A Shelter and a Refuge

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Genocide. Oppression. Slavery. Terrorism. These words remind us of great injustices within our world.

When we hear of such things we want them to stop. We may wonder how such evil can exist in the world. Some people question the goodness of God to allow such things to take place. "Where's the justice in all of this?"

But how is real justice determined? What yardstick should be used?

Scripture

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Death of the Son.”

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. [vss 1-2]

My enemies retreated; they staggered and died when you appeared. For you have judged in my favor; from your throne you have judged with fairness. You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have erased their names forever. The enemy is finished, in endless ruins; the cities you uprooted are now forgotten. [vss 3-6]

But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O  Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. [vss 7-10]

Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer. Lord, have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me. [vss 11-14]

The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set. The Lord is known for his justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. [Quiet Interlude]

The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God. But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed. [vss 15-18]

Arise, O  Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations! Make them tremble in fear, O  Lord. Let the nations know they are merely human. [Interlude] [vss 19-20]

(Psalm 9:1-20 GW) [Context– Psalm 9]

Key phrase— for you, O  Lord, do not abandon those who search for you

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Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

How does this psalm begin and end? What is expressed at first and requested at the end?

What assurance is expressed about the Lord? What is said about justice and those who trust in the Lord?

What is said about enemies and the fate of those who don't trust in God?

What assurance is given about the needy and poor, and for the people or nations who oppress them?

Reflection...

Most judgments from human governments and rulers are subjective and unfair. Too often, the undue influence of wealth and status subvert justice. This is played out in courtrooms and governing directives throughout the world.

We all tend to claim our own innocence or right to receive mercy. But true justice is impartial. And no one—no human—is free of bias or prejudice. It's built into us.

Impartial justice requires some standard of rightness and truth. Yet, even when that exists, as in a constitution or other canon of law, how it's interpreted or meted out can be biased to favor one person over another.

God alone is true and just. He sees what we do not and cannot know. The Lord is impartial—unmoved by wealth, or status, or fickle emotions.

Better to trust in Him than our own sense of right and wrong. He is both just and merciful by nature. He will not abandon those who seek Him and trust in Him.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

When you see injustice or oppression, how do you react?

Are you bothered, even angered, when you see people receive leniency or an acquittal because of their wealth or status?

Have you endured unfair or unjust treatment in your own life?

Are you willing to entrust your life to God with confidence in His justness and mercy?


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