Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
How many of us have faced real enemies? Certainly, there are people whom we don't get along with or who may not like us very much. But most of us meet very few people who set out to do us great harm. David, on the other hand, faced much deadlier opposition.
As the king of a tiny nation, David was acutely aware that he was surrounded by warlike, hostile, and unbelieving enemies. An important part of a king's job was to protect and defend his people by leading his army into battle. Having previously asked for God's deliverance, David now gives thanks for the divine protection he has received (Psalm 9:2).
By God's grace and power, Israel had known success and prosperity for much of David's reign. The Lord had given them victory over their enemies. He had demonstrated His righteous nature by blotting the wicked out of existence (v. 5), fulfilling the promises He had made to Israel's forefathers (see Genesis 12:3).
God's church is not a political nation, and our king, the Lord Jesus, reigns from heaven over a spiritual kingdom. But we can learn three things from this psalm.
Firstly, as Christians we know that ultimately our enemies aren't flesh and blood, but spiritual powers and authorities (Ephesians 6:12). In Psalm 9:5, David speaks of his enemies as if they have been finally and completely vanquished: ″You have blotted out their name for ever and ever.″ Of course, Israel's enemies would continue to oppress her. Similarly, we know that these dark spiritual forces were defeated by Jesus' death on the cross, but they still oppress us and try to make us lose heart. Yet, we have the same comfort as David, that the Lord is ″a stronghold in times of trouble″ (v. 9), and that He will ultimately deliver us.
Secondly, David variously describes ″those who know your name″ (v. 10) as ″the oppressed″ (v. 9), ″those who seek you″ (v. 10), ″the afflicted″ (vv. 12, 18), and ″the needy″ (v. 18). All these terms express our spiritual weakness and our utter dependence on God. We must always remember our essential helplessness, so that we daily turn to the God who ″reigns for ever″ (v. 7) and who will never forsake us or forget us.
Finally, Psalm 9 reminds us that God ″rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity″ (v. 8). While this judgment is sometimes experienced here and now (vv. 15-16), the final end of all God's enemies is certain. The great hope of the righteous is that they ″will never perish″ (v. 18). These great truths encouraged David to be ″glad and rejoice″ (v. 2), and they made the heavenly multitude sing hallelujah (Revelation 19:1-3).
Read through Psalm 9 again and write down what it tells us about the character and works of our God.
Again and again David calls on God's people to tell of His wonderful works (vv. 1, 11, 14). How, where, and what should we be proclaiming to the nations?