Psalm 12 Commentary

Turn to Psalm 12.

Psalm 12 Commentary: Genre

Psalm 12 is a lament psalm. The author – David – is wrestling with an issue in his mind and he works through it for all of us to see and learn from his example.

Psalm 12 Commentary: Theme

The issue that David is struggling with is in the last line of the last verse of Psalm 12. “When the Vilest Men are Exalted.”

Psalm 12 Commentary: Application to Us

Do you feel like you’re living in a day and age when the vilest men are exalted? You don’t have to look hard to find this happening all around us.

Most of us – when we turn on the radio – we just for our own conscience sake need to stay right around the top and bottom of the FM spectrum – if you know what I mean. And if you ever stray from about 107.7 to 91.7 or so, you’ll hear “the vilest men” and the vilest material they can produce – exalted in your ears.

And of course you don’t even need to be listening to the radio to be treated to this kind of thing. Stores and restaurants have this stuff playing loud enough for everyone to hear it.

And of course, the MUSIC is bad enough. But the VIDEOS and PERFORMANCES of this stuff is even worse. And it’s thankfully been a long time since I watched one of these music award ceremonies, but I do read the news and I’m generally aware of the kinds of things that happen at these events. And you don’t need me to tell you that the performances, the clothing, the messages being communicated in all sorts of ways demonstrate for all to see a “base character,” or “morally foolish behavior.” And that’s actually the definition of VILE here in this psalm.

And when a culture gets together to award the best, most talented, most promising performers known to that culture… and this is what they come up with? You know that that culture is in trouble. It’s EXALTING – in that sense – the vilest men.

And we could review example after example of this kind of “base character” or “morally foolish behavior” at work in our society – and how our culture exalts this kind of thing and these kinds of people. We have a limitless selection of entertainers, politicians, and sports figures to choose from.

And you might assume that the examples that I would pick would all deal with modern godless entertainers or even politicians with whose policies I don’t agree.

But actually, the other example of people with “morally foolish characters” being exalted in our country is a CONSERVATIVE politician. I was in South Carolina when Mark Sanford was governor there. I don’t know if any of you remember hearing about him and his activities. But he’s the one who told people that he was going for a hike in the mountains. But when he didn’t return when he was supposed to, there started to develop a buzz about where he could be. Is he OK? Maybe he died!

Well, it turned out that Governor Sanford was out of the country in Argentina being immoral and unfaithful to his wife with another woman. And the ensuing actions and statements of Governor Sanford didn’t evidence any signs of genuine repentance. He spoke of this mistress of his as his “soulmate”. It was shameful. It was morally foolish. It was… vile. And yet this man occupied the highest position in the state government of one of the most conservative and supposedly Bible-literate states in our nation.

When I was preparing this message, I kind of remembered that he may have run for some other office a few years ago after the scandal. So, I did a search and found that the guy is now not just a Governor anymore. He’s actually a US Representative for the state of South Carolina! He’s gone national! And I have to believe that that kind of position involves some sort of “exaltation” of the people which he governs.

So, my point is that this vileness – this base character and morally foolish behavior – it’s not often punished these days. It’s not even JUST tolerated sometimes. But often, this kind of behavior and these kinds of people are actually held up as ones to emulate. They’re EXALTED.

But before we despair, let’s recall that this is nothing new to our time. David experienced it too. And he dealt with it in his mind. And his dealings with this issue are recorded in Psalm 12. So, let’s find out how HE wrestled with the vilest men being exalted.

Psalm 12 Commentary: Invocation

David starts Psalm 12 by invoking the Lord. He says, “Help, Lord”. He cries out to the Lord.

And when he asks the Lord to “help” him, he’s using the word yashang – or “Save”, Lord! Save me! Deliver me! Come to my aid!

And I’ll just remind us that this is the exact correct reaction that we need to have when we’re struggling with the fact that the vilest men are being exalted in our society.

The answer is not political action. But as the Lord leads we should be as involved in political action as is warranted. And yet, it’s not laws that will deliver you and me and make things right. It’s the Lord. HE needs to save and deliver and come to our aid.

Neither is the answer to HIDE from the issue. No, we need to SEEK the Lord for deliverance and help. Don’t just pretend like everything is fine. Don’t be content to let the society around you continue to exalt the vilest men. Say, “HELP LORD!”

Psalm 12 Commentary: Lament

Because the damage done to a society when the vilest men are exalted is not just theoretical. There are real consequences to this kind of thing going unchecked in a nation. Look at the rest of verse 1.

KJV Psalm 12:1 …for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

Here, David begins to give his lament – the thing that is really bothering him – the thing he needs to work through in his heart with the Lord’s help.

David gives two reasons that he needs God’s deliverance and help. First, the godly man ceases.

The word for “godly” there is related to the term “Chassidic” like the Chassidic Jews of today. The Chassidim are viewed today as kind of the most religious people in Judaism – at least THEY think they are.

I remember seeing these guys when I was flying to Israel from New York. They wear special clothing that their tradition tells them to wear. They don’t cut the hair on the side of their faces because one of their rabbis thought that this was commanded in the Torah – the books of Moses. They were up at a certain time in the morning, putting on their prayer shawls and prayer boxes with great care – walking around the plane chanting their prayers – because they believe that’s what’s expected of them. One of them demanded to be moved because he was sitting next to a woman that was slightly immodestly dressed. I mean, these guys are GODLY! Except, their godliness is man-made. It’s the kind of zeal that Paul the Apostle speaks of. These people have a zeal for the law, but not according to knowledge. It’s misinformed – their godliness is.

But David is speaking of those who are TRULY godly. Truly Chassidic, if I can say that. According to knowledge. And these kind of men – the godly ones – are CEASING in David’s time. As the vilest men are exalted, these guys tend to be less and less present – or at the very least – less visible. They’re marginalized.

And that makes sense. A culture will get what it displays to everyone as its highest ideals. If righteousness is exalted in the eyes of a nation, it’ll typically encourage more righteousness from its citizens. And the same is true for a society that exalts vileness. It will encourage more of that type of behavior.

Do you see that happening in your OWN society? There was a time not too long ago where many states had blue laws. Some still might, I don’t know. But these blue laws would prohibit working on Sunday. When a society codifies its approval that EVERYONE spend one day a week worshipping God, do you think that that would have an effect on that society? I think so. Generally, a society gets what it values.

