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The Wonderful Works of God—Psalm 9

Thursday, October 28, 2010, 19:03
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The Wonderful Works of God

November 7, 2010

Lesson: Psalm 9

Key Verse: Psalm 9:1

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Introduction

David’s song should be the sung or shouted out by the faithful congregations of whom Christ Jesus is King and Head: “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works” (Psa. 9:1). From our heart, our voices will proclaim the glorious works of our God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Lord has revealed his glory in his works which are of a divine nature, which are shown in and through his people. We are to honor our Lord who has revealed himself as the Supreme Creator, Savior, and Governor who sustains guides us in all areas of our lives. “David’s language,” writes John Calvin “is an acknowledgement that he was preserved of God, not by ordinary means, but by the special power of God, which was conspicuously displayed in this matter; inasmuch as he had stretched forth his hand in a miraculous manner, and above the common and usual way.”

We look to heaven for a bolt of lightning, some supernatural phenomenon that will wipe away the enemy or clear up our weary eyes, that we may say, “Look and see what the Lord has done!” Our Lord speaks in kindly whispers, with healing in His wings and mercy in his love. With a still small voice he commands the heavens and provides for the salvation of his people. Everything that God does, he does according to who he is; there is no change in his being or in his purposes. The Lord speaks to us daily in his marvelous Creation, giving us understanding through his wonderful Word, written; and by his Son in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells.

Sarah “laughed” saying, “Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?” The Lord’s reply was, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen. 18:13–14). The Spirit uses the same word that he used in Psalm 9:1; nothing is to ‘hard’ or ‘marvelous’ for the Lord! When Moses was appointed as a deliverer of his people, the Lord declared, “And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go” (Ex. 3:20). It is the Lord’s ‘wonders,’ His marvelous works, that are always active as He providentially cares for us. When we look for some spectacular bolt from heaven to give us hope, we miss the glorious works of the Lord that permeate our daily lives, the springs of living water that fills our souls. Therefore, we “will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; (we) will show forth all thy marvelous works.”

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His Marvelous Works—Psalm 9:1–2/7–10

When Moses was sent to God’s people as a ‘deliverer,’ he spoke to the Lord, saying, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name?” (Ex. 3:13). By asking the question, “What is his name,” the people would be asking about the authority or character of that person. In other words, by what authority are we to listen, or is he able to accomplish what he has said he will do? Keil and Delitzsch give us this understanding that by saying, “I am that I am,” God “designated himself by this name as the absolute God of the fathers, acting with unfettered liberty and self-dependence.” I AM THE LORD claims that he alone is the eternal and everlasting God. When the Lord faces the wicked of this world, he alone is the Judge, executing justice, as Scripture testifies, “Let them be confounded and troubled forever; yea, let them be put to shame and perish; that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth [incl. Nations]” (Ps. 83:17–18). Zion, or the Church, rejoices because of the righteous judgments of the Lord, “For thou, Lord, art high above the earth; thou art exalted far above all gods (authorities)” (Psalm 97:8–9). There is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved, no other water to satisfy our thirst than the wells of salvation. For “God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation” (Isa. 12:2–3).

David’s eyes are upon the Lord, his lips sing praises; but it is his heart, his whole being, that is saturated with praise. Our integrity and sincerity is revealed in our praises. Our praises reveal the truth of who God is according to his Word, that we are faithful in our witness to the Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Only when we know the marvelous works of our Savior, only when we can see with eyes of faith how he has made our hearts warm with his teaching, only when our obedience reveals the law of the Lord, will we truly be able to tell others of his marvelous works. Then we will be able to sing with David, “Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; show forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvelous works among all nations” (1 Chron. 16:23–24).

There will be much rejoicing in the heart of the Christian, of the Congregations of Christ, of Zion, as the great preaching of the Gospel is trumpeted, making disciples of all nations, to the glory of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Yea, “We will sing praises to his Name!” For he alone is able to deliver us from the darkness to his marvelous Light!

Discussion: What does it mean to us that God alone is our Authority?

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The Lord Shall Endure!—Psalm 9:7–10

The Lord alone is our Righteous Judge and Refuge, in whom we put our faith and trust. The strength of faith is confidence. The strength of belief is conviction. The strength of hope is trust. In other words, the children of God are fully persuaded that the Lord alone is their Deliverer, their Savior, as well as their Creator. He is the Sovereign Lord who shall rule righteously from his eternal throne. We have confidence that the Lord will not fail, that every word he utters will bring about its intended purpose. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3). The ‘worlds’—everything that exists in time and space—was established; his work was finished, complete. They were ‘framed,’ created as he so planned and purposed, organized and providentially cares for. Therefore, we, with confidence, can say the Lord is our Refuge, our Rock, and our Security, “my God, my strength in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psa. 18:2).

