Opening Up a Thanksgiving Can – Psalm 9 [Totally Hip Gratitude]

Psalm 9 Bible with Equal Exchange Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper

Today’s ChocolateEqual Exchange Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper

Today’s Passage: Zechariah 10 Psalm 9

Happy Thanksgiving, Chocolate Book fam. If I were smarter, I would have thought ahead and planned out a Totally Hip Gratitude post in keeping with the holiday. And I suppose it’s not too late to set Zechariah 10 aside, dig out my word search for “thanks,” pick a reference, and continue my study on gratitude. So why don’t I do that? Seriously, why don’t I do that? I’m going to do that.

How about Psalm 9? It’s right there in the first line: “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart” (1). The NASB even titles it “A Psalm of Thanksgiving for God’s Justice!” It’s got praise and thanksgiving and gladness right out the gate.

And then we hit the judgment and wrath. David wrote this psalm, and among other things, he’s celebrating God’s punishment of evil. His celebration of God’s justice contains lines such as:

When my enemies turn back,
They stumble and perish before You.
…You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins,
And You have uprooted the cities;
The very memory of them has perished. (3, 5-6)

David is rejoicing that evil carries the death penalty. It’s not the most brutal passage concerning God’s execution of justice, but the point remains that David delights in the misfortune of evil men.

I suspect that in digging into these verses, I’d inevitably end up recapitulating previous lines of thought. I might note that these people, evil as they are, merit the punishment that God metes out. But why does God not show forgiveness to them? He preserves and rescues their victims (“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (9)), but why is he selective in his mercy, and why did he allow these evildoers to commit evil in the first place? David doesn’t seem to have any of these issues. I do observe that he’s celebrating the demise of the wicked in this life–all have committed evil, so in time all die–but that only brings up the question of what befalls these people in the next life, and we know the traditional Christian answer to that.

And it makes me tired to go around in these circles. Ultimately, who or what is at the top here? If God created the universe, he can make it a moral universe, with whatever moral rules governing it that he pleases. That may seem arbitrary, but I can get behind a God who plays by his own rules. So, we evil humans must die for our sins? If God himself, not having done any evil to deserve death, will submit himself even to death on a cross for our sakes…well, that’s more than playing by his own rules. That’s going the extra mile.

And I’m grateful for it. Happy Christgiving.

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