So David is distressed because the godly cease as the vilest of men are exalted. David follows that up with the statement – “the faithful fail among the children of men”. This is Hebrew parallelism and it’s saying just about the same thing as his first statement. But David is adding a little more to his original thought.

That word “faithful” is from the Hebrew word “Amen”. It means “true” or “reliable”. And this word is one of those words that made the journey from Hebrew to Greek and now to English. It’s like “Hallelujah” in that sense. It means the same thing in a number of different languages. By the way, that’s the significance of people saying “Amen” when someone is preaching. You’re saying – in effect – “that’s RIGHT.” “What you’re saying is reliable!” Amen?

Well, these reliable, true folks tend to FAIL – or, really, DISAPPEAR – when the vilest men are exalted.

And from where are these folks disappearing? The text says that they’re disappearing from among “the children of men”. You’re going to get sick of me pointing this out, but this phrase in Hebrew reads “the sons of Adam”. Again, this phrase represents a designation for MORTALS. Men in general who will die one day because of their mortality. They’re descended from Adam. And they’re mortal and prone to sin and cursed by the fall, just like their father, Adam. You could say that they’re the “general population.” And so this general population starts conspicuously lacking godly and faithful men when their society exalts the vilest men.

And this phenomenon is very concerning to David. And so he cries out to the Lord about it.

Psalm 12 Commentary: The Vilest of Men

Now, David moves in verses 2 through 4 to expose what this group of mortals is like. As they’re exalting vileness among them and the godly are being reduced in number and in power, what is this group known as the “sons of Adam” engaged in? David draws attention in particular to what their mouths are up to – or their SPEECH or VERABL acts. Let’s re-read verses 2 through 4 to find out.

KJV Psalm 12:2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

In verse two we have a particular word mentioned twice. “They SPEAK…” at the beginning of the verse. And then the last word of verse 2 – “they SPEAK”. Well, how does a society that has marginalized godly men and has exalted the vilest men – what is their speech like? What can we expect it to be like?

Verse 2 – they speak vanity every one with his neighbour.

They speak vanity. When we hear that we probably think of something worthless. Something better left unspoken. But this word can also refer to DECEPTION. And I think that emphasis is warranted in this verse because of the parallel in the next line that says these men speak with a double heart – that is, DISHONESTLY. So, these men adopt the practice of deception and dishonesty in this kind of climate.

And they do this with their NEIGHBORS. Their comrades, fellows, companions, or friends. They lie – not to their ENEMIES in this kind of society that exalts vileness – no, they lie to even their FRIENDS.

And they do all of this with FLATTERING lips. That word for “flattering” is literally SMOOTH. Slippery. It’s intended to trip you up. So that you fall and injure yourself. And that’s the intention of these men. They WANT to injure their fellow-man with falsehood and flattery.

And as our Lord Jesus said – the mouth speaks from the abundance of what’s in one’s heart. And how are the hearts of these guys pictured in verse 2? They have a double heart. That doesn’t mean that they have a big heart in the sense that they’re kind or generous, of course. In Hebrew, it’s literally “by a heart and a heart they speak.” When you’re talking to them, they portray their HEART – their desires, their intentions, their thoughts, and feelings – one way. But really, it’s as if there’s this whole other “heart” in them that they keep hidden. And it’s full of violence and evil intentions. No one wants to look as bad as they truly are. These men are EVIL – not STUPID. They know how to hide their true self and put forward an exterior that will allow for them to deceive, as we’ve been reading about in this Psalm.

Now, verse 3 is interesting. It almost seems like an extension of David’s lament – because David keeps complaining about this society around him that’s exalting vileness. But there’s actually a petition in here.

Look at verse 3. David seems to confidently assert that “the Lord shall cut off all flattering lips.” But there’s a tense in Hebrew known as Jussive. And it serves as something like a request or prayer. But it looks just like the tense that results in our English indicative here – just a statement, not a request. I read one source that was very adamant that this was a Jussive form – or a prayer or request. And since this is a lament psalm AND one of the elements of such a psalm is a petition section AND since I see nowhere else that could count as such an element, I think it’s best to take this as a request. In other words “may the Lord cut off all flattering lips.”

Remember? Those flattering lips or smooth lips that the sons of Adam intend to use to injure their neighbors? Yes – those ones! May they be CUT off! We don’t need to wonder about David’s heart about the deceitful speech of these men. And we don’t need to wonder how God feels about it either. We know that lying is an abomination to God. We know that one of the sins listed conspicuously as one that characterizes those who will suffer eternal torment is this sin of lying.

And not only the lips of these individuals, but also their tongues. May they be cut off so as to be silenced – never to deceive again. Never to – as the end of the verse says – speak PROUD THINGS.

Well, what kind of proud things are these men who exalt vileness saying? Verse 4. Here’s what they’re saying. With their tongue they will prevail! Yeah, that tongue that will be cut off and silenced. They think that that tongue is going to lead them to victory and give them all the advantages they wish for in this life.

And then their pride is on full display in the next line of verse 4. They claim that their lips belong to them. And then they say this – “Who is lord over us?” That word “lord” is the Hebrew Adon. And you’ve heard of the term Adonai. It’s a word that means “my master” or “my lord”. And it’s applied to God. These men are asserting their ownership over their bodies – in particular, they’re obstinately claiming that no one has the right to curtail their lying harmful speech. “Who’s lord over us?” they say. What answer do they expect? They would answer their own question with “well, no one is, of course!”

But God doesn’t see it that way. Which is going to be a problem for this society that exalts vile men. This kind of development provokes God to act.

Psalm 12 Commentary: God Speaks

And we haven’t seen this kind of thing before in a lament psalm – where God personally speaks. I don’t know what part of the lament psalm we’d call this – maybe the confidence that David has in God? It’s in verse 5.

KJV Psalm 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

By the way, how did God’s speech make it into this psalm? Was David imagining that God would say this kind of thing? Or did David receive direct revelation from God at that moment that this was what God planned to do? Either way, it’s God’s Spirit that breathed this out through David. And so we know its God’s heart about the matter at hand.

