Psalm 7:1-17; 8
"The Lord judges the peoples; vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity" (Ps 7:8, HCSB).
Theme: When (not if) you experience injustice, know for certain that God is NEVER indifferent toward injustice.
What do you do when you feel misunderstood, maligned and marginalized? Psalm 7 is an individual lament, petition and prayer by an innocent person who was slandered, opposed and attacked by those who wanted to disgrace, discredit, dishonor and defeat him.
Psalm 7 is titled in different commentaries as follows:
- A Cry for Justice (Ps 7:8-10). [Derek Kidner]
- The Blessing of a Good Conscience (Ps 7:3-5, 9-10). [Alec Motyer]
- Surviving Slander (Ps 7:1-2, 6, 14; 4:2; 5:6, 9). [George Zemek]
Justice. David's primary concerns and motivations were not just for his own personal vindication, but for universal justice before a Righteous Judge who examines each person's thoughts and emotions (Ps 7:8-10).
Conscience. Despite being slandered, opposed and criticized, David checked his conscience before God (Ps 7:3-5), instead of retaliating with the spirit of vengeance and revenge.
Slander. David was being ruthlessly slandered by his adversaries (Ps 7:1-2, 6, 14; 4:2; 5:6, 9). Oftentimes slander causes a deeper hurt than mere persecution, for slander accuses a person of lacking nobility, integrity and character. In eastern culture it is like accusing someone of having "no face." Slander does not address one's words or behavior, but cuts to the heart of one's very core inner being. Saying, "I don't agree with the words you said and the actions you took," is quite different from saying, "you are untrustworthy and disloyal; you are despicable and vile; you are not a human being but a monkey."
Preserve a clear and blameless conscience. The title says that David sang this psalm concerning Cush, a Benjamite, who perhaps accused David of being disloyal to Saul, Israel's first king, who was from the tribe of Benjamin. But David knew that no accusation of disloyalty against Saul was true. Even before God's judgment seat (Ps 7:6-7, 10-13), his conscience was clear (Ps 7:8b-9). Psalm 7 is a summons to preserve in all things a blameless conscience (Ac 24:16; Heb 13:18; 1 Pet 3:16).
From being betrayed to experiencing blessing; from man's persecution to God's peace. Psalm 7 moves from the intensely personal plea of a man who is betrayed and hounded, to the convinction that God is the judge of all the earth, and that wickedness is self-defeating, and finally ends with confidence and praise.
What do you do when you are slandered, opposed, maligned, and attacked? Like David, you can do the following:
- Pray (1-2): Seek refuge in God.
- Pledge (3-5): Search you heart. Don't cheat your conscience.
- Plead (6-9): Cry out for justice
- Proclaim (10-11): God is the Righteous Judge who searches all hearts.
- Ponder and Pause (12-16): Consider God's sure and certain justice.
- Prevail and Praise (17): Thank God and praise God!
- Motyer, J Alec. The Psalms. New Bible Commentary. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1994. Psalm 7 - The Blessing of a Good Conscience:
- Present shelter and prayer (1-2).
- Sin and its reward: David's testimony (3-5).
- The God of Justice: the final judgment (6-8a).
- A clear conscience before God (8b-9).
- The God of Justice: Savior and Judge (10-13).
- Sin and its reward: an inevitablity (14-16).
- Envisaged thanks and praise (17).
- Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1 - 72: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1973. Psalm 7 - A Cry for Justice:
- The hunted man (1-2).
- The oath of innocence (3-5).
- The righteous judge (6-11).
- Sin, when it is finished... (12-16).
- Thankful praise (17).
- Zemek, George. Road Maps for the Psalms: Inductive Preaching Outlines Based on the Hebrew Text. Valencia, CA: The Master's Academy International, 2006. Psalm 7 - Surviving Slander. Follow David attitudinally through three progressively calming stages of expression in response to the painfully false accusations that were being hurled at him.
- David's concern (1-5): He passionately begs God's attention.
- David's court (6-16): He argues his case before God.
- David's composure (17): He patiently waits for God's verdict.
- ESV Study Bible. Psalm 7 - In You Do I Take Refuge:
- Cry for safety (1-2).
- Claim of innocence (3-5).
- Call to God to arise and judge (6-11).
- Evil returns upon the evildoers (12-16).
- Closing confidence (17).