EXPLORING THE WORD
Psalm 7: God, our Rescue
By William Stewart
Introduction — "A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite."
Not every Psalm includes a title, but when it does, we should pay attention. Shiggaian (Hebrew: Shiggayown) means a dithyramb or rambling poem, and is only found in one other place — Habakkuk 3:1. Both David and Habakkuk were writing of extremely dire situations. David wrote about the otherwise unidentified Cush, but I believe it was King Saul because he was the one who mostly persecuted David (1 Samuel 23:8-25) and a Benjamite (1 Samuel 9:1). David wrote of Saul's pursuing him, and Habakkuk wrote of the wrath of the Lord pursuing His people Israel (Habakkuk 3:2-23). Both were situations first of anguish and later of God's deliverance.
Psalm 7:1-2 — "Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me."
David knew only the Lord would be his refuge (Hebrew: chacah, to seek refuge in or put my trust in, in a military sense, a shield) from King Saul who was pursuing him. Being torn by a lion expressed a most terrifying death, but is a natural thought in the mind of the shepherd king who had taken a lion by his beard (1 Samuel 17:34-35).
There may be times we feel we are in a difficult situation with no one to rescue us. Yet, if we are one of God's children by faith in Christ Jesus (John 1:11-13), we can have confidence as He promises in Hebrews 13:5-6: "...because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"
Psalm 7:3-5 — "O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands — if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe — then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust."
David was not claiming he was innocent of all sin, but if he was guilty of anything against the one pursuing him (King Saul) then let him be overtaken and killed. Similarly, when we experience problems, we should quickly turn to self-examination to see if we have unconfessed sin against the Lord or another person (1 John 1:8-10).
Psalm 7:6-7 — "Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high..."
Yes, God can become angry, but it is always righteous anger and always against sin (Romans 6:23). Following self-examination, David turns to ask God to execute righteous justice against his enemies before the people.
Psalm 7:8-10 —"...let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart."
In declaring his innocence, David first asked God to judge him as to his righteousness (a right, moral life) and integrity (inward morality, innocence) knowing that God already knows his life, as He knows all things in our minds and hearts. Then he asks the Lord to end the violence (Hebrew; ra, bad, evil), referring to wicked Saul's seeking to kill him. He then adds for Him to make the righteous (himself) secure (safe). In the language of a warrior ("my shield") he describes the protection of the God Most High (Hebrew: yasha elohiym, "Elohim who saves"); who saves the upright in heart.
Believers in Christ have been given the righteousness of Christ when they believed, as seen in 1 Corinthians 1:30-31: "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'" We read also in Romans 1:17, "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"
Psalm 7:11-13 — "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows."
These verses express God as a righteous judge who warns of His wrath, still David adds; "If he does not relent..." (Hebrew: shuwb, to turn back). David remembered how God had turned back His wrath after David had sinned with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:13).
In the New Testament God warns of the penalty of sin and His relenting of judgment in Romans 3:23, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." and Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is referred to as the grace of God: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Psalm 7:14-16 — "He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head."
These verses state that evil always comes back in judgments upon the evildoer. One today might say, "What goes around comes around"; but God's word says:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10Psalm 7:17 — "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."
This is just how one would expect David to end this Psalm:
...the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs...Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire? But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand. 2 Samuel 23:1, 5-6Just so, because of God's grace Christians today should "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16-17).
I hope you experience the grace of God in your life; verses are taken from The New International Version (NIV).
Image Credit: Garrett Charles; "Hiding"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Hardships | Sin-Evil
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