So, God begins by giving the reason for his being provoked. Did you know that these kind of things provoke God to action? The oppressions of the poor? The sighing of the needy? And in the context I don’t think he’s speaking only of poor people – just folks here and there that happen to be poor. I think these are godly individuals who have been marginalized by their society that exalts vileness and thus oppresses the godly. Remember? This happens to the point that these kind of men “fail” and “cease”. They disappear. They’re marginalized and poor and needy.

And here in verse 5, they’re “oppressed”. This is a word describing destruction or devastation or violence. And they’re “sighing” or groaning as a result of this treatment. This is what happens to the godly and faithful in a society when vileness is exalted.

And it’s the kind of thing that rouses God to act. Notice God’s two “I will” statements. God will arise. And when he does, he’s going to set the poor and needy in a position of safety.

That word” safety” is from the same word that we see in verse 1. Where the psalmist says, “HELP, Lord.” So, David asked for help. And now God is pictured as promising to do that very thing for David and for his group of poor and needy men.

Now, the King James says that God will set these men in a place of safety from “those who puff at them”. But notice that the words “from him that” are in italics. That means, the KJV translators provided them to make sense in English. But I think it should be translated a little differently. The word “puffeth” is something like blow or breathe or speak. It has something to do with the mouth and something coming out of it. Another version translates this word as “pant”. Like, the needy are PANTING for safety – they want it so badly. And God is going to mobilize and grant them that safety that they so desperately want.

Psalm 12 Commentary: Praising God’s Word

Now, we’ve been hearing a lot about words and speech in this psalm so far. The sons of Adam who are exalting vileness have been speaking. And now, we’ve just heard from God. And there could hardly be more difference between the two sets of words. The sons of Adam speak boastfully and sinfully and rebelliously. God – on the other hand — speaks truthfully and authoritatively. That’s what leads David to marvel at and praise God’s words in verse 6.

KJV Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

What a contrast to the evil, boastful, false words of the sons of Adam. God’s words are pure. All of them are – of course. But in the context of this psalm – God’s statement in verse 5 that he will arise and put the needy in a place of safety – these are the words that the psalmist declares to be particularly pure in this verse. God’s words are like metal that’s put through exceedingly hot fire and it comes out without a defect.

Psalm 12 Commentary: God Protects His Own

And because God’s words are pure, the needy who are marginalized and oppressed when a society exalts vileness – they can be sure of God’s protection. Let’s read verse 7.

KJV Psalm 12:7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Well, what or whom is God keeping or watching or guarding in this verse? Is the psalmist declaring that God will keep his words OR that God will keep the poor and needy? Well, there’s no doubt that God keeps his words – that was stated in verse 6. But the pronoun “THEM” in this verse is actually referring to the poor and needy back in verse 5.

Grammatically, this is because the grammatical gender and number of the word translated “them” here matches the grammatical gender and number of the words translated “poor” and “needy” back in verse 5. But, the word “WORDS” in verse 6 has a different grammatical gender.

So, David is expressing his confidence that God will keep or watch or guard or observe his poor, needy, oppressed people even in the midst of a society that marginalizes them and exalts vileness. God will protect his people literally “FROM THIS GENERATION TO FOREVER.”

The psalm ends on a rather dreary note – you might think. But that’s only if you ignore the rest of this entire message! The wicked walk around all over the place with no fear when their society exalts what they love the most – vileness and the vilest men. Yes, that’s true. And may the Lord rid our society and every society of this kind of infatuation with vileness. May he remove it from us!

Psalm 12 Commentary: Summary

And yet, we don’t need to fear. God is provoked by our being oppressed and marginalized. He’s not at all on the side of wickedness. He will set us in the safety that we so desperately want. His words are completely trustworthy. When he says that he’s going to do this for his oppressed people, that’s exactly what he will do. He will guard his people throughout our lifetime and forever.

Do you see vileness exalted in your society today? Deal with it in your heart like David did. Call out to God about it. Express your dismay at the exalting of vileness in our society. Make your requests that it end. Express and reflect upon your confidence that God will put an end to it. Remember God’s desire to stop the exalting of vileness in a society. And remember that his word is always right and pure — and because of that we can be sure that he’ll protect his people even in the midst of a society that exalts vileness. This is what we should do when “The Vilest Men Are Exalted.”

Psalm 11 3 Commentary

You might think that the report in Psalm 11 1-3 couldn’t get much worse. But it does. It ends on this cheerful note – “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Hopelessness. That’s what this report to David is aiming to achieve in the hearts of the upright. Foundations are the part of a building that support its weight. They’re what hold the building up.

Nowadays if you own a home and you discover a cracked foundation or a foundation that’s in some other way faulty, you need to fix it – NOW. You’ll spend thousands of dollars fixing it, but it’s worth it if you end up not loosing your hundred-thousand dollar home.

But this report isn’t talking about cracked foundations or shifting foundations. It’s claiming that the foundation of Israeli society is – what’s the word? Destroyed! Torn down! They’re no more.

And any of us who own a home – can you imagine this? Your foundation just completely crumbles up and disintegrates. What do you do then? Well, you get on the phone with your home-owners insurance agent!

But the outlook is not as positive in this psalm. This report that David’s hearing is giving no hope to the righteous when the society around them is crumbling – indeed, HAS crumbled. The bland statement – “what can the righteous do?” is anticipating a broken-spirited… “nothing” from the righteous.

My wife and I were discussing this psalm one night. And I just reflected on how this kind of report sounds a lot like the news today. I mean, can you imagine a newscast like this – “In other news, Christians are fleeing like birds back into their religious communities. Atheists are plotting their demise. There’s really nothing the Christians can do to stop this. Back to you, Frank!”

My point with that fake news segment is that it’s not just David that was receiving discouraging reports back in his day. We do too.

In our culture, broadly, we have in this country a mass defection from any sort of Scriptural norms. Homosexuality is pushed as the new norm. And if you’re not willing to comply with this new norm, more and more, you face the threat of being punished. There are certainly other issues out there, but this is the one that the world is taking to the righteous. How should we react? And not just how should we react to homosexuality – but how should we react to anything you and I are called out on in the public square – or at work – or even among your extended family? Any area in which we’re challenged to defend our biblical convictions?

