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Psalm 9: 9-20 (NIV)
9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
in the gates of Daughter Zion,
and there rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
let the nations know they are only mortal.
In this passage the psalmist switches between directly addressing to God his pleas for help (verses 10, 13, 14, 19, 20) and addressing to other people (and the reader) his accounts of what God has done in the past to protect his own people (verses 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18). This continues the pattern found in the first eight verses of this psalm. It is as if the psalmist, in Jerusalem one assumes, is addressing his people and, at the same time, is contending with those who are persecuting him and urgently appealing to the Lord because of that.
This could well be the urgent prayer of those of the persecuted church throughout the world today: “Lord, see how (our) enemies persecute (us)! Have mercy and lift (us) up from the gates of death” (verse 13). We who support them and pray for them can join in: “The Lord is known by his acts of justice;” (verse 16a).
Why then, Lord, do you seem to take so long to come to the aid of your suffering people? “Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph” (verse 19a).
We and our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ have reason to trust in the Lord, who “is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (verse 9). “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (verse 10).
And so we pray: Do not forsake them now, O Lord. Fortify your persecuted children. Keep them strong in the faith which you have given them. Amen.