Psalm 9 offers the reader three themes that are recurrent in many Psalms: thanksgiving with a whole heart, telling the story of God’s wonderful deeds, and praising His Most Holy Name. These three themes are one of the reasons the Psalms make the perfect prayer book of God’s people. The writers of the Psalms were inspired to praise God in these three ways as the prophetic voice of Jesus. As our Messiah, Jesus showed us how to live by modeling the very prayers of the Psalms.
The inspiration of the Psalmist’s prayers seems to be the righteousness of God as He judges from his divine, everlasting throne, “4 For thou hast maintained my just cause; thou hast sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.” So too, as we pray through the psalms our hearts should be quickened to offer praise and thanksgiving to God as we remember and tell of his amazing grace extended in our lives.
Psalm 9 was originally written as an acrostic. The first word of each stanza was formed with a word using the Hebrew alphabet. No doubt Psalm 9 and 10 in most Protestant Bibles was originally one Psalm in the original Greek Septuagint version, which dates from 250 BC. This is why the numbers of the Psalms are off by one following the 9th in the Catholic Bibles, which use the Septuagint version for the Old Testament.
By using the Acrostic form of poetry, the Psalmist was giving praise to God with a view to the whole of life. As you consider the beautiful praise offered in Psalm 9 today, think about your life? How have God’s righteous judgments blessed and protected you from your enemies? How have you contemplated the holiness of His Name? St. Paul reminds us that the name of Jesus is above all names and given the highest glory in heaven, and that every knee shall one day bow to His great name (Phil. 2:10).
Remember, the psalmist praised God from the midst of his tribulation. He didn’t wait until God delivered him to offer praise. Rather, he offered praise for the time when he knew he would be delivered.
13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! Behold what I suffer from those who hate me, O thou who liftest me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all thy praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in thy deliverance.
What a difference it makes to praise God from the midst of our storm and not wait until after it passes. To praise God in the storm is to live by faith, and living by faith is the highest form of praise, for then, we are truly trusting in the name above all names.