We could do exactly what this report to David urged on him. We could flee. We could do so out of fear – those arrows are about to fly! Or we could do so out of hopelessness – the foundation are destroyed – what are you going to be able to do about it?

Psalm 11 Commentary

Psalm 11 Commentary: Introduction

I’ve been a little random in my teaching through the Psalms. I started with lament psalms. Then I covered in one lesson praise psalms. And then I basically started back from Psalm 1 and since then we’ve just been marching along, psalm by psalm until now we’re in the 11th Psalm today. My plan for now is to keep dealing with each psalm sequentially until… who knows when?

Psalm 11 Commentary: Hard Jobs

Now, let me ask us all a question. In today’s society – the society you live in and that is all around you – the one you hear and read reported to you on the news – are there some jobs you’d like to avoid right now?

I mean, do you think there’s a lot of encouragement that you’d get from our mainstream culture to be a Christian politician these days? Answering slanted questions about the age of the earth while that isn’t at all what you’ve been hired to discuss?

How about being a Christian caterer – maybe in Indiana? Do you think you might run into some difficulties in that kind of position in the environment in which we live?

Or what about going into the line of duty as a police officer? Imagine the scrutiny and constant danger. Imagine – if you make one mistake – you might be dead OR you might end up on the evening news for making the wrong move. And you’re not going to get much sympathy, either way.

I think that FEAR might serve as a mighty strong deterrent for many who would want to enter any of these vocations these days. The FEAR of persecution. The FEAR of what people might think. The FEAR of being misunderstood. The FEAR of being forced to do something your conscience simply will not allow you to do. The FEAR of even imprisonment if you make the wrong move.

And I’m not at all trying to absolve the wrongdoings of anyone in any of these groups that I’ve mentioned. I’m simply saying that there are many reasons for even a Christian who wants to do right to FEAR entering these vocations.

Can I add to that list of careers PASTORING? As a pastor you open yourself up to all sorts of attacks. Attacks from outside – from a culture that is increasingly hostile to the message of the Gospel and to what for centuries would be considered normal Christian living. Attacks from inside – from people you’ve served, with whom you’ve wept, for whom you’ve prayed. And they can turn and attack you. What’s the use? Why bother? Why try to serve the Lord and others? It’s so much work – so much risk – so little thanks.

David experienced these kinds of thoughts in Psalm 11. In fact, these thoughts were apparently being put into his head by someone else – not himself. Look at verse 1. He states that he puts his trust in the Lord and then turns around to this unnamed man and asks him “how say ye to my soul…”? David is having someone plant seeds of doubt into his heart regarding the worthiness of continuing to serve the Lord with boldness. He’s being faced with a choice. FLEE from trouble or FACE it with the Lord’s help.

Do you think that being a Christian baker or police officer would be fraught with difficulties these days? What about being the king of Israel? David faced hardship in his task. And he had to let his faith in the Lord overcome his fear of the wicked.

So, we’ll explore Psalm 11 now and I think we’ll be encouraged with David’s resolve, which we could summarize in this statement. “Let Your Trust in the Lord Remove Your Fear of Evil.” So, let’s read Psalm 11.

 

Psalm 11 Commentary: Genre

Psalm 11 is a reflective or meditative psalm. And the psalmist begins his meditation in verse 1. “In the LORD put I my trust.” Numerous passages of Scripture portray the Lord and what he provides to his people as something like shade that a large tree would provide from the blazing Middle Eastern sun. Or the Lord’s pictured as a large rock that juts out here and there and provides shelter from rain and inclement weather. Further still, throughout the Bible, God is imagined as a fortress. A place to which one may go to flee from enemies.

And this is what the psalmist states he does with the Lord. David makes the Lord his shady tree or his covering rock or his strong fortress. He flees to him for protection. He flees to him for comfort. And he finds the Lord to be as strong and immovable and safe as any tree or boulder or fortress ever could be.

How many times have you fled to the Lord? How many times have you sought refuge and protection from him? And you’ve found it – haven’t you? You’ve experienced his comfort. You’ve experienced his protection – spiritually and even physically. You know what David’s talking about here.

Well then, if that’s the case, if you’ve fled to the Lord and are continually doing so – then, you’ve likely also experienced what David experiences in verses 1 through 3. Let’s read those again.

KJV Psalm 11:1 … how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Psalm 11 Commentary: Discouraging Report

David addresses an unseen and unknown person. At least the person is unseen and unknown to us. David would have been able to identify him. Was it one of David’s enemies? Was it one of his advisers who was becoming faithless? Was it the general talk around the nation in David’s day? I don’t know. And it’s not important. The identity of this person is not important. It’s what he says to David that is important.

This report first of all advises David to flee like a bird to his mountain. This is a picture of pathetic retreat. When you think of courage, do you think of a fleeing bird? A bird that’s running away from some danger – is that the picture we get in our mind when we think of courage? No, of course not. But that’s just what this report advises David – to flee like a bird.

And where is David to flee to, according to this report? To his mountain. I imagine that this is a reference to Jerusalem or especially the Temple Mount next to which was Zion. Run away to your cloistered religious area – in other words. Run away to your mountain.

Well, why should he flee? What would cause David to flee? Verse 2 – the wicked. Those pesky wicked men. They’re up to something again.

By the way, I see the statements of this report running from the second line of verse 1 to the end of verse 3.

So, this report is still being addressed to David when he brings to his attention that “the wicked bend their bow” and that “they make ready their arrow upon the string.” They’re “bending” their bow in the sense that they’re treading it or putting their foot on it in order to bend it so that they can attach their string from one end of it to the other. And when they do that, what inevitably follows is that they put the arrow on that string. So you’ve got a strung bow with an arrow on that string. What happens next?

Well, why are the wicked getting their bow and arrow ready? “That they may privly shoot at the upright in heart.” They “privly” shoot. Literally, they shoot “in darkness”.

And what is more frightening than the darkness? I tell you, when we travel from Watertown to Whitewater and its light outside, there’s hardly a more beautiful trip. The landscape is beautiful. The drive is pleasant. The road is nice and paved. We can see wildlife – big birds. We see crops growing in their seasons and being reaped during harvest time. Big farm equipment. Just lovely.

