“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you,” writes Joseph Heller in his classic 1961 novel “Catch-22.”
And David, the writer of this song, could be forgiven for being described as paranoid. Enemies were indeed out to get him. The superscription to the Psalm says that this related to a fellow named Cush – of the tribe of Benjamin – who was evidently leading the effort to harm David. This is certainly from the time of David’s life when Saul was out to capture him. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin.
Have you ever lived through such a time – perhaps at your place of work – where there was someone who was intent on getting you and destroying you? It sadly happens all too often in a terribly sinful and fallen world. Right now, quickly, I can name two situations of folks I know who are facing this very real situation. Both are falsely accused in what is ridiculous fashion, yet fear abounds that a judge will not see the entire scenario accurately so as to render a just verdict.
With today’s devotional and reading, we begin with a new category of Psalms – the Lament. Up to this point over our three weeks, we have been reading and writing about the common category of the Praise Psalms.
Even our modern music contains a large percentage of songs that cry out from the soul about life’s sadness – of pain and relationships lost. Not all music is about love, romance, sunshine, happiness, parties and good times. We even have a genre of music called “the blues” and it has been said that King David was the first blues musician!
Actually, about 40% of the songs / Psalms in “God’s Playlist” of 150 tunes are Laments. And often, as in Psalm 7 today, the writer is pleading with God for justice to prevail when every appearance is that injustice is winning the day.
A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.
1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, 2 or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
David says he is pursued, though not guilty in any way. If he is guilty, he basically says to God to go ahead and let his enemy prevail over him, and let he himself die if he is not affirming the truth.
3 Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands—4 if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe—5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.
David prays for God to rise up from inaction, and as the righteous judge to vindicate his cause in just action against his enemies.
6 Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. 7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. 8 Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. 9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure—you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.
David feels he is in good hands if he can be sure he is in God’s hands. He knows God is just and