Echoes From the Campfire

A man needs to see some mountains every morning so he stays humble.”
         –Duane Boehm  (Gideon Johann)

    “For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.”
         –Hebrews 10:36 (HCSB)
Psalm 9 (HCSB)
         11 Sing to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; proclaim His deeds among the nations.
         12 For the One who seeks an accounting for bloodshed remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
         13 Be gracious to me, Lord; consider my affliction at the hands of those who hate me.  Lift me up from the gates of death,
         14 so that I may declare all Your praises.  I will rejoice in Your salvation within the gates of Daughter Zion.
         15 The nations have fallen into the pit they made; their foot is caught in the net they have concealed.
         16 The Lord has revealed Himself; He has executed justice, striking down the wicked by the work of their hands.  Higgaion. Selah
         17 The wicked will return to Sheol—all the nations that forget God.
         18 For the oppressed will not always be forgotten; the hope of the afflicted will not perish forever.
         19 Rise up, Lord! Do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your presence.
         20 Put terror in them, Lord; let the nations know they are only men.  Selah.

This portion of Psalm 9 is rather somber.  David, a military man, always maintained a concern for the poor and needy.  The soldier is able to see this from a perspective quite different from the average man, the civilian, for he has seen his share of this because of the ravages of war.  David reminds us that God doe not forget His!  For to be forgotten devalues personhood; and affliction compounds loneliness and isolation.  In the midst of all this God is there and sees His children.
    In these verses, look closely.  We see the thoughts of Job, “surely my Redeemer lives.”  The idea of the Redeemer is present; the Redeemer is the family blood avenger.  Paul reminds us that “vengeance is mine”–the Redeemer does not forget.  Man, who is he is the presence of the Almighty?  There is coming a time where justice in its purity shall be seen.  The Lord will come with justice in His hand.
    Even in affliction there is a time to sing praises.  Praises for what the Lord will do.  Actually, when we are in despair; when we find ourselves in “prison” no matter what type, we should be like Paul and Silas and begin to sing praises.  The early church leader, John Chrysostom, put it in more poetic terms, “Prayer is a have to the shipwrecked, a staff to limbs that totter, a mine of jewels to the poor, a healer of disease, and a guardian of health.”  
    God does not forget.  He does not forget the afflicted and oppressed.  He does not forget the wicked and their works.  Therefore, in our lives on this earth we need to praise Him.

               “O Lord, you are a shelter
                For all who are oppressed;
                A refuge and a hiding place
                For those who are distressed.”
                      –Isaac Watts