The psalmist begins with a heart filled with gratitude. As we proceed, we discover that he must be a king. He thanks God for overcoming the nations. As usual, God has been faithful to his covenant and protected the king and the nation from destruction and has passed right judgment on those would harm God’s people.
The psalm becomes a prayer of trust: “…you forsake not those who seek you, O LORD.” The prayer continues with a hymn of praise: “Sing praise to the LORD enthroned in Zion.” God is called “the avenger of blood.”
Such a person was the nearest relative who would protect other members of a tribe in various circumstances. What is important here is that God has this role for all Israel. God is, as it were, the nearest and most caring relative of Israel. Thus, the king can say to God: “..you have raised me up from the gates of death,/ That I may declare all your praises.”
This prayer can broaden our horizons. We may not be kings, but God does call us to be responsible, especially as members of the church (Zion is a type of the church). We see enemies of the church in our world and even within the church. Our call is to praise and thank God for doing good in our world and in our church. As we think of the revelation that comes from Jesus, we ask God not to destroy others, but to help all nations and all individuals to turn from evil and come to the God who loves them.
We can pray this psalm to Christ the King who is the true ruler of all nations. He is our redeemer (another way of understanding “avenger of blood”). He is always present to raise us and the church from “the gates of death.” We have every reason to praise and thank him as we enjoy his help in the ups and downs of life.
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