Psalm 9 often taken together with Psalm 10 – but I’m not going to. Half of an acrostic
1. To witness – declaring what God has done, out loud and in public. Vv1,2,11,14. This Psalm (which is almost a compilation, a sort of ‘best hits’ Psalm) repeatedly seems to be declaring what God has done.
And that’s my task – to be a witness to what I have discovered of God. So when (as I have done tonight) I ask for people to testify to God’s activity in their lives, I’m giving an opportunity to rehearse!
2. To trust / seek / know. The life of discipleship – which is to grow in faith. Prayer of Richard, Bishop of Chichester in the C13:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly
1. To judge the wicked. Vv5, 7,8,16. Rooted in his holiness. Not an external obligation laid unwillingly on Him, but an expression of God’s nature. There is a right order, a just path. It isn’t all up for grabs. Justice – which is that everyone is treated the same before the law, irrespective of privilege – and righteousness – that the law is good, and based on moral and ethical goodness – those are God’s commitment.
2. To protect the afflicted. Vv9, 1218. Rooted in his love. Again, an expression of who God is. Love and Justice, hand in hand. God does have a heart for the oppressed and the afflicted. Let’s not spiritualise this too readily; there is no doubt that when the Psalmist composed this Psalm, he had in mind very ‘earthly’ oppression and affliction.
The Psalm is a celebration of God’s nature, and a commitment to live it and tell it like it is. I will praise you…
Christian Praise is a prophetic act. In the face of a world that is out of alignment, praise declares a Kingdom that is just and true. Our praise is a much a declaration of what will be as a description of what is. It’s like the ministry of Jesus: the kingdom breaking in.