Then there’s night time. And I tell you, it can get pretty harrowing. Every little thing that flies across the road becomes a deer in my mind! My eyes are constantly darting back and forth to make sure nothing is lurking on the sides of the road, ready to spring out and hit our car. How did my fun pleasant drive turn into sheer terror? It’s the darkness.

The darkness hides things that otherwise could be spotted beforehand and avoided. But menacing things can hide in the dark. Frightening things. Dangerous things.

And in David’s case, this report is telling him that the wicked are looking to kill people. And they’re doing it under the cover of “darkness”. Isn’t this report proving to be an encouragement to David? “David – you better run away from these murderous and hiding men!” This message was certainly intended to discourage David.

And these wicked individuals aren’t indiscriminately attacking just any one. They’re trying to destroy the “upright in heart”. The “straight” in heart. Those whose morals and affections are correct. These are the people being targeted – according to this report to David. And David would have been in this group – the upright in heart.

As if this report could get any worse, it ends in Psalm 11:3 on this cheerful note – “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” See our Psalm 11 3 Commentary for more discussion on this particular verse.

Psalm 11 Commentary: David’s Response

So, we could flee from difficulties. Or you and I could learn a lesson from David in Psalm 11. How does he respond to the report of the threat of wicked people around him?

Look at verse 4.

KJV Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven:…

Psalm 11 Commentary: God’s Position

David reminds himself of the Lord’s position. Do you remind yourself of that? When you read the news or hear of troubling realities in this world, do you remind yourself of God’s lofty position of sovereignty?

Look at verse 4 again. The Lord is in his holy temple. The word TEMPLE can be translated as PALACE. And based on the mention in the next line about his THRONE, I think that’s probably a better translation. So, the Lord is in his holy palace. He’s reigning as a king. And he’s no ordinary king. His palace is HOLY or completely unique – different and special and set apart from any kingdom on earth. But, what makes his palace so special, so unique, so holy?

Next line of verse 4 – his throne – the place from where he’s pictured as laying down the law and adjudicating – it’s not on earth. It’s not earthly. It’s above all. Its unapproachable and unassailable. You can’t attack a palace and throne that are somewhere you can’t even get to. The wicked have their target on the earth – the righteous. But no matter what happens to his subjects, the Lord our King will never be defeated. People can rebel against him – and they do all the time. But they’ll never truly defeat him. He’s in charge. He’s sovereign. No one can touch him.

So, that’s the Lord’s position. And David reminds himself of that truth in order to think and respond correctly to this discouraging report of rampant, life-threatening wickedness.

Psalm 11 Commentary: God’s Actions

And now that David has established in his mind God’s lofty exalted sovereign POSITION, he’s going to also remind himself of the Lord’s PRESENT ACTIONS in verses 4 through 6.

KJV Psalm 11:4 …his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

The Lord is watching. Wouldn’t that reality strike fear into your heart if you were actively opposed to the Lord? And he’s not just watching – like someone who just blankly stares out into space. No, the Lord is also doing some mental work as he looks – as it were – at the children of men or the sons of Adam. He’s trying all these mortals – all these men who will ultimately die – he’s trying us. To TRY speaks of testing or assaying. He’s examining each weak mortal as if he were testing metal. Zec 13:9 uses this term to refer to refining silver or purifying gold. And even if you haven’t done it yourself, you know that refining metals involves intense heat. And that heat melts away the impurities in that metal and leaves the metal more pure and strong and valuable.

Now, the Lord is pictured as doing this kind of thing to two groups of people.

Psalm 11 Commentary: The Righteous

Verse 5 – the Lord specifies that he does does this kind of thing to the RIGHTEOUS. He purifies the righteous. He tests or tries them in that way. Do you know how he does this? Well, in any number of ways. But in the context of this psalm, one way that the Lord tries the righteous to check our genuineness and to increase our purity is by allowing us to hear and experience discouraging dynamics as were reported to David earlier in this psalm. When faith in the God of the Bible and in his Son is seen as en vogue and popular and widely acceptable – then what does it cost anyone to enter a church building like this? To identify in the workplace and in the public square as someone who wholly embraces the faith once for all delivered to the saints? How hard is that? Not hard at all. There’s no shame to it. But now, when you have discouraging reports to the effect that your life or livelihood could very well be in danger if you continue to follow the Lord. If you’re seeing all around you indications that the very foundations of society are crumbling around you – and you’re all of a sudden finding yourself in a different world than a few decades ago – and all of a sudden you’re not in the in-group, well, that’ll refine you, won’t it? If it might cost you your life to be a Christian, that can have two effects on the church.

First, less people just seeking health and wealth and a good time and social prestige will all of a sudden stop showing up. The stuff that wasn’t silver or gold to begin with will just stop coming. They will be tested in that way and found to be not genuine.

The second affect will be to cause you and me to cling to Christ. To draw nearer to him than ever before. To abandon sin and any weight that so easily besets us. This happens when the Lord tries the righteous.

Psalm 11 Commentary: The Wicked

But the Lord doesn’t try ONLY the righteous. Remember – he was already viewed as testing both the righteous and the wicked – the sons of Adam – fleshly beings – Adam’s race. The Lord purges and purifies his own. But what about those who rebel against him? End of verse 5. The wicked – the ones who just love violence – especially the kind of which the righteous is the target – those kinds of people God hates.

Does that shock you? Does it make you draw back? Do you wonder if HATE means something different than what it really means? Well, it doesn’t. It means exactly what it says. God hates those who are violent against his people. Please don’t be offended by that. It’s the truth and it’s meant to COMFORT you. Remember? That’s what David is doing right now. He’s reminding himself of some truths that will help him cope with this discouraging report he’s heard. Don’t let the fact that God hates those who hate you be troubling. Let it encourage you.

And how does this hatred manifest itself on your enemies – YOUR enemies – the ones who hate you and your God? The Lord will rain some pretty awful things down upon these men. Now take note – THE LORD will rain down these things. You and I won’t. We’re not authorized to do so – especially not in the Church age – but we’re in the Old Testament here. And David isn’t even thinking of taking this kind of retribution into his own hands. He’s confident that GOD will avenge him and his group of righteous men.

