A Stronghold for the Oppressed

Psalms 9:9-12 ESV

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”

Believing in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives not only provides us with salvation from our bondage to sin, empowerment to live holy lives pleasing to God, the hope of heaven when we die, the Holy Spirit to indwell us to teach, encourage, counsel and lead us in the way that we should go, and an intimate relationship with Almighty God, but it also promises us a life of suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of his gospel.

Yet, the Lord is our strength. He is our stronghold in times of trouble. He gives us all that we need to endure unjust suffering and persecution at the hands of our enemies, from those who strongly oppose us and who oppose Jesus Christ and his gospel. He provides all that we need to endure, and to grow in our walks of faith through it all. For suffering is for our good, for it produces in us perseverance, spiritual maturity, righteousness, and holiness.

Through our times of suffering we are becoming more like Jesus, we are maturing in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, we are getting to know our Lord intimately, and we are learning more of what all he has for us and that he has for us to do. We are drawing closer to our Lord in intimate fellowship with him, learning from his Word and from his Spirit how to live according to the Spirit and how to do what God has called us to do.

And some of the main things he wants all of us to do, besides to forsake our sins and to follow him in obedience to his ways, is for us to sing his praises and to proclaim his gospel to the world around us, and to use the Spiritual gifts he has given to each one of us for the glory of God to encourage and to help strengthen the other members of the body of Christ so that they can also grow to maturity in Christ and to walk in his ways.

[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-21; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]

Psalms 9:13-16 ESV

“Be gracious to me, O Lord!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah”

Jesus said that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted by his enemies. And who were his greatest enemies? They were the rulers and the teachers of the Scriptures in the temple of God. They were his fellow Jews, and they were his family members, and perhaps even his neighbors, for they were his own people who were opposed to him and who fought against him.

So, we should not be surprised in the least if some of our strongest opposition comes from within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely being called church), including from pastors and elders and teachers of the Scriptures, and from the congregants in these gatherings, and from our family, friends, and/or neighbors. For many people within the gatherings of the church are opposed to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But, again, the Lord is our strength and support. He helps us through these difficult times, and he gives us the words that we need to say. For he is God, but he also went through what we are going through, and so he sympathizes with us in our times of trial and difficulty. And he encourages us through his Word, and through spiritual songs and hymns, and through other Christians who are also following him with their lives.

The wicked, although the Lord is allowing them to live, for now, and to do evil things, even against his anointed, will have their day in court before God, and they will be judged for the evil that they have done. And the wicked are all who make sin their practice and who stand in opposition to Jesus Christ and to his gospel – the true gospel as is taught in the Scriptures, in context, not the half-truth gospel many are pushing now.

Psalms 9:17-20 ESV

“The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah”

Again, the wicked are not just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but they are all who practice wickedness (sin), so they include those who profess faith in Jesus but who deny him as Lord of their lives and who refuse to forsake their sinful practices and to walk in obedience to his commands. So, just know that just because you have confessed Jesus as your Savior, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you are on his side.

If sin is what you practice, and if righteousness is not what you practice, and if you are not obeying the Lord as a matter of practice, then you will not inherit eternal life with God. Your place will be among the wicked in hell, not among the righteous in heaven, unless you repent and turn from your wicked ways and now walk in humble surrender and obedience to your Lord in his power at work in your heart and life.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]

So, this is a plea to God to not let man (the flesh) prevail, but to let the nations that do wickedly be judged by God, that God would put the fear of God within them so that they know that they are but men and not gods. And this isn’t because the Psalmist just wants to punish them or to make them pay for their evil deeds, but it appears to me that the purpose here is that they would be humbled before God in the hope that they would turn away from their wicked ways and that they would put their trust in God.

But God is allowing evil to reign right now, and it is going to get worse, according to the Scriptures. But I believe as things get much worse that blinded eyes are going to be opened to the truth and that they will turn from their wicked ways and that they will call on God in truth, and they will turn their hearts to the Lord to follow him in his ways for as long as they still have the breath of life, but they will still be few in number.

Fully Ready!

An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”

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