Wicked are judged, Psalm 9

If world events discourage you or other people attack you or personal problems oppress you, read Psalm 9.

David writes this psalm as if God has already judged the wicked and put an end to evil. He begins by wholeheartedly thanking God and declaring his goodness:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
    they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
    you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
    you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
    their cities you rooted out;
    the very memory of them has perished (Psalm 9:1-6, ESV).

Notice all the “haves” in this first section of the psalm? David views God’s deliverance as something already accomplished. The nations, the enemy, and the cities are gone. Those who are evil on national, personal, and civic levels have been so completely destroyed that even the very memory of them has perished. In contrast, God has upheld the just cause of the righteous.

The Lord’s eternal throne of justice has been established forever. He never forsakes those who take refuge in him: 

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:7-10, ESV).

God is the believer’s sure stronghold and the world’s righteous judge. He delivers those who trust in him, but they must respond to that deliverance appropriately:

Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
    Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
    he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O Lord!
    See my affliction from those who hate me,
    O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
    that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
    I may rejoice in your salvation (Psalm 9:11-14, ESV).

God does not forget the cry of the afflicted. When he delivers us, we literally ought to sing his praises and tell his deeds among the peoples. We should recount God’s praises and rejoice in his salvation in corporate worship as well as in the public square.

In verses 15 and 16, David reiterates the accomplished character of God’s deliverance: 

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
    in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
    the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

David uses the past tense to describe God’s actions. Then he moves to present tense by writing that the wicked “are snared” in their own work. God’s deliverance is sure. He has performed it in the past, he does it today, and he will surely deliver his people in the future:

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
    all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever (Psalm 9:17-18, ESV).

Nations forget God, but he will not forget to judge them. Believers may sometimes feel forgotten, but God never forgets those who need him.

Verses 19 and 20 conclude the psalm with a rousing cry for God’s judgment:

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
    let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O Lord!
    Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

God sees the nations that defy him. He knows the people who oppose him. No ungodly nation, city, or person will escape God’s judgment, just as no godly person will perish eternally. God is enthroned over all the earth. He brings down the wicked, but he preserves his people.

May God uphold your righteous cause today and encourage you with hope of his deliverance!

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