OK, so the Lord will rain down some things upon the wicked. Rain them down as if they were actual drops of water from heaven. This is the picture. They won’t be able to escape these things. Well, what are they?

Snares or traps. The wicked are viewed in the Psalms as constantly setting traps for the righteous to catch them and kill them. And that was part of the discouraging report in this psalm. The wicked are going to shoot from the dark at the righteous. It’s a trap. Well, the Lord will return that kind of activity on themselves. See how THEY like it.

The Lord will also rain down fire and brimstone. That’s right – we’re preaching fire and brimstone here! And we needn’t apologize for that. Brimstone is sulfur. And it’s fire and brimstone that the Lord literally physically rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah for their many horrendous sins to serve as an example for those who would live ungodly lives thereafter. And I think it’s noteworthy – the righteous and the wicked both are pictured as experiencing fire. The fire applied to us proves our genuineness and increases our purity, strength, and value. On the other hand, the fire applied to the wicked will destroy them.

Last, the wicked are viewed as being swept away in strong winds – raging winds or this horrible tempest. If the wicked are like chaff which the wind drives away like Psalm 1 says, then this is a similar picture. They’ll be blown away, never to be seen again.

Psalm 11 Commentary: God’s Punishment

And someone might say – “But isn’t that a little harsh on the wicked?!” What’s God’s answer? End of verse 6. This punishment is the portion of their cup. It’s their portion. It’s what they deserve. It’s the thing divvied out to them, like an inheritance. They deserve to drink – to take from the imagery of the cup – God’s punishment.

And they will. They will experience this from the Lord’s hand. And so these are the thoughts that David turns to in order to think rightly about the discouraging report that he’s hearing. How could he flee from the battle? So what if the wicked are devising schemes? The Lord is in control and he’ll purge and purify the righteous through this and he will ultimately punish the wicked. You say that the foundations are crumbling? Not if its God’s building!

Psalm 11 Commentary: Ending

Then David ends his meditation in verse 7.

KJV Psalm 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

We can let our trust in the Lord remove our fear of evil because we know that the Lord is righteous. He is just. He always does right. And he’ll make things right. Evil won’t prevail ultimately. And therefore, we should not fear it.

And if you are righteous – by his grace – then you know you’re on the right side. Because the Lord is righteous and he loves righteousness. It’s not like we need to worry whether the Lord will side with evil. He never will! He’ll be on your side because you’re on his.

And then we’re assured of the last line. His countenance beholds the upright. He doesn’t turn away from the upright – from those who were said to be under assault from the wicked earlier in this psalm. He will – to borrow one of our idioms – he will “keep an eye on you”.

And the inverse is true. You and I will behold HIS face. In fact, that’s another way to translate this statement. The upright will behold his face. And you and I will see him as he is some day. That’s what’s waiting for us.

And so why fear the wicked? Why be shaken by reports that they’re out to get you? Are you fearing evil men? Are you afraid that some day they’ll rise up and even take your life? Are you feeling like the very foundations around us are crumbling? Don’t fear. Be like King David and Let Your Trust in the Lord Remove Your Fear of Evil.

Psalm 9 Commentary

Psalm 9 Commentary: Structure

Psalm 9 is a classic example of a lament psalm. As you recall, a lament psalm has five ingredients to its structure, the most prominent of which is the lament itself. The lament is where the psalmist exposes the enemies of God – who are also usually his enemies as well. The psalmist kind of zooms in on these folks and paints a pretty vivid picture for us of exactly how evil they are and how deserving of God’s punishment they are. And in addition, the heightened picture that we get of these enemies also acts as justification for the psalmist asking God for deliverance from them.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Lament

In Psalm 9, the lament appears in verses 15 through 18. Let’s read it.

KJV Psalm 9:15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Here, we’re told that the enemies made a pit and prepared a net to capture the righteous. But in fact, they’re the ones who will be trapped by these tactics. They set the trap for someone else – someone who isn’t worthy of being snared. And yet – in the end – these enemies will be the ones to be trapped. And not only that, but they’ll be turned into hell. And this is going to happen – according to verse 17 – to all nations that forget God. So, that’s the lament of Psalm 9 – verses 15 through 18.

Now that we’ve recognized the lament of this psalm, let’s start from the beginning and find the other four ingredients of the structure.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Invocation

The first two verses serve as the invocation. This is where God is called upon by the psalmist. And sometimes we learn something about who God is in this section. So, let’s read that.

KJV Psalm 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

We learn here that God is worthy of wholehearted praise. Why? Because of his “marvelous works”. And I think in this case that is mostly referring to his judging evil men. He’s a God in whom its completely appropriate to be glad and rejoice. His name or character is worthy of our songs. He is the Most High – there’s none higher – none more mighty. This is the God to whom the psalmist is crying out – the mightiest, most marvelous, most joy-inspiring, and most praise-worthy being. So, that’s the invocation – verses 1 and 2.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Confidence

Next, the psalmist expresses confidence in this Most High God, the Lord – in verses 3 through 10.

KJV Psalm 9:3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. 4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right. 5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. 6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them. 7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. 8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. 9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. 10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The psalmist is confident that God will judge the world – the world that is so opposed to him. And when he does this, the absolutely correct verdict will be rendered. And when this judgment does come, look who’s going to be rescued – verse 9 – God will be a refuge to whom? The oppressed. The miserable who are made so by the wickedness surrounding him. And verse 10 – people who know God’s name – who know his true character – though the whole world will be judged righteously and be turned into hell, these guys will experience a much different side of the judge. These people are going to find him to be a refuge – a place high off the ground – out of the way of approaching danger.

And isn’t that the nature of even earthly judges? If you’ve ever been in a courtroom setting or watched some courtroom proceedings, you know this dynamic. You know that in a murder case, for example, the defendant – the one who’s being accused and having evidence presented of his guilt – he’s the one who’s quaking. He may be liable to the death penalty perhaps. And he’s looking to that judge as one who has the power to take his life. And in the same exact trial, the sentiments from the plaintiff – those who are bringing the accusation of guilt against the defendant – and those associated with the plaintiff are much different. They don’t fear the judge. They’re looking to him for justice. They’re expecting him to make things right. So, consider those really interesting dynamics – that the same man basically is viewed as almost two different people. On the one hand, he’s viewed with fear as the executioner. On the other, he’s viewed as the deliverer – as one who will ensure that justice is served. And that’s just like what it’s going to be with the Lord when he judges the world. The wicked – those who have forgotten God – will view him with terror. The righteous, the humble, the needy, the oppressed, will view him as the savior who will right all wrongs and we’ll be greatly comforted and encouraged by his protection and condemnation of the group that’s wronging us.