Those who are oppressed in times of affliction or trouble will find a refuge, as a cliff that is inaccessible to the enemy. Matthew Henry wrote, “Perhaps God may not immediately appear for them as their deliverer and avenger; but, in the midst of their distresses, they may by faith flee to him as their refuge and may depend upon his power and promise for their safety, so that no real hurt shall be done them.” David encourages those who are in distress, that “they that know thy name will put their trust thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” As we minister to those around us, as we see the disasters that surround the people, we must show them, by our faith in Christ, that the only hope of deliverance is the King of kings, and not the government or programs of men. Our compassion flows with deeds from hearts that trust in the Lord for all things.

Discussion: What does it mean that our faith is strong?

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The Mercy of the Lord!—Psalm 9:11–15

David encourages the people of God to sing with him, to declare loudly and in truth, to sing with him to the Lord. Christians in worship forget that when they sing praises, they are singing to the Lord. What words does he hear? Are they the words that the Spirit has written upon our hearts? Is he pleased with our meager and foolish words? The joy of our Savior dwells in our souls, declaring that our God has declared his glory in Christ Jesus. God has revealed his glory in his Word. It is the Lord who teaches us and not us Him. Listen carefully to David’s words as he directs our praises to the Lord, saying that the Almighty Lord, to whom we sing praises, of him who “dwells in Zion!” He is in our midst. And David gives the content of our songs of praise, to “declare among the people His doings!”

We are to sing praises to our Lord, to declare his saving grace among the people. That grace which is sufficient in time of need. For “When (the Lord) makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them; he forgets not the cry of the humble.” The Lord diligently examines the case of those whose blood has been shed; specifically those who have caused the death. The Lord remembers and marks them well in his mind, for he loves his own, and will not forget those who are meek before him, those who bow their hearts before him. The blessed ‘Meek’ are those who cry out, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death.” What a wonderful picture of the people of God who bow down in humility before their Savior, and the Almighty Lord who bows down with hands of grace. In humility, we bow before our Lord, in mercy, unconditional kindness, our Lord reaches into our souls that we may prevail on this earth. With care, the Great Shepherd cares for His own sheep: “Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day” (Ezekiel 34:11–12).

There are those who are murderously being persecuted in many places of this world. The Christian finds all kinds of tribulation and hatred from those who hate the Lord. We must learn to “cry out;” to be earnest in our prayers for deliverance from evil. Calvin wrote, “Express mention is made of crying, to encourage all who desire to experience God as their deliverer and protector, to direct their wishes, groanings, and prayers to him.”

Discussion: What does it mean to receive the mercy of the Lord?

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Arise, O Lord!—Psalm 9:16–20

How is our Lord known? He is known by the judgment that he executes. His justice is true and righteous. The wicked stand before him and their transgressions are revealed. They receive that which they deserve. For by their own hands will they be condemned. John Calvin understands God’s acts of judgment as an eye-opener to strengthen our faith: “If God, therefore, in this way manifestly display, at any time, the power of his hand, let us learn to open our eyes, that from the judgments which he executes upon the enemies of his Church our faith may be confirmed more and more.” God is our righteous Judge. We are, however, judged in Christ Jesus who satisfied the Father’s justice by receiving what we deserved, eternal punishment for our transgressions and guilt. Because of the righteous judgment of the Lord, the wicked “shall turn into hell.” Hell is the place of eternal punishment. Mathew Henry wrote that the “depths of Satan are depths of hell; and sin, without remorse, is ruin, ruin without remedy. Solomon shows the hook; those that believe him, will not meddle with the bait. Behold the wretched, empty, unsatisfying, deceitful, and stolen pleasure sin proposes; and may our souls be so desirous of the everlasting enjoyment of Christ, that on earth we may live to him, daily, by faith, and ere long be with him in glory.” The deeds of the wicked are like “stolen waters which are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” (Prov. 9:17–18).

David cries out, “Arise, O Lord!” For man must not prevail, and will not prevail before the Lord. The nations of this world are under the rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords. David’s prayer should well be ours today, “Put [the wicked] in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.” Men brazenly set themselves as the authority over others, when their office, whether king or senator, mayor or elder, are positions of ministry under the Lord. They foolishly think that by teaching evolution they can rid their responsibility to their Creator. Arise, O Lord! Let their souls fear and bow down before Thee. Let them know their transgressions. For, Thou shalt have no other gods before Thee. Then, with our repentance also, may Thy righteousness exalt the nation, and bring glory to your NAME!

Discussion: In what ways are we able to glorify the name of our Lord?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2010 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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