Yesterday we looked at the first thing for which David praises the Lord in this psalm. Today we consider the other two.
2. The working out of justice and right judgment on earth (vv. 7, 8). As the chief executive officer and judge of Israel, David was responsible for seeing that justice was done in civil matters. Therefore, it is appropriate that he should praise God for having established the divine throne for judgment and for ruling justly.
The tone of Psalm 9 is set by the first two verses, which declare David's intention of praising God verbally, with words and in song, and with his whole heart. This exuberant note of praise begins and ends the psalm's first section (vv. 1-12). Right here we need to stop and apply David's example to ourselves, for it is often the case that we do neither of these things.
Before we begin a careful study of this first praise hymn, there is a technical problem that we need to look at, involving this psalm and Psalm 10, which follows it. It arises from the fact that in some versions of the Bible, Psalm 9 and Psalm 10 are printed together as one psalm. Is that right? Does Psalm 9 belong with Psalm 10? Were they originally one? Should they be put back together as one psalm? Or should they be kept separate?
If you were to ask any normal churchgoing person to define a psalm, I suppose that what he or she would most naturally compare it to is a hymn. A prayer perhaps, but chiefly a hymn in which David or one of the other authors of the psalms praises God. And the person would be right! For more than anything else, the psalms in our Bibles are praise hymns.
In seeing Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity in taking the glory for himself that should have gone to God, I have noticed that this is precisely the way our society increasingly regards itself. Western society has lost sight of God. It no longer sees man as a creature made in God's image, whose chief end is "to glorify God and enjoy him forever." It has eliminated God from its collective conscience. Then, because it no longer looks to God to derive its sense of identify and worth from him, it looks in the only other direction it can look. It looks downward to the beasts and derives its identity from the animal kingdom.
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