So, that’s the psalmist’s statement of confidence in the Lord – verses 3 through 10.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Praise

Verses 11 and 12 form the praise section of this psalm.

KJV Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. 12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

The psalmist calls on his audience to praise the Lord. Why? Because of his doings. Namely – verse 12 – he takes vengeance on the wicked and at the same time he doesn’t forget the humble. He rescues them.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Petition

Verses 13 and 14 and then 19 and 20 then form the part of the psalm where the psalmist gives his petition.

KJV Psalm 9:13 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: 14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

And we’ve already gone through the lament of the psalm in verses 15 through 18, so we’ll skip to the last two verses of Psalm 9.

KJV Psalm 9:19 Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. 20 Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Even though the psalmist is confident in God’s judging the wicked, he still waists no opportunity to ask the Lord for deliverance from these people and even the hastening of their ultimate judgement.

So, that’s the structure of Psalm 9.

Psalm 9 Commentary: The Message

Let’s talk about the message of Psalm 9. And we’re going to find it by skimming through the Psalm looking for what this psalm is really about. I feel like with lament psalms in particular I spend a lot of the message just circling over again and again the psalm. So, I hope that doesn’t make you dizzy – all that circling. So, let’s do it again – circle back over the psalm trying to get the essence of what the psalm is about.

And what we’ll be looking for in particular is three entities – 3 groups of people or individual persons.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Enemies

First of all, there’s the people who are making the psalmist lament. Let’s consider them for a moment. In verse 3, these folks are said to be “enemies”. They’re opposed to the psalmist. But they’re going to be destroyed by God. In fact, it’s viewed as already having happened in verse 5. Somehow these men have been destroyed and judged by God already. I mean, that’s the sense you get from verse 5 – “thou hast destroyed the wicked” – as if it’s already happened in some way.

And that’s the case in verse 6 as well. Destructions HAVE come to an end. The enemies have done their best – they’ve destroyed cities even, but ultimately, that’s all they’re going to do. David pictures them as being done with the worst that they can do. In contrast, now the Lord in verse 7 is the one who lives forever – as opposed to the enemy who’s pictured as sustaining a temporal defeat in this world. And that may indicate that David just won a battle against a particular group of these enemies. So, there’s some temporal defeat that they’ve sustained. But they’re not done yet – and we’ll see that in the rest of the psalm.

OK, what else is revealed about these enemies of David? Verse 12 implies that they’ll be the recipients of God’s “making inquisition for blood”. They WILL BE – and from the viewpoint of this psalm – they already HAVE BEEN – the object of God’s taking revenge on evil-doers.

And yet, currently in this psalm, these men are still causing trouble. In verse 13, David indicates that he needs deliverance from the trouble or “misery” that these people are causing him. In fact, this misery is so severe that it brings him near to the gates of death. He perceives that he will die if God doesn’t deliver him. So, that’s interesting – God has apparently already judged some of these enemies with destruction and yet many of them still remain to trouble David.

Verses 15 through 18 reveal more about these enemies. They are heathen – or Gentiles. They’re non-Jews. And they are “wicked.” And they’re viewed as laying traps for people and setting up nets to catch people as if they were mere animals. And yet, God will see to it that those devices they set for the destruction of others will ultimately destroy them.

These wicked Gentiles – furthermore – will be turned back into hell – these men who have forgotten God. They will be sent into Sheol – the abode of the dead – they will die. And ultimately we know from further revelation that the end of these kinds of people – those who forget God – will be a literal burning lake of fire forever.

And lastly, the wicked non-Jewish men of the earth NEED to be humbled. Verse 20 has David asking the Lord to strike fear into the hearts of these evil-doers. And the purpose of that is to bring this reality home to them – they’re simply men. They’re not invincible. They’re mortal. And they’re nothing compared to God. And the fact that they need to be reminded of this tells us that these men have a self-perception that is way out of line with reality. They’re proud. And they need to be humbled.

So, we have the first of three entities in this psalm. Wicked Gentilic men – probably viewed as constituting the nations around Israel. They’re powerful – to the point of being able to threaten David’s very existence. They’ve experienced some recent temporal defeat – at least a portion of them have – maybe one or two of the nations. But they’re still a dangerous force that God will need to put a stop to ultimately in the future.

Psalm 9 Commentary: Victims

Now, let’s look at the second entity in this psalm – the ones whom these men are threatening.

And it’s obvious, but I’ll state it anyway – David would consider himself in this group of individuals on the receiving end of the enemies’ threats. And what do we see David engaged in in the first two verses of Psalm 9? You know, we might well be more sympathetic with those who were threatening David’s life if he himself were doing evil. But what do we see him engaged in? Praising the Lord. Telling of God’s marvelous works. Singing praise to God’s name. Being glad and rejoicing in the Lord. These aren’t actions worthy of having one’s life threatened. And yet these are the very acts that this group is engaged in.

And verse 4 makes us even more sympathetic to David and his group when it gives us the idea that David is waiting for justice from God against these people. He’s putting himself in his mind’s eye into a courtroom setting where he’s waiting for God’s justice and God’s deliverance against these enemies. He’s not viewing himself as sufficiently powerful to handle these enemies all alone. He resorts to God, the almighty, the just judge.

Now, verse 9 – when God will in the future judge the world with the totally correct verdicts that only he can render – these people of which David is a part will find God to be a refuge. Again, this word refuge is a word for something that’s high up out of the way of things. When God judges, these people will be lifted out of the situation up to a position of safety and protection.

And how are these people – David’s group – spoken of? What’s the label given to them in verse 9? They’re the oppressed. They’re the miserable. Why would they be miserable? Who’s oppressing them? Yes, the group we just talked about – the wicked Gentile enemies. They’re oppressing this group and thereby making their existence miserable.

