Psalms 9:9-14 9The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. 10And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. 11Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. 12When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. 13 Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, 14That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.
This passage from Psalm 9, is filled with illumination concerning the character of the LORD. It is absolutely astounding in its revelation!
We find that the Lord is our refuge—does not forsake those who trust Him—does not forget the cry of the humble—and lifts those who trust Him from the gates of death. Therefore, those who trust Him ought to sing praise to Him and declare His praise in the church of Jesus Christ.
Much of this revealed character should be (at least) academically and biblically familiar to us. Being overly familiar with these concepts of His character, can hinder us living the truth out practically. Therefore, is essential we understand how His being our refuge matters in the ups and downs of everyday life. Therefore, we must understand the context, in which Psalm 9:9-14 were written.
Many have sung songs about God being a refuge or strong tower, without knowing how to gain safety from Him. Most have quoted or thought about Jesus declaring to us, He will never leave us or forsake us, without knowing when that really matter most. More than a few have memorized that God is near the afflicted and humbled soul, but fail to gain any comfort from this truth, because of a slanted idea of what it means to be saved. The context of our passage demands a deeper understanding of His revealed character, than the thin veneer of the modern church.
THE CONTEXT IS TROUBLE
“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble”
Before we explore specific circumstances concerning the context, it is important to understand the general seed bed of experiencing God as our refuge grows in. The general seed bed is trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble.
The word for “trouble” in verse 9 means adversity, anguish, distress, and tribulation. We can agree that these are not necessarily things we desire to rush into. In addition, the word “oppressed” is a little more specific. This reveals that the seed bed of trouble is personal tribulation along the lines of being crushed, afflicted, or oppressed.
In considering this revelation, it is important to remember that the trouble is not the general trouble of man, as is stated in Job 5:17 “Man is born for trouble as sparks fly upward”. The seed bed of trouble, in which we experience the LORD as our refuge (revealed in Psalm 9:9-14), is specifically calibrated to target with trouble, those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning this understand that to be oppressed means having an oppressor. It is true that Satan is at the core of these troubles, but he does this in a particular way.
Psalms 9:15-17 15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. 16 The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. 17The wicked shall be turned into hell,
And all the nations that forget God.
In this portion of Psalm 9 we see how Satan troubles the saints, through oppression… The nations and the wicked people of those nations.
As we draw nearer to the consummation of human history, when the sign of the Son of man appears in the heavens and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, there are only two types of people on earth. There are those who are followers of Christ (including those who have yet to but will repent and walk in faith following Christ) and those who do not.
In the second category they fit in to the nations and the wicked of those nations; from Babel until the end of time they will become more hostile against God’s children in Jesus Christ.
Psalms 2:1-3 1 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed (Christ and His people), saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”
This is the gnostic inversion, where Satan makes himself and the fallen angels into the heroes of humanity, as they fight against the LORD and His Christ. In this fight, we see more specifics of the seed bed of our understanding God’s as our refuge Psalm 9:9-14.
- The nations and peoples of the world attempt to isolate us, and to separate us from God’s people and from the reality of His being with us.
Psalms 9:10 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
- We are troubled with a strategic plan to trip us into falling away from our faith and keep us captives as prisoners of war.
Psalms 9:15-16 15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. 16 The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
- We are troubled as the nations of wicked people will seek to kill us and our faith from the earth.
Psalms 9:12 12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble.
4. We are troubled as they seek to cut us off from economy, leading to poverty.
Psalms 9:17-18 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.
If you were to study the words of Christ concerning the circumstances of His return, all of what is listed above are present, with the addition revelation that Christians are hated by all nations. This context is tough, and it is TROUBLE, but alas let us consider the God who is not just with us in the trouble but is our refuge!
“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble”
The Hebrews word for “refuge” means “secure height” and although the often-used English word of stronghold, or high tower may communicate something to us, the truth is so much richer than those idioms.
In considering God being our “refuge” our “secure height” we must begin by considering Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord He is my refuge, and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust”.
The phrase secret place ought to be familiar to the Christian. This would be our place of prayer, or where we meet with Abba Father, to seek His will and the provision we need to walk in that will. This secret place is not designed to be confined to a prayer closet or a favorite recliner, but to be wherever we are at, when we remember that God is with us to lead, empower and protect.
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
This is the significantly under practiced virtue of the practice of His presence. Many Christians read the word and have a time of prayer in private, but the secret place of the Highest, where He is our Refuge, knows know limit of geography or time of schedule. We were not made to have a devotional time and then live as if He has forsaken us to handle life on our own, but “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God” Romans 8:14.
Therefore, His being our Refuge is so glorious because He travels with us. Therefore, whether before a firing squad for our faith—or prison for the same—or being accused in court of not being a fit citizen, for the purpose of practicing our faith—or having lost a loved one because they love the world more than Jesus Christ; we can gain peace, power and protection from our Refuge.
He is our “Secure Height”, but that does not mean the missiles and arrows hit stone, they still hit us, but He is Himself absorbs the blows, enabling us to stand in faith. Concerning this, He does travel with us, but we also travel with and in our “Refuge” in a powerful and personal way.
Ephesians 1:18-23 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Here we see that Christ, the Living Word and Creator (John 1:1-5), is in the Highest most secure height, and so are we!
Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Christ Himself is indeed our Refuge, our Secure Height. To lay hold of His glorious presence in this way, we must develop the practice of acknowledging Him in trouble, rather than panicking—or attempting to protect ourselves—or looking to figure a way our of the trouble we are in. It is our knowing and living in Him our Refuge, which releases the power of Christ in us the hope of glory.
This release has a two-fold purpose. In the first place, it shames the wicked peoples of the nations, who are attempting to silence God. Secondly, it is the Light of the world in us, that those who have not yet come to Christ need; as well as the example of Christ’s resurrection life our fellow Christians need.
Let us learn to run to our Refuge and we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, as the world sees we love our Lord Jesus more than our own lives.