A Psalm of David.

This is another psalm by the anointed king, David.  This psalm begins a new section of the Genesis book of Psalms and thus is not directly connected to the previous chapters, which, as we saw, were all closely tied together by similar topics.  This begins a new section that continues on through the 15th chapter.  This psalm and the next psalm together form an “irregular Acrostic,” as the Companion Bible calls it, beginning in the first verse of this psalm and continuing through 10:18.  Remember, an Acrostic occurs when verses (or groups of verses) begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  In this irregular acrostic, however, seven letters are omitted.

1.  I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart;

Thus this will be a psalm of praise.  How wonderful indeed it is to praise our Lord with our whole hearts!  May we all be able to express such whole-hearted adoration to our precious Master.

I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

That is indeed our object in studying and setting forth the Scriptures.  God’s works indeed are marvelous.  Marvelous things has He done in the past, and marvelous things in our own present.  Yet how much more marvelous are the things yet to come!  When the dead are raised, when faith becomes sight, and when God speaks and says once again to the whole earth, “Let there be light.”  Then let darkness flee away, for all the earth will at last know the truth about our God.  Yes, such marvelous works do deserve to be told.

2.  I will be glad and rejoice in You;

What better thing to be glad in than the Lord?  For indeed He is our reason to be glad.  What an empty and useless life we would be living were it not for Him!  No wonder He causes us to rejoice.

I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Singing praise is indeed one of the most wonderful ways of expressing our feelings.  Yet, as the song says, one tongue hardly seems enough to praise the One Who is so precious to us.  Even a thousand tongues would not be adequate for the task!

The Hebrew word for “Most High” here is Elyon, and indicates God as the possessor of heaven and earth.  This term is associated with Christ and His authority over the earth.

3.  When my enemies turn back,

God’s triumph over the wicked is the cause of David’s rejoicing and the motivation for his praise.

They shall fall and perish at Your presence.

This takes our minds to the future and the climax of the tribulation period, when the anti-Christ and his forces pursue David and the faithful Israelites through the mountain that the Lord has cleft in half for their passage.  It is there that the Lord Himself meets this wicked one and personally puts an end to him.  Yet David was probably motivated to write this psalm by a similar experience wherein he had been saved from his enemies sometime in the past during his reign over Israel.

4.  For You have maintained my right and my cause;

The Lord did indeed support David throughout his kingship, and this in spite of his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah the Hittite.  Much more will he maintain David’s cause during his future reign, when his past sins have been done away and his kingship is ever and unmistakably righteous.

You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.

Although God had ultimate control over Israel during David’s past reign, he will not really have sat on His throne until the future Kingdom of God when He reigns over all the earth and, under Him, David reigns over Israel as His Prince.

The Hebrew word for “judging” is a very strong word, and takes in far more than our modern idea of a judge.  Even “governing” is not a complete enough word.  If we could take the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government and unite them all together in one man, this is what “judging” means.  Thus God will have absolute governmental control.  This is something that is not true in the slightest today.  Yet it will be true in the fullest sense in the future Kingdom.  This psalm is speaking from that future day and thus speaks of this as if it is a thing of the past, and yet we know that God’s true time of judging is for us still very much future.

5.  You have rebuked the nations,

These are things that God will do when He judges the earth in righteousness.  Many nations do indeed deserve to be rebuked for many things, our own nation not the least among them!

You have destroyed the wicked;

Think what the earth will be like when not one wicked man remains!  How glorious indeed will be His Kingdom then.

You have blotted out their name forever and ever.

One’s name is one’s reputation and the esteem others hold one in.  These things are wiped out for the wicked for all future time.  This term “forever and ever” is a silly and somewhat childish term.  If something lasts “forever,” then can it possibly go any further than that and be for “and ever”?  The idea here is not that their name is blotted out for longer than forever, but that it is blotted out continuously or perpetually.  There will be no reversal of this sentence against these wicked men!  The Hebrew is for olam and ad, or for the outflow and perpetually.

6.  O enemy, destructions are finished forever!

This means that destruction is complete perpetually.  The destruction that sin and death causes will one day come to an end, and then this verse will be true at last.  May God speed the day!

And you have destroyed cities;

The focus is on the end of destructions, so “you” probably refers to the LORD, although this is not entirely clear.  There are indeed some cities that, like Sodom and Gomorra, do not deserve to exist any longer.  We can be certain that their destruction will be accomplished in the day when our God takes over rule of the earth.

Even their memory has perished.