Listen, and I don’t want to get needlessly political here and comment on things too great for me and things I don’t understand. But I have to think there’s really a pretty close parallel between what ancient Israel headed by David experienced and what modern-day Israel is experiencing. David and his oppressed group were surrounded by hostile Gentile nations. The same is true of Israel today.

When I went to Israel in 2011, I was just reflecting on the ever-present danger that this small nation faces.

I remember being in a hotel room watching the news when President Obama came out with his idea that Israel needs to return to it’s pre-1967 borders. That caused a stir. What if someone suggested that America return to it’s pre-1776 borders? Give all the land back to the Spanish and English and Native Americans. That would cause some stir in our midst I believe. And what if it was the most powerful nation on earth stating that this should happen?

I remember hearing about Palestinians who were rushing the borders of Israel, trying to get in.

One tour guide told us when we were in a particular area of Israel that if you hear air raid sirens, that’s a GOOD thing because that means the missile is traveling PAST you and is going to hit somewhere else. Of course, that left us wondering what happens if we DON’T  hear a siren.

Israel is now surrounded by Arab nations that are intent on its destruction. Israel is really in a bad neighborhood. The Middle East is a mess and is sliding into mass lawlessness with the consequences of the Arab Spring and now with the radical Islamic groups that have moved to fill the power vacuum left by that movement. And meanwhile it seems like our country is doing everything we possibly can to add to that destabilization and chaos.

In addition to what’s happening now in and around Israel, they have centuries of being oppressed and murdered simply for being who they are.

When I asked one of our tour guides whether he felt safe in Israel or not, he said “it’s a daily struggle to simply exist.”

So, in some ways, things really haven’t changed all that much in Israel from the time that David is writing Psalm 9 here to our modern time.

Let’s get back to Psalm 9. These oppressed ones – though they’re miserable – yet, they’re still going to put their trust in God because the Lord has never forsaken them – these people who seek the Lord.

Verse 12 speaks again of these oppressed ones. They’re said to be humble. What a contrast to this other group who in the last verse of this psalm needs to be reminded that they’re just men! But these oppressed men who seek the Lord – they’re humble. And they’re said to cry to the Lord. They know they’re not sufficient in themselves to defend themselves against the enemy. They cry to God. They trust in him. They seek him. And they find him to be a refuge to which they can flee for help.

In verse 18 this group is also described as “needy” and “poor”. They’re oppressed and miserable. They’re needy and poor. But they trust in the Lord and seek him. And so, it’s really for their sake that God will judge those who oppress them – according to this verse. Obviously, God judges wickedness simply to vindicate his own holiness. But there’s a real sense also in which God is moved to punish evil-doers because he can’t stand anymore to see the suffering of those who trust him and are utterly helpless.

Now, you might wonder how it is that King David could consider himself to be helpless. I mean, after all, the man was a king! He had soldiers and guards. He had a palace and weapons. Surely, if anyone would have felt secure and safe it would have been him! But you probably know what it’s like to be physically secure at the moment, but also aware of external threats that could destroy you quickly if they got out of hand. I think that’s how David viewed things. He had an army – but he knew the truth that princes aren’t ultimately delivered by their horses and weapons. God alone delivers from peril and death.

OK, so here’s two groups in this psalm. On the one hand — the poor, needy, oppressed believers in the Lord. On the other hand, those doing the oppressing.

Psalm 9 Commentary: The Lord

But I said there are 3 entities in this psalm. Who’s the third? It’s the Lord. Let’s remind ourselves of what God has revealed about himself in this psalm.

Basically, God will deliver the oppressed from their oppressors. He’s going to deliver David from his enemies. God is viewed as a judge. He’s said to have set up his throne for judgement. And as we’ve already rehearsed, his judgement is going to be completely right. There will be no mistrials with this judge. No evidence unseen. No lies believed. He knows and sees everything. And he will render a just verdict.

The Lord is one who can be approached by the humble. You don’t need to be someone great to approach the Lord. In fact, he really is viewed in Psalm 9 as preferring the humble and poor and needy and oppressed. He’s going to protect and deliver them even as he’s punishing their enemies.

Now, you and I can be assured that the judge of the whole earth will do right.

I think sometimes we can be discouraged that this is the case. I mean, read the news. Pay attention to what’s happening around you. You’ll notice things like this.

A mother writing a blog in which she details the struggle she’s having caring for her sickly child. She’s viewed as a hero, enduring great suffering faithfully. The boy finally dies. And it’s later revealed that he died from his mother intentionally overdosing him with salt. She knowingly murdered her son. Slowly. Painfully, for him. All to get attention to herself on her blog. Where was God?

Or you have this blood-thirsty Islamic State group invading this refugee camp in Syria – Yarmouk. It’s a place to which Palestinians fled after the Arab Israeli war in 1948 I believe. This camp has been fighting the Syrian president Bashar al-Asaad for years now. So they’ve been bombed and attacked for a long time by Syria itself. And now the jihadists have entered the camp. And the jihadists are against Asaad but they’re also not too friendly with the Palestinians. What a mess! And here’s the worst part. There are children in that camp. And they’re dying of malnutrition. They’re dying of starvation. They’re dying from bullets and bombs. They didn’t choose to be there. They didn’t choose to be born into that living hell. Where’s God?

I’m sure you have an assortment of things in your life that make you repeat that question – “where’s God?” He’s all powerful. He’s totally good. And yet… Why isn’t he stopping the evil?

And this is where our perception of the Lord and who he is and what he should be expected to do – this where this needs to change. We don’t know why God allows suffering. But he does. He allowed in the life of Jesus. In fact, Jesus was perfected by his sufferings according to Hebrews. And he uses sufferings to perfect us as well. All things work together for good to those who love God. But you and I need to adjust what we think of as “good”. Because that verse in Romans states that what is good for us is to be made more and more like Christ. And that’s exactly what suffering does for us. Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials – how? Because you know that the testing of your faith produces good things. GOOD things.

And a psalm like Psalm 9 reminds us that sometimes God will give temporal deliverance from evil. But the ultimate defeat of it is yet to come. But it WILL come. God will judge the world in righteousness. And when he does, the evil-doers will be destroyed, but YOU will be delivered.

So, that’s the message of Psalm 9 – God’s Judgment Brings Deliverance for the Righteous.