Daily Family Worship

Psalm 9: The Stronghold Song

by | Apr 5, 2024

psalm 9

There is a considerable resemblance, in the commencement of this Psalm, to the song in Isaiah 35:1-5. In both, we have praises being ascribed to the Lord’s name for wonderful things, such as enemies, nations, and cities destroyed; and in both, He is seen to be a refuge for the needy, and a stronghold in times of trouble.

In verses 1-8, there is a sketch of what the Lord is to do when He rises up. “O thou enemy,” the Psalmist exclaims, “destructions are come to a perpetual end!” This is similar to the declaration of victory over death and the grave, in Hosea 13:14. It is as if the Psalmist looks fearlessly and directly into the face of Satan, and all who follow Him on earth – from King Saul, all the way down to the last Antichrist. The acts of desolation and destruction that they participated in with delight are now brought to an end. The memory of the foe perishes, just like the cities which they destroy. But in contrast, we read in verses 9-12 how the Lord has been, still is, and shall continue to be toward His own people. He remains evermore the same; and He shall not forget to revenge the death of those souls under the altar (Rev. 6:10), whose blood has been shed by the demons of hell and the tyrants of this world. Then in verses 13 and 14, a cry like that of the martyrs arises and enters into the Lord’s ears; and the answer is given in verses 15-17. After all of this, the Psalmist sings confidently in verses 18-20; and he prays boldly to Him who will surely work on behalf of His poor and persecuted saints.

The speaker in this Psalm may be any member of the Savior’s spiritual Body, as he or she expresses the thoughts of their heart in sympathy with their Head. But Christ Himself could utter the words of this sacred composition as no other person could. During the time of His ministry on earth, He delighted to commend His Father’s name, just as the tenth verse of this Psalm does; and He was happy to be able to assure His disciples that with God, there is no casting out of anyone who has come in.

But to all of this, every believer in Jesus cannot help responding by echoing the holy sentiments of their Master. Even in verse 16, every one of Christ’s people may enter into the awful scene of justice and holiness, in full sympathy with the feelings of the One Who cannot do otherwise than judge righteously and justly. They see the event as if it had already come to pass: “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” And then it is almost as if we hear a voice coming from within the Holy of holies – uttering the word “Higgaion,” which indicates a call to deep reflection or solemn musing; and also “Selah,” which is a call to the Chief Musician to pause the music, so that the worshipers might take a few moments to employ their minds in meditation and adoration. Surely it was with this kind of silent awe that the hosts of Israel stood for a time – gazing upon the dead bodies of the Egyptians, when morning light revealed them floating upon the waves of the Red Sea, or cast up like seaweed upon the shore! And nothing less than this shall be the intensity of interest and awe that shall be felt by the saints, when – from their safe and secure stronghold – they look down in triumph upon the overwhelmed hosts of all their foes, who sought to take away their lives! 

“The needy shall not always be forgotten,” verse 18 assures us; “the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” These words express the earnest expectation of God’s poor ones, who are looking up from their state of oppression and trouble (verse 9), and longing for Him to come as the Righteous Judge of a sadly disordered world; and when He does, then they shall truly sing, “The Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (verses 7-8). Of this Psalm, therefore, we may say that we here see Christ as the Righteous One, Who shall one day set up and sit down upon the throne of His judgment!

Lord, we pray for grace to patiently wait for Your coming, when You shall right the wrongs of this sadly disordered world! Amen.

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