David penned the following words declaring where to go and what to do in times of trouble and oppression. ‘The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what He has done.’ (Ps. 9:9-11) David’s inspired words are instructive in substance and eternal in relevance.
Everyone has oppression and/or trouble at times. However in these days, it seems times of trouble and oppression are magnified since few of us live in cultures or nations that lift up the name of Jesus. If you live in Africa you live amidst tribal influence, Islamic oppression, and political corruption. If you live in Asia, you’re surrounded by government oppression, religious persecution, and cultural animosity. If you live in America you reside amid moral decay, secular mindsets, and spiritual hardness. Regardless of geographic setting we face individual and corporate trouble. That’s the bad news! But no matter how bad it may seem, there is hope and help for those who lift up the name of Jesus, praise His name, and declare His goodness.
The promise says...the Lord is a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble. He is the safe place, the secure foundation, and the strong fortress to defend, uphold , and uplift you at all times! For those who ‘know’ His name…that means those who intimately, deeply, substantively know Him. It is they, it is you and I that will therefore trust and find refuge in Him. We will find security, sanctuary, safety and strength in Him. He is our place of refuge, our stronghold!
David then puts action to his spiritual insight. He says that in the midst of all this oppression and trouble we should ‘sing praises to the Lord’. Wow! Our flesh resists praise in the midst of problems. But our spirit, the righteousness of God within us, earnestly seeks to praise and magnify Him in the midst of trouble. Praising Him is one aspect of seeking Him. Praise is directional. It is directed at someone…Him; the opposite direction of the trouble or oppression. Praise openly gives credit to Him for what He has done, who He is, what He will do. To praise is to literally throw ourselves with open arms toward Him. As we praise Him, our soul moves toward refreshing and revival. In other words we extract our mind and heart from the trouble and enter the refuge and fortress of His presence.
David then goes farther! He says to ‘proclaim among the nations what He has done’. That seems crazy! In the midst of our own problems we are to speak of Him to nations?! Can’t we at least stay in our own backyard? No! We are to live out the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) even in the midst of OUR trouble. When we praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we take on an assertive mindset rather than reactive mindset. We look boldly outward to advance His kingdom. We know that if God is for us and is our stronghold, we can assertively advance the Kingdom even in the midst of personal or cultural calamity. We don’t have to wait until the culture or circumstances change. We change the atmosphere of the culture as we proclaim Him in the nations. Today, praise Him and proclaim Him!!