None will have any respect for nor make any show of honor to the cities God has destroyed.  This is what is meant by their memory perishing…there is no one left who would wish to mourn them or bring them to any kind of nostalgic remembrance.

7.  But the LORD shall endure forever;

This verse is badly translated.  The word “endure” means in Hebrew, “sit as king.”  Thus this verse is saying that the LORD shall sit as a king forever.  This word “ever” is the Hebrew olam and indicates a flow.  Thus the LORD sits as a king outflowing.  This both speaks of His outflowing government and all the blessings it will bring to the world, and of the never-ending, perpetual flow of His reign.

He has prepared His throne for judgment.

The word “throne” has nothing to do with an ornamental chair that He has prepared for Himself to sit in while He judges.  Rather, it is symbolic for the seat of His authority.  The seat of His power has been made ready for Him, from there, to judge all things.

8.  He shall judge the world in righteousness,

The word for “world” here is not the word meaning system or order, but rather it is tebel, which means the inhabited world.  How blessed it is to know that one day our world of men will be governed in righteousness.  Things are far different today!  Our world is far too often judged by wicked men seeking their own selfish gains.  Far too infrequently are things governed in any semblance of righteousness.  Yet we can rest assured that someday when God takes over the governing, the world will indeed be governed righteously.

And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.

How we could use such an administration in our day!  Let us pray that the promises made in these Psalms may be fulfilled someday soon.

9.  The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,

The LORD is ever concerned for the helpless and those who cannot help themselves.  In our day it seems that such commonly have no refuge.  Yet in the Day to come all such oppressed ones will have a sure refuge, and their plight will not be forgotten.

A refuge in times of trouble.

David had certainly personally experienced this truth.  Think of all the times he ran from Saul and it seemed that the mighty king of Israel would overtake him and his little band and put an end to them.  Yet David had a sure refuge against the hatred of Saul, and that was his LORD.

10.  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;

One’s name has to do with one’s reputation, specifically as it relates to one’s character.  All those who know the true reputation of our God will not hesitate to put their trust in Him.  It is the wicked who have no desire to trust Him that will be made to answer for it.

For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Those who search for the LORD ever find Him, especially if they look within the pages of His Word.

11.  Sing praises to the LORD, Who dwells in Zion!

This, of course, speaks of His tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant contained therein where the LORD was said to dwell.  He had indeed placed His glory upon it, and thus it WAS here that He was dwelling.

Declare His deeds among the people.

This is what we are constantly doing…setting forth the truth about the wondrous works of God.  In our nation where fewer and fewer people know even the simple, basic stories of God’s Word, it is more important than ever that we let people know about the great deeds that our God has done!

12.  When He avenges blood, He remembers them;

Some murderers think they have gotten away with it.  They do not realize that even if they escape into death that God will not forget the wicked things they have done.  He will certainly remember what they did, and will see to it that they receive the just reward for the blood that they have shed.

He does not forget the cry of the humble.

The humble here are the same as the “oppressed” in verse 9.  They cry out in their oppression, and the LORD hears and remembers their pleas.

13.  Have mercy on me, O LORD!

A cry to which all of us can relate.  Without God’s mercy none of us would stand a chance of ever seeing the wonders of the life to come.

Consider my trouble from those who hate me,

Those who stand for what is right will always have those who hate them for it.  David, the righteous king of Israel, must have had plenty of trouble from such.  Yet he knows that the LORD is with him, and this apparently comforts him as he faces the difficulties brought about by his enemies.

You Who lift me up from the gates of death,

This could speak of the past, and be speaking of God delivering David from near death.  Yet it could also speak of his actual death, which happened three thousand years ago.  David has been dead ever since, yet God will raise David and everyone else from the dead to receive the reward for the kind of lives they lived before they entered the state of death.

14.  That I may tell of all your praise

David reveals why he is asking God to deliver him.  He wants to be able to praise the LORD!  What a motivation.  Yes, what a great thing it will be to be able to praise God for having raised you from the dead.

In the gates of the daughter of Zion.

The gates were the common meeting places of the day.  They were where important business was done, deals were transacted, and government was enacted.  This is where David wishes to speak his praise to the LORD.

I will rejoice in Your salvation.

This should be connected to the last line and read, “That I may rejoice in Your salvation.”  This is another reason why David is requesting deliverance from the LORD.  This deliverance will give him reason to rejoice.  Do we realize that one of the reasons God delivers us is to receive our joy and praise?  This realization should affect our attitudes toward Him.  All too often we seem to think that He saved us for little other reason than so we can come begging to Him for whatever we want.  We need to know that He truly desires our praise.

