Scriptures

Psalm 7

Introduction

This psalm is a lament of David, possibly when he was fleeing from Saul, Psalm 34 / Psalm 52 / Psalm 54 / Psalm 56 / Psalm 57 / Psalm 59 / Psalm 142.

Some commentators believe that ‘this Psalm was once two Psalms and that they have been welded together. The first five verses and the last six have the story of an innocent man, slandered, persecuted, and pursued with hatred, and in Psalms 7:6-11 personified Israel asks for justice at God’s hands, and begs him to summon all nations to the great assize, the Final Judgment, that they may attest the Divine Sentence that declares Israel innocent.’

Some believe that ‘the first of these is one of eight passages traditionally associated with David’s flight from the wrath of King Saul. The other seven are, are the psalms mentioned above.’

Heading

‘A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite’.

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding about the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

A shiggaion is a lyrical poem composed under strong mental emotion, a song of impassioned imagination accompanied with suitable music; a dithyrambic ode, Habakkuk 3:1.

We know that Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and the mention of Cush as a member of that tribe supports the theory that David was falsely accused of treason against Saul, 1 Samuel 24:9, and of plotting against him, by members of Saul’s tribe.

We also know that David was brutally slandered by Doeg, 1 Samuel 22:18-19, and that Saul vigorously pursued David with the purpose of killing him.

‘LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands—if I have repaid my ally with evil 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. Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure—you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.’ Psalm 7:1-10

David here, sees God has his refuge, his safe haven and places in his faith in God to deliver him from his enemies. This could either be king Saul or Cush who was pursuing him, 2 Samuel 16:5-23 / 2 Samuel 20:1-25.

Coffman, in his commentary pints out the following.

‘Notice the triple ‘if’ in Psalms 7:3-5. This format was typical of what was called The Oath of Clearance which is mentioned in 1 Kings 8:31-32. When one was accused, he could go to the temple and there take a solemn oath after the pattern noted here, asking that God would receive his affirmation as righteous and true, including a curse upon his own head in case his oath was false. This oath was supposed to be taken in the Temple and administered by the priests; but it was sometimes taken elsewhere. Job is supposed to have had this Oath of Clearance in mind in the words of Job 31:5-40.’

Because David uses the words ‘if I have done this’, this suggest that he may be confessing some unknown sin that he may have committed that justified his fleeing from Saul.

It’s also possible that he thought God was disciplining him for something he wasn’t aware of. If he had done something that was worthy of the discipline he was suffering, then he would have felt that he deserved to be disciplined.

When David fled from Saul, he didn’t retaliate with the evil he had from the hands of Saul. He could have easily murdered Saul but he chose not to, 1 Samuel 24:1-22 / 1 Samuel 26:1-25.

David was pretty confident in his righteousness but not arrogant and so he asks God to judge him and discipline if it was appropriate. If he were found righteous, however, then he called on the just Judge to render judgment upon the wicked.

Notice it is God who ‘probes the hearts and minds’, in other words, God is dealing with people’s emotions and their consciences, Psalm 4:7 / Jeremiah 11:20 / Jeremiah 17:10 / Jeremiah 20:12.

David once again calls God is ‘shield’, that is protector and defender. He knew full well that he couldn’t stand against his enemies alone, he needed God to defend him. David claimed to be right before God, but not arrogantly, and because of this God is going to deal justly in his present situation.

‘God is a righteous judge, a God who displays 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. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.’ Psalm 7:11-17

David knows that God is a righteous judge, he knew that God would do what is right, Genesis 18:22-25. God is just in His judgments concerning the righteous and the unrighteous, hence why He pours out His wrath on the wicked who refuse to repent and blesses those who are obedient to Him.

People can’t have it both ways, He can’t justly pour out blessings on the righteous if He doesn’t bring just judgment on the wicked.

The mention of a ‘sharpened sword and a bent bow’, tells us that God is prepared and ready to judge the wicked. The ‘flaming arrows’ are used as a metaphor from a warrior who has his arrow points dipped in tar and ready to shoot fire toward the defence defences of the enemy.

The words, ‘conceived with evil and giving birth to disillusionment’ are simply used to tell us about the source of sin, it comes from within, James 1:14-15. The sinner gives birth to sin as a mother gives birth to children, from within.

Notice that the wicked ‘recoil’, that is, they will reap the consequences of their sin. They did a hole and fall into themselves, Esther 7:10 / Matthew 15:14, they are deceived and go on to deceive others, 2 Timothy 3:13.

All too often the wicked appear to get away with their crimes and slip through the cracks of world justice system, however, they may get away with their wickedness in this life, but they won’t get away with it on judgment day, because God’s justice system doesn’t have any cracks in it, Matthew 25:31-46 / Hebrews 9:27 / Revelation 21:8.

David begun this psalm with doom and gloom but ends it on a very high tone. He acknowledges God’s righteousness and he ‘will sing praises of the name of the LORD Most High.’ Genesis 14:17-24 / Luke 8:18 /Matthew 8:29 /Acts 7:48.

While the wicked go from bad to worse, David commits himself to the Lord, which indicates he totally trusts that God’s judgments will be true and just.

Conclusion

Although David spoke of his own righteousness, he wasn’t being self-righteous. Self-righteousness can be a problem for many people, especially religious people, as they often measure their own righteousness against others, Luke 7:36-50.

It’s all too easy to look at the faults of others instead of looking into the mirror, Matthew 7:1-5.

Instead of measuring our righteousness with other people, maybe we should simply remember that all our righteous acts mean nothing to God, Isaiah 64:6. Maybe we should remember that the righteousness we do have only comes because of and through what Christ has done, Romans 3:9-18.

There is a well-known saying which is very appropriate in dealing with the Lord’s judgment day. It states, ‘Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done’.

When ‘the books’ are opened before God, Revelation 20:12-15, it will not be because He needs to be reminded what men have done in their lives, or because He needs to weigh up the evidence, for or against them. It will be in order that every individual may know and understand clearly, why God’s verdict is just, and why the sentence is deserved.

No-one who is banished eternally from God’s presence will be left in any doubt as to the reason. No-one will be able to say, ‘I don’t deserve this!’, or ‘I don’t understand why I am being treated in this way!’ Justice will truly be ‘seen’ to be done.

Go To Psalm 8

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

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