Psalm 3 was a lamentation. Psalm 4 was a lamentation. Psalm 5 was a lamentation. Psalm 6 was a lamentation. And today’s psalm, Psalm 7, is a lamentation, where the psalmist once again cries out to the Lord, because of the trouble he’s in. The fact that these psalms, all written by David, have been arranged like this is surely to make clear to us that David’s life was marked by troubles and trials and persecution. And since King David points us to Christ, the King of kings, it points to the fact that Christ’s life on earth was marked by troubles and trials and persecution. And since believers are united to Christ by faith, and since we share in his suffering, then it points to the fact that our life here on earth will be marked by troubles and trials and persecution. David wrote as a prophet, foretelling the suffering of the Lord Jesus. And he wrote as a prophet, foretelling how the Lord’s people would suffer. But in whatever troubles and trials and persecution we face, we’re to remember and believe that we can call out to the Lord to help us.
The title of today’s psalm refers to Cush the Benjamite. He’s not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible; and so, we have no way of knowing who he was or what he did to David. Since King Saul was a Benjamite, some commentators speculate that this man Cush may have been one of Saul’s supporters or one of his soldiers; therefore, he may have attacked David out of loyalty to Saul. But we have no way of knowing whether that’s the case or not. However, it’s clear from what we read in the psalm, that this man Cush, and others with him, were against David. And David turned to the Lord and appealed for help.
Verses 1 and 2
The psalm opens with David’s prayer for deliverance in verses 1 and 2. David addresses God by using God’s covenant name: LORD in capital letters. This is the special name which God revealed to his people; and it’s a name which speaks of his commitment to his people and his willingness to help them. David also addresses the Lord as ‘my God’. So, just as the Lord is committed to his people, so David was committed to the Lord. He’s saying in effect: This, and this alone, is my God. This is my God; and I will trust in him alone.
And so, David turns to his God for refuge. Taking refuge in the Lord is a way of saying that David trusts in the Lord. And David cries on the Lord to save him and to deliver him from all who pursue him. He says that if the Lord does not save him, then his enemies are likely to tear him apart as a lion would. If the Lord does not deliver him, they will rip him to pieces, because there is no one else who can help him. So, David declares his faith in the Lord and calls on the Lord to save him.
Verses 3 to 5
From what we read in verses 3 to 5, it seems that David’s enemies have made all kinds of accusations against him. And David prays to the Lord and says that if any of it is true, if he has done wrong, then yes, let him be punished for his wrongdoing. However, from what he says it’s clear that David is certain of his innocence and that the charges against him are false. In fact, some of the commentators refer to these verses as an oath of innocence: David is declaring his innocence before the Lord.
And so, he begins:
If I have done this and there is guilt on my hands….
Having guilt on your hands means you’re responsible for doing something wicked. So, David has been accused of doing something evil. It’s possible that verse 4 contains specific accusations against David: that he betrayed a friend and robbed an enemy. However, it’s also possible that in verse 4 David is insisting that he hasn’t wronged anyone, whether friend or foe. He believes he’s entirely innocent; and so he’s able to say to the Lord, that if he were guilty, he’s prepared to suffer the consequences and to let God punish him. So, if I’ve done these things, then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me. If I’ve done these things, let my enemy trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. If I’ve done any of these wicked things which I’m accused of, then let me be punished for it.
However, the point is: I haven’t done any of these things. David knows he’s innocent and doesn’t deserve to be punished in any way.
Verses 6 to 13
And so, in the following verses, David calls on the Lord to arise: arise in your anger; and rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, he says to the Lord, as if the Lord has been sleeping. Awake, and decree justice: make sure that justice is done and that I am vindicated.
And he then calls on the Lord to assemble the peoples around him; and to rule over them by judging the peoples. Now, the word translated ‘peoples’ refers to the nations. So, David is not simply calling on the Lord to rule over and to judge his enemies, but to rule over and to judge the nations. He’s not thinking merely of his own personal situation, but he’s thinking of the whole world and how the whole world will one day by judged by the Lord.
And in verse 8 David asks the Lord to judge him according to his righteousness and according to his integrity. In other words, he’s again declaring his innocence. When we were studying Psalms 5 and 6, I made the point that David did not make his appeal to the Lord on the basis of his own righteousness, but on the basis of the Lord’s grace and mercy. David did not claim that he deserved God’s help, but instead he relied on God’s loving-kindness. We come before the Lord as sinners who deserve nothing but condemnation, but are trusting in him to be gracious and merciful. That’s what we learned from Psalms 5 and 6. However, in Psalm 7 David does base his appeal on his righteousness and integrity. How can that be?
It’s really very simple. In Psalm 7, David is not claiming that he’s perfect nor is he claiming that he’s perfectly righteous. All he’s saying in this psalm is that he’s innocent of the particular charges that his enemies have levelled against him. He hasn’t done what they’re accusing him of. And so, in this matter, and in this matter alone, he’s in the right.
