Psalm 9:1
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will recount all Your wonders.
ThanksgivingC. Short Psalm 9:1-6
The Cause of GratitudeC. Short Psalm 9:1-6
A Praiseful HeartPsalm 9:1-20
Praise for the Destroyer's DestructionC. Clemance Psalm 9:1-20
Praise, Trust, and PrayerF. B. Meyer, B. A.Psalm 9:1-20
The Ministry of PraiseJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 9:1-20

The title of this psalm is obscure. Its archaisms cannot now be satisfactorily explained. And even a reference to the most learned expositors may possibly only increase the confusion. The title, indeed, is very suggestive. It reads, "Upon the death of Labben." Walford regards "Muth-labben" as the name of a musical instrument. For this we can find no warrant. The word muth, which is equivalent to "death," seems to put us on a line of thought which is, at any rate, in harmony with the entire psalm. If we grant (as appears from the whole tenor of the verses) that the reference is to the death of some enemy, by whose plots and snares the people of God were imperilled, the whole song reads naturally enough. Whether we read "Labben" as a proper name, or read it "of the Son," or regard the psalm as referring to the death of Goliath of Gath, is of no consequence as regards its general meaning or spiritual significance. Delitzsch, indeed, says, "This psalm is a thoroughly national song of thanksgiving for victory by David, belonging to the time when Jahve was already enthroned on Zion (ver. 14), and therefore to the time after the ark was brought home." He asks," Was it composed after the triumphant extermination of the Syro-Ammonitish War?" Hengstenberg remarks, "The relation which David had in view when he composed this psalm for public use was that of the Church of God to its external enemies." Note: It is a fitting occasion for sanctuary-song when God's people are delivered from threatening perils. Many English hearts would send up such a shout of praise as we find here, over England's deliverance from the Spanish Armada. The joy, however, was not in its destruction, but in Britain's safety. For a pulpit exposition of the psalm, we have five lines of thought presented to us.

I. WE HAVE HERE SHOWN US IN WHAT PERIL GOD'S PEOPLE HAD BEEN PLACED. Although we cannot be sure to what specific events this psalm refers, yet several phrases therein show us the kind of peril to which the writer alludes, and thus put both expositor and preacher on the line for usefully and helpfully dealing therewith on any special occasion when unusual perils beset the Church of God. E.g.:

1. Enemies (ver. 3).

2. Oppression (ver. 12).

3. Murder (ver. 12).

4. Deceit (ver. 15).

Four formidable terms, surely - sufficiently typical of perils which have had to be confronted again and again in the history of God's Church, whether from paganism, or from the papacy, or from mere worldly hostility to goodness and truth.

II. GOD HAD WROUGHT A GREAT DELIVERANCE FOR HIS PEOPLE. The psalm is, owing to this deliverance, one of triumph and joy.

1. It was so illustrious as to be altogether marvellous, yea, miraculous (ver. 1).

2. God had manifested his judgments (ver. 7).

3. He had rebuked the nations (ver. 5).

4. Had brought guilty cities low, and even blotted them out (ver. 6).

5. Had shown himself as the Goel, the Avenger of innocent blood (ver. 12).

6. Had manifested his remembrance of the poor and of the oppressed (ver. 12).

7. Had made the devices of the wicked to recoil upon themselves.

These are but so many illustrative forms of the way in which God's providence is ever working in the world, even now, under the administration of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Head over all things to his Church.


1. How truly there is a throne high above all the scheming and plotting of men (ver. 7)!

2. That under the sway of that throne judgment is administered for all who are oppressed.

3. That this judgment is manifested in vindicating right and putting wrong to shame (vers. 7, 8).

4. That such glorious and gracious government reveals the lustre of God's everlasting Name. All providential dealings are disclosers of God. "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."

IV. A SONG OF GRATITUDE, TRIUMPH, AND TRUST IS HEREBY AWAKENED. The very beginning of the psalm is an outburst of thankfulness (ver. 1). The psalmist gathers from deliverances already effected, a ground of trust in God for future days (vers. 9, 10). Judgments already brought to pass prove that God will not let evil deeds slumber in everlasting forgetfulness, and that he will not let the cry of the humble and downtrodden remain for ever unheard (ver. 12). Yea, more. They prove the glorious truth which is triumphantly proclaimed in ver. 17, "The wicked shall return to Sheol, and all the nations that forget God." Few verses, indeed, have been more violently twisted than this to make it suit the exigencies of mediaeval theology. It has been repeatedly dealt with as if it were a sentence on the wicked of everlasting woe. The question of future punishment is dealt with clearly enough in other parts of the Word of God. But it is not that which is intended here. The verse means - God will not suffer wicked people or nations perpetually to oppress the Church. In a little, in his own good time, they shall return to the dust whence they came, and enter the invisible realm of the dead. That this is the meaning intended is shown by the verse which follows (ver. 18; cf. also Psalm 37:10). Cheer up, ye poor, despised, and oppressed people of God! Your Vindicator liveth. He will bring you forth to the light when your foes shall have vanished from the scene.


1. Although there had been a marked deliverance, yet the affliction from which the psalmist had suffered still left its scars upon him. Hence the prayer in vers. 13, 14. The oppression and the oppressor may be speedily removed, but the depression thereby caused lasts long after. And only the . prolonged bestowal of grace to help in time of need will ever be sufficient to meet the case.

2. The future security of the world depends on the manifestation of the Divine presence and power; in counteracting the base designs of men, in asserting the right, and avenging the wrong (ver. 19).

3. This can only be done, perhaps, by such judgments as will make the nations tremble, and so will cause them to feel their utter impotence in the grasp of the mighty God (ver. 20). Note: The remarks, applicable to so many psalms, should not be overlooked here.

1. That we have here, not words of God to man, but words of man to God. Hence they may or may not be models for our imitation. Anyway, no inspiration in prayer can rise above the level of the revelation which had been granted where and when such prayer was offered.

2. Although, in every country and age, prayer from the heart must be limited by the measure of light in the conscience, yet a gracious God will answer it, not according to its limitation or imperfection, but according to his infinite wisdom, his boundless love, and his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

3. The Divine answers to such prayers as we find in the psalm, although they bring deliverance to the righteous, will bring terror and confusion to the wicked. The destruction of Pharaoh's host is the salvation of the hosts of the Lord. - C.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them.
I. He rules the MATERIAL SEA. How furious does the old ocean sometimes become, how its billows often rise like mountains, roar like lions, and battle like demons! But God rules them. He has set a boundary to them. "He holds the waters in the hollow of His hand."

II. He rules the MENTAL SEA. The material ocean is but a faint emblem of the mental seas, which are a thousand times deeper, larger and more awful.

1. There is the sea of thought. In every individual mind, thoughts rise and break like billows on the shore, and frequently they are most tumultuous. On this globe there are no less than twelve hundred million such seas, and what is the population of this globe compared to the mental population of the universe? He rules all these seas, rules them all even in their most raging condition.

2. There is the sea of passion. How the passions of men often rage in individuals, communities, nations! How rage, too, the passions of hell. But God rules them all.


I. None who saw the sea, and the destruction it caused, could fail to realize THE HELPLESSNESS OF MEN IN PRESENCE OF THOSE FORCES BY WHICH WE ARE SURROUNDED. The spectators could only wonder. Life was in jeopardy: it was saved at the risk of life. All honour to the men who applied their knowledge of the ways of the sea; that, with their own lives in their hands, they sought to save — and succeeded, too, in rescuing — their fellows from a watery grave.

II. THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN RESTRAINING THOSE FORCES AGAINST WHICH WE ARE SO HELPLESS. There is a point beyond which they cannot go. True, there are controlling laws. If the sea, rising under the influence of the sun and moon, reaches a very high point, it is stayed by other forces from going farther. But whence do these forces derive their existence? Not in the material itself. It is the working of His power. "He rules the raging of the sea," etc. Thus we discover order and design in the whole range of God's works; if one force presses downwards, others press upward; if one force imperils the existence of men, another force controls it; if in one direction there is danger, in another direction the means of safety are found.

III. THE UNCERTAIN TENURE ON WHICH MATERIAL GOOD IS SECURED TO US. In every combination there are seeds of destruction in the material itself.

IV. GOD IS EVER PRESENT IN THE VARYING CONDITIONS OF OUR LIFE. Can He be present in that storm? Did He see the danger of those who stood in peril of their life? No, He could not be there, is the hasty conclusion of most of us. When His waves overwhelm us can He be there? Did not the sea break loose from His hand? No; He rules the raging of the sea. There is a certain extent in which it can remove from its ordinary course, but then it is as much under control as when, with its smooth and glassy surface, it lies basking in the summer sun. And why? Because by His laws He is there. The force is His force, whether it be a storm or calm. Does He, then, destroy? No; the destruction is only to that which trespasses on the sea. His object is health, and the storm is the action of opposing forces restoring their equilibrium, working out purposes of sovereign skill. But God is there. What a consolation and strength!

(H. W. Butcher.)

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