15.  The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made;

How commonly do nations find themselves enmired in their own ill-conceived policies!  Our own nation is certainly no exception.

In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.

All too often nations get caught in their own clever traps.  Again we could think of examples in our own nation.  Yet this will especially be true when the Kingdom comes and all nations are judged by God.  Then all clever traps against righteousness and truth will be turned back upon those who set them.

16.  The LORD is known by the judgment He executes;

This is a statement that will be true in the Kingdom, which might also be called the “dispensation of judgment.”  In our current day, the dispensation of grace, the LORD is not known for this.  If He is known for anything, it is that He keeps silent even when the strictest judgment is called for.  We who live under such conditions can look forward to the day when the LORD will be famous for executing judgment!

The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

Every day in our time men get away with their wicked schemes.  Yet in the Day to come all such are snared in their wicked works.  Not one can escape the watchful eye of God.  No one can do evil and get away with it in that day!

Meditation.  Selah.

The Hebrew words here are Higgaion.  Selah.  This is an instruction to the reader.  Literally it would mean, “Meditate.  Pause.”  In other words, it is telling the reader to stop and think about what has just been said.  Just contemplate a time when the LORD will be known for executing judgment.  How wonderful that will be!  And when the wicked are always caught, and never can “get away with it.”  How good it would be if that day would come soon!

Selah also indicates a close connection between the last verse and the verse following, where we learn what happens to the wicked when they are snared by the works of their own hands.

17.  The wicked shall be turned into hell,

The Hebrew word for “hell” here is Sheol.  The word “turned” actually means “returned.”  As the Bible declares, even the wicked will enjoy resurrection from the dead.  However, all such will be found wanting, and soon will be returned right back to Sheol.  This is what Revelation calls the “second death.”

And all the nations that forget God.

Nations that long ago perished will likewise find themselves raised from the dead in the Kingdom.  Think about the inhabitants of such places as ancient Egypt or Greece once again walking the earth!  Yet all nations that forget God will not for long enjoy the blessings of life, but after sentencing will be returned from whence they came.

18.  For the needy shall not always be forgotten;

O, what glorious truths these are!  To know that some day those in need will always be noticed.  So easily are the seriously needy overlooked and ignored in our day.  How great will it be when we can say, “Never again!”

The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.

The word we would more likely use in place of “expectation” would be “prospects.”  The poor have little prospects in our day.  Although our country is supposed to be the “land of opportunity,” the fact remains that some have very poor prospects indeed.  Now imagine what it is like in much poorer nations!  Yet even the state of death does not put a final end to the prospects of the poor ones, for they have opportunities awaiting them in the Kingdom of God that we even in our luxury can only dream of!

19.  Arise, O LORD,

This begins a prayer.  It is important for us to remember that prayers in the Bible are different from our prayers.  When we pray, the things we request may or may not be answered.  A prayer spoken by Divine inspiration, however, is far different.  When the LORD inspires a prayer, it means that this is His desire as well.  And since nothing is too hard for the LORD, we can be assured that what He wants will come to pass.  Thus, all such prayers in the Bible become prophecies of what God WILL do in the future.  This is called the “Prayer/Prophecy Principle.”  Thus, we can be sure that what David requests here WILL come to pass in the future.

Do not let man prevail;

This is why the LORD will arise.  Men often think they have prevailed in our day.  The governor here in Minnesota, for example, upset many people recently when he proclaimed that religion is for the “weak,” and basically declared that he, the tough, self-sufficient Jesse Ventura, has no need for God.  Although many Christians were upset, basically nothing came of this, and it appeared that the governor had prevailed.  Yet when God arises all such illusions of successful rebellion against Him will be dissolved.  Man can never prevail when God arises against him.  It is only in our day, when God indeed is silent, that man can fool himself into thinking he has won.

Let the nations be judged in Your sight.

Not just individuals but the nations themselves will be judged when God arises.  How will our own nation withstand the scrutiny?

20.  Put them in fear, O LORD,

It is clear that the nations today have no fear of God, for they pay no mind to Him in all their actions.  Yet the day will come when the nations will be put in fear, and none will dare to stand against the Almighty!

That the nations may know themselves to be but men.

Humanism teaches us to worship mankind and consider ourselves as gods.  The nations will yet receive a reminder of exactly what they are.  In that day, they will find that they are just men, after all.


This closely connects this psalm with Psalm 10, which takes us from the triumphal future when all the wicked will be put down at last and brings us back to the grim present when the wicked appear to have free rein in the earth.