So, David appeals to the Lord to vindicate him. And since the Lord is a righteous Judge, who searches minds and hearts, so that he knows who is guilty, and he’s never fooled by appearances, David calls on him to bring an end to the violence of the wicked and to make the righteous secure.
In verse 10, he refers to his God as being a shield and as being the God Most High. Since he’s God Most High, he rules over all. But since he’s a shield, his people are able to rely on him for protection against the wicked. And he refers once again to the Lord as a righteous judge: he’s a righteous judge, who will not only judge the nations at the end of time, but he expresses his wrath every day. Isn’t that what Paul says in Romans 1? Paul says that the Lord is revealing his wrath from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Paul doesn’t say that God will reveal his wrath, but that he is revealing his wrath. He does it every day, allowing the wicked who persist in their rebellion to fall deeper and deeper into sin and into all the misery and sorrow it causes them. And here in the psalm, David says that if the wicked person does not relent, God will sharpen his sword and he’ll bend and string his bow. He’s like a warrior, who is preparing for battle. He’s getting his deadly weapons and he’s making ready his flaming arrows to fire at the wicked who do not repent.
So, David is sure of his innocence and he’s confident that the Lord will arise and punish his enemies who are against him. But his thoughts seem to be moving beyond his own personal situation to consider how the Lord expresses his wrath every day against all the wicked; and how he will one day assemble the nations for judgment.
Verses 14 to 17
In the final verses, David compares the wicked to a pregnant woman, but instead of giving birth to a child, the wicked give birth to evil; that’s all they will bring forth. Nevertheless, the Lord will bring down trouble upon them. So, the one who digs a hole as a trap for someone else, will fall into it himself. The trouble he has caused will recoil on him like a spring and will come down on his own head. And so, though David is faced with enemies, he’s able to end the psalm with the assurance that the day is coming when he will give thanks to the Lord and sing praise to him. In other words, he’s confident that the Lord will hear and answer his prayer and save and deliver him from his enemies.
Last week I imagined the Apostle Paul going into one of the Jewish synagogues and using the psalms to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Anointed King. Let’s do the same this week.
So, imagine Paul reading this psalm to the Jews. No doubt they would all agree that the Lord is a righteous judge who rules from on high and who will judge the nations. No doubt they would all agree that the Lord is righteous and he searches minds and hearts; and he will bring an end to the violence of the wicked and he’ll make the righteous secure. No doubt they would all agree that the Lord is the Most High God, who is a shield for his people and saves them. They would all agree with everything which David says about the Lord God in this psalm.
But then Paul could point out that here we have a psalm about the Lord’s Anointed King who faced false accusations from his enemies. But God’s Anointed King was confident that the Lord, the righteous judge, would vindicate him.
And Paul could then point out how the Lord Jesus was falsely accused, because the testimony of those who bore witness against him did not agree; and even though Pilate sentenced him to death, Pilate was convinced that the Lord Jesus had done nothing wrong. David was innocent of the charges brought against him, but if anyone examine’s the life of Jesus, they’ll discover that he was completely without sin.
And Paul could then point out that the Lord God, the Most High God, vindicated the Lord Jesus by raising him from the dead. So, instead of abandoning him to the grave as a guilty sinner who deserved to be condemned forever, the Lord God raised him from the dead. So, even though the Jews were convinced that Jesus was wicked and deserved to die, even though they brought all kinds of charges against him, the Lord, the righteous judge, vindicated him, by raising him from the dead.
And we can imagine Paul looking at the Jews and saying to them: Since the Lord, the righteous judge, vindicated the Lord Jesus by raising him from the dead, you ought to repent, because so long as you doubt him, you’re putting yourself on the side of the wicked who will one day be destroyed by the righteous judge. So long as you doubt him, you’re putting yourself on the side of the violent, who violently crucified the Lord’s Anointed King. So long as you doubt him, you’re putting yourself on the side of the wicked who will face God’s wrath one day. Therefore repent and believe in the Lord Jesus. Believe that he’s the Christ, God’s Anointed King, who suffered and died for sinners and who was raised from the dead and exalted to heaven from where he will come one day to judge the living and the dead. So, repent and believe in him.
And all people everywhere ought to repent and believe in him, for there is no other name under heaven by which we’re saved.
But since our Saviour was falsely accused and since he suffered at the hands of those who did not believe, we should not be surprised if we who believe in him are falsely accused and if we suffer at the hands of those who do not believe. But when we suffer, we too can go to the Lord our God and cry out to him in the name of Jesus and ask him to save and deliver us from all who pursue us. And since the Lord our God heard and answered our Saviour, we know that he will hear and answer us as well.