their enemies, how much more should the church, who know of the true wonders of Christ and have shared of His Holy Spirit, rejoice.
This week some in the body of Christ will be lamenting due to various circumstances of life. Some will fear the future; others will lament losses. Their lamentation will never turn to praise because they view God as One who is weak and shallow. But your God sits enthroned in Zion! You have been taught great Truth of a great God – go tell of His deeds among the people. There is a link between great Truth and great singing. Song is the byproduct and response on the part of the grateful Christian who understands great Truth. So sing on, Christian, and let those who would call you ‘naïve’ do so to their own detriment. For your hope lies not in an earthly nation or its leaders who are but men; your hope lies in the Maker of men and nations, even of heaven and earth!