“Wholehearted Thanksgiving” (Psalm 9)

“Wholehearted Thanksgiving” (Psalm 9)

Wholehearted Thanksgiving (Psalm 9)

We’ve heard a lot about recounting in the news over the past few weeks. Once again, Florida was in the middle of the controversy. At least we have our act together over here in California… Hopefully, recounting the wonderful deeds of the Lord isn’t so complicated.

Psalm 10 has no title supporting the theory that 9-10 were originally one (mostly acrostic) psalm. However, due to a significant shift in the mood, we will only focus on Psalm 9.

This song of thanksgiving is a prayer of confidence in God’s past and future deliverance from enemies. David primarily praises God for his righteous judgment. I wonder if that sounds awkward to you. The justice of God is probably not a highlight for many Thanksgiving sermons, but that is what predominately occupies David’s praise here.

Read Psalm 9.

Let us joyfully recount the wonderful past, present, and future deeds of our righteous King.

I. A Hymn of Praise (1-12)

1-2 David acknowledges Who he’s praising, as well as how he’s offering his praise. He thanks God with his whole heart. He is not double-hearted or half-hearted.

The Hebrew word סֵ֫פֶר is translated as “recount,” “declaring,” “telling,” or “making a written record.” It’s found twice in this Psalm (1, 14).

The wonderful deeds are God’s miraculous deliverances (i.e., Exodus). Making God’s deeds known involves rejoicing and singing praise to him. We openly make known the joy in our hearts.

3-4 God takes the character of a righteous judge.

When David’s enemies retreated, instead of finding relief, they ran into the Lord’s righteous judgment. He’s actually imagining a future judgment as if it already occurred. “Prophetic perfects” describe future events in past tense. Specifically…

5-6 David imagines the future and final judgment of the nations. They have been rebuked. The wicked have perished. They have been so utterly destroyed they’re forgotten.

The wicked will be forgotten forever, whereas God’s name will be praised forever (2, 7).

7-10 The Lord sits upon his throne to bring justice. He judges with righteousness and uprightness. He provides safety as a mighty fortress for those who are troubled and oppressed. God assists his people in their affliction. He does not forsake those who trust in Him. God’s name = his character.

The Lord vindicates his own. Regardless of how low our circumstances have brought us, we can look up to see God seated on his throne.

11-12 David closes this first half of the psalm where he began, with praise. Sing praise to the Lord who reigns and tell the nations about all the Lord has done. The Lord keeps the afflicted in mind. He hears their cries and does not forget them.

The Song of Moses reflects this kind of praise (Ex. 15:1-3, 10-12). The Lord’s victory was achieved through the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. In the same way, David is praising God for past and present deliverances in his own life. He’s also looking forward to his future deliverance at the final judgment.

Praising God for his deliverance and salvation necessitates the destruction of everything that threatens our peace with him. Mercy and justice are not competing truths, they support one another.

Have you experienced God’s salvation in that way? What enemies has God destroyed in order to rescue you? As you recount God’s wonderful deeds, consider the idols of your heart that he has already removed. Praise him also for the destruction of every last competing idol that has already been destroyed in the final judgment!

Like David, you might find yourself reflecting upon a present threat. If so, you should follow his pattern by raising…

II. A Plea for Mercy (13-20)

13-14 Present Threat

David cries out for the Lord to see his affliction and lift him up out of the gates of death. This is his first acknowledgment of personal distress. He is clearly in a state of great fear. His affliction has brought him to the brink of death on a number of occasions.

While, at times it is helpful to place the psalm within a concrete context, that is not possible here. And that’s helpful in generalizing the application. We don’t have to know precisely what was causing David’s fear to understand it.

Confident of his deliverance, David can say that he will declare/recount God’s praises and rejoice in God’s salvation.

David’s present affliction will not keep him from present worship.

15-20 Future Certainties

God thwarts the plans of the nations causing them to be caught in their own traps (Ps. 7:16). Haman hanging on his own gallows (Esth. 7:10). The officials who accused Daniel were thrown into the den of lions and devoured (Dan. 6:24).

The Lord’s judgment ensnares the wicked by their own schemes. Musical pause/transition to emphasize meditation upon theme here stated (16). Judgment upon the wicked.

The wicked nations shall turn into Sheol (17). Wicked = the nations that forget God. They reject what knowledge they have of God and will be cast into Hell. That’s the fate of those who “forget God.”

But, the Lord will not forget his needy people (18). His chosen people living in poverty will never be without hope. This psalm is a prayer for the perseverance of the saints!

David calls for the judgment of the nations who do not recognize their frailty (19). We are but a breath (Ps. 39:11; 144:4). He wants them to be reminded of the limits of mortal beings (20). They are human, not divine! Although God will receive the glory in the punishment of the wicked, our prayer is that they would be humbled to repentance.


This psalm is ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Christ. We’ve been delivered by Christ’s wonderful deeds (1-2). Jesus swallowed up death in victory (6). The Lord is enthroned in the midst of the church (11). He saves us from the self-destructive effect of sin, by conquering sin on the cross and defeating death by his resurrection (13).

Let us joyfully recount the wonderful past, present, and future deeds of our righteous King.