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Singing Praises to God – Especially for being Our Refuge

Psalm 9:9 (ESV) … “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

Psalm 9 is a psalm that is chiefly a song of pure praise. When we get to verse 9 we hear another thing for which David praises God for is his having been a refuge for the oppressed in times of trouble. David had known much trouble during the years he had been forced to hide from King Saul, but God had been a refuge for him. Consequently, this is a dominant theme in the psalms: Psalms 11, 16, 18, 40, and 46, for example. David is not without personal experience to back up his words when he says, “You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (v. 10).

Any Christian who cannot echo those words should be ashamed. Has God not said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Deut. 31:6)? Did Jesus not say, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20)?

At the end of this first section David praises the Lord again, echoing the verses with which the psalm began. It is striking that in each part the psalmist combines singing with preaching. And it is interesting to remember that great periods of church history have always been marked by both. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther’s hymns were on the lips of the German people as much as his words were in their hearts. At the time of the Wesleyan Revival in Great Britain, the recovery of the gospel was accompanied by an equally stirring recovery of gospel singing, as the hymns of John and Charles Wesley, Augustus Toplady, William Cowper, John Newton, and others show.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon notes this connection in his study of Psalm 9 and concludes, “[So] sing on brethren, and preach on, and these shall both be a token that the Lord still dwelleth in Zion.” [1]

[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (p. 79). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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