“When JB Phillips worked on a paraphrase of the New Testament, he described the experience as similar to working on the electricity of a house – with the mains switched on! The book was ‘live’.” (SU notes: JB Phillips Ring of Truth Hodder and Stoughton 1967)
Certainly over my life I have experienced this truth seeing God use his word powerfully to create change in my life and the lives of others. And I feel the same way, as I consider each of the psalms. Nothing boring about this book of prayer in poetry form, and the next two psalms are again full of ‘power surges’ as David talks to God about his and the nation’s situation. Are you ready?
But, first of all, why deal with Psalms 9 and 10 together?
Well, there are a number of reasons, not the least being that in some versions of the Bible, the Greek and Latin versions, these psalms are combined as one Psalm. And so, we ask, why is that the case? Well, let me allow someone far better qualified that I to explain.
Kidner says, “The absence of a title to Psalm 10 supports the view that it runs on from Psalm 9, and this is strengthened by the presence of a fragmentary acrostic [when the first letter of every second verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet], begun in Psalm 9 and concluded in Psalm 10.”
He then continues: “But the mood is so changed in Psalm 10:1 as to leave the impression that these are in fact two psalms, written as companion pieces to complement one another, concerned as they are with twin realities of a fallen world; the certain triumph of God, and the present, if short-lived, triumphing of the wicked.” (see references # 29)
Wilcock describes these psalms as a “fascinating two-part poem.” (see references # 5 )
If we think about types of psalms, then these two psalms appear to combine a number of them all in one (or two).
Let’s start at what is always a good place to begin when we pray, and that is praise and thanksgiving. David prays:
“Lord, I will worship you with extended hands As my whole heart explodes with praise! I will tell everyone everywhere about your wonderful works And how your marvellous miracles exceed expectations! I will jump for joy and shout in triumph As I sing your song and make music for the Most High God.” (9:1-3 TPT)
If we had not yet read what follows in this psalm and particularly the next psalm, one could get the impression that life is pretty rosy for David. A king living in luxury and peace? Not a care in the world. Hardly! The next verse introduces the reality: “my enemies” (9:3) which he elaborates on as we continue reading.
David here does what any person of faith in God should do in “times of trouble” (9:9). David reveals what makes the difference between the person whose faith shines even in difficult times and the person who drowns in misery, looking for external causes and often eventually blaming others. Instead of such a self- defeating exercise, here we can learn from David as he remembers all he knows that is good about God and everything else about God and his ways that gives him hope even if all around him seems lost.
Later in the psalm he acknowledges the truth that:
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgement. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (9:7-10 NIV)
I am often amazed at the faith of some of the OT characters, e.g. Abraham, Joseph, Jeremiah, and not the least David. Not perfect, but their faith was often strong in the midst of incredible difficulty and opposition. And all this prior to the coming of Jesus with all the marvellous revelations that this brings concerning the character and wonderful works of God. Since the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus we now know so much more about what God is like, and so, in one sense, knowing what we know, we have no excuse not to trust him, no matter what the situation of our life is.
Paul puts it like this in Romans 8:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us … 31 If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things … 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“I will worship you with extended hands As my whole heart explodes with praise!”
Your word is indeed alive and powerful as the Holy Spirit reveals the Son to us and changes us into the people of God you desire us to be. Continue to keep our hearts open to all that you want to say and give us the strength to walk in the ways you show us, giving praise and thanks to you, whatever the situation. Amen.