God Forgets Not the Cry of the Afflicted

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.”

Who are the oppressed? They are the crushed, broken, afflicted, and dejected. They are the abused, the mistreated, those having lies spread about them, and those treated with malice and contempt. They are the lonely and the hurting, the forsaken and the forgotten. They are the abandoned and the unwanted and those considered by some as undesirable.

They are those who are treated as though they don’t matter, as though they have no value, as though they have nothing to offer, and as though they are just in other people’s way. They are regarded as not worthy of other people’s time. And they are those who are being silenced, whose voices are not being heard, and those who others accuse falsely of what they did not do. And they are those who are not being believed, although they tell the truth. But the liars, abusers, and the deceivers are being believed.

The oppressed are throw aways, the discarded, and the unwanted. And sometimes this is because they are followers of Jesus Christ who love the Lord, and who are living holy and godly lives in a sin-crazed world and in a worldly and fleshly “church” where they are being mistreated because of their walks of faith and their obedience to the Lord Jesus. And it is heartbreaking that even their brothers and sisters in Christ, or those who profess to be so, are their persecutors and those who want nothing to do with them at all and/or who are turning against them in their pain.

But the Lord Jesus is our stronghold in our times of trouble and distress when others mistreat us and speak evil against us and/or when they accuse us wrongfully of what we did not do. He is our stronghold when they treat us in these types of ways mentioned here. And where other humans abuse us and forsake us, if our trust is truly in Jesus Christ, he is our refuge. He will not forsake us. He will not turn away from us. In fact, sometimes he uses these types of situations in our lives to make us ready to do what he has called us to do, and so he uses us then in the lives of other people.

And so we should, in all our troubles, see that God is fully sovereign over our lives and that he allows us to go through such troubles in order to make us into the people he wants us to be. And sometimes he uses these specific circumstances, not just to grow us to maturity in him, but so that we understand and can empathize with others who are being treated in like manner, and so that we can share with him what the Lord did in our lives when we went through something like they are going through. For our Lord does not forget the cry of the afflicted. Amen!

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”

Sometimes the Lord physically removes us from such difficult situations as have been mentioned here, and sometimes he does not. But whether or not we are physically delivered from such hurtful situations, the Lord is working good in our lives through it all, if we will let him. He matures us and he prunes and he purifies us, and he makes us more like Jesus, and we gain wisdom and understanding and compassionate hearts, etc. And he draws us closer to himself and he strengthens us in our walks of faith, too.

And sometimes he immediately judges our persecutors, and sometimes that doesn’t happen until much later, and he may even not judge them at all until the day when he returns to judge and then to take his faithful ones to be with him for eternity. And he has his reasons for why he does things the way he does in the timing that he does them, and it is not our place to question his judgments. But we can pray for deliverance, and we can pray for our Lord to be gracious to us, and we can pray for his mercy and for his grace.

Now, verses 15-16 are a very fitting description of our persecutors and those who oppress God’s faithful ones. Whether or not we see God’s execution of judgment in their lives, they are being judged by God and they are miserable individuals who choose their evil over God and over loving other people. If not now, eventually it will all come back to bite them.

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”

Now, this is a very sad reality. But not everyone is going to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, not even everyone we pray for to believe in Jesus and to follow him with their lives. And it just breaks my heart to watch people who know the truth turn their backs on the truth that they know and to go after their idols, instead. They know better. They know what the Scriptures teach. And yet they continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against other humans, deliberately doing to others what they know is going to harm them.

I am not a “get even” kind of person, even though I have been hurt much over my lifetime by evildoers and by those who care nothing about whether their actions hurt others or not. And I am not the kind of person who asks for the Lord to rain down judgment on evil people. I pray for their salvation. I pray that their hearts will be convicted of sin and that they will turn from their sins to walk in obedience to the Lord. But sometimes I do pray that God will do something to get their attention so they will turn from their sins and so they will now surrender their hearts to the Lord and obey him.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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