Thanking the Judge of the Nations

Give thanks when God answers your “call for fire” prayers. We ask when we want or need. We lament when we grieve. We praise God when we rejoice in his grace and love. Let’s remember to say thank you when he grants our request or rescues us from a dire situation. The Psalmist gives thanks in Psalm 9. His prayer is complex, also including praise and request for continued judgment against evil people, but begins with a joyful statement of gratitude and a promise to sing God’s praises:

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-3).

The prayer identifies God as righteous judge (v 4, 7), as a refuge for the oppressed (v 9), and as the righteous avenger (v 12,16). The avenger “remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.“ The persecution of the psalmist continues, so he asks,

“LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation” (Psalm 9:13-14).

While he affirms that “God will never get the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish” in verse 18, he cries out for the Lord to arise and judge the nations. He boldly asks, “Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal” (Psalm 9:20). From the very beginning, humanity has reached for the status and power of gods, but often we have abused the powers we have and the technologies we invent to assert our power over others in harmful ways. Let’s join the psalmist in thanking God for his gifts, but also in remembering with God to hear the cries of the afflicted, to pursue justice, and to act in ways that will bring hope for the poor and vulnerable. May we remember to seek and to trust the Lord, for as the psalmist prays,

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10).

 

  • Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011.

You are the judge of the nations, our God. You pursue justice for the oppressed and the vulnerable. You hear the prayers of those who seek you. Remember us, Lord, when our enemies assail us unjustly. Open our eyes to our sin when we have earned our affliction. Use us as your agents to bring peace and truth into our cultures. Grant us discernment so that we may identify those who seek to deceive us. We thank you for the love and provision that you give us. We thank you that we can laugh, that we can sing, that we can shout when we recall how you have rescued us from darkness. Arise, Lord, and continue to act on behalf of those who need salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.

About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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