I’m stuck on Psalm 9 this morning (actually it started yesterday). In particular, this verse keeps ringing in my ears:
But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish. Psalm 9:18
How can anyone be still after hearing that God is so concerned for the needy? Can we just read this verse and continue unmoved? Sometimes I wonder if we’ve heard this so much that we simply stop listening. Many are convinced that the problem is so big that there is nothing one person can do to stem the tide of despair in our community. I don’t think this is a valid observation. From my perspective, the opposite is closer to the truth. The needy and the afflicted are near and dear to the heart of God. When we come upon an issue that is beyond our reach, we have the opportunity to see His hand at work. And here’s the thing: His hand is actually attached to our arms.
Pastor Jay Sloan illustrated this point in a sermon at Artisan Fellowship one Sunday earlier this year. In reference to Shea Abramo’s painting, he asked us to consider that the canvas was at one point, just a plain white surface. We now see the beautiful painting that inspired Shea to pick up the brush, dip it into various pigments, and render what God planted in her mind. Did God paint the picture? Yes indeed. God painted the picture through the hands and artistry of one who is listening to the Spirit speak to her heart.
God will never forget. Neither should we.
The second part of this simple verse reminds us of this amazing truth:
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
The hope, in this case, is none other than the Almighty God, the Holy One, the Creator of all. He will never perish, and He is always concerned.
Before closing out this post, let’s take a quick look at the first word from verse 18: but. If there’s a but at the beginning, there must be something preceding that requires our attention, so let’s back up to verses 15-17:
The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God. Psalm 9:15-17
The nations who have forgotten the ways of the Lord will be snared by their own noose. Take a look at the subtitle for this psalm as written in the NIV:
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.
Ouch! I wonder what that tune sounds like! The title alone paints an ugly portrait I would not want to display in my home!
Let’s end on a positive note:
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
For those who work with the oppressed, the lost, the lonely, please hear the words of the psalmist and know that you are in great company. When you are providing shelter, food, clothing, and much more, you are the hands and feet of the Lord. May God bless your work! Amen.