Torn Soul, Psalm 7

When someone circulates lies and unjust accusations against you, read Psalm 7.

The superscription tells us that David sang this psalm to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite. Since Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, Cush may have been one of Saul’s relatives. From the context of the psalm, Cush apparently spread falsehoods that unjustly accused David of repaying a friend with evil and plundering an enemy without cause. These accusations so drastically distress David that he feels as if his essence is being shredded.

But even in this great emotional turmoil, David takes refuge in God:

O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;
    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
   rending it in pieces, with none to deliver (Psalm 7:1-2, ESV).

David knows that if God does not deliver him, no one can. Since he speaks of multiple pursuers, Cush evidently wasn’t the only one shredding David’s soul. Lies damage the core of one’s being so severely that David compares it to a lion tearing apart his very soul.

Recognizing that an honest assessment of his own sin and repentance are crucial, David examines his heart and his actions. But that self-examination leads him to know the truth. He has not done the things of which he is accused. He brings these accusations to the Lord and lays them at the throne of grace.

O LORD my God, if I have done this,
   if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend with evil
   or plundered my enemy without cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
   and let him trample my life to the ground
   and lay my glory in the dust (Psalm 7:3-5, ESV).

Being convinced of his innocence regarding these accusations, David places himself totally in God’s hands. If he has, indeed, committed such sins, he asks God to allow his enemy to triumph over him.

But since he has not committed these sins, he has the confidence to beg God to act on his behalf:

Arise, O LORD, in your anger;
    lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
    awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
   over it return on high (Psalm 7:6-7, ESV).

David knows that God has appointed a judgment over his enemies. Even if David does not see justice during his life, he knows that God will judge his enemies some day. Every evil person will have to give an account of their actions before Christ on Judgment Day. Christ will return from on high to judge all people who have ever existed, the living and the dead.

While he acknowledges God’s great judgment in the future, David implies that God will judge people in the present as well. He asks God to judge him in this particular situation according to his righteousness and integrity.

The LORD judges the peoples;
    judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness
   and according to the integrity that is in me (Psalm 7:8, ESV).

God knows the hearts and minds of each person. David prays that the wicked will fail, while the righteous are established (Psalm 7:9, ESV):

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
   and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
   O righteous God!

God is the shield who saves the upright. God does not ignore sin. He is a righteous judge, who daily feels angry over sin.

My shield is with God,
   who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
   and a God who feels indignation every day. (Psalm 7:10-11, ESV).

The next section of Psalm 7 vividly depicts God’s judgment against the unrepentant.

If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
   he has bent and readied his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
   making his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
   and is pregnant with mischief
   and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
   and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
   and on his own skull his violence descends (Psalm 7:12-16).

Failure to repent brings destruction. The wicked will not win. Their plans may grow and develop as they scheme for months, before giving birth to lies. But God will turn their elaborate schemes upside down. He will orchestrate events so that the wicked man’s plots become his own downfall. He falls into the hole he has dug. His violence descends upon his own head.

Confident of God’s justice, David thanks and praises God:

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
   and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High (Psalm 7:17, ESV).

With David, we can have confidence that wicked people who spread lies about us and accuse us of falsehood will not ultimately succeed. God is our shield and a righteous judge. He will not allow evil to go unpunished. He will work all things for the good of those who love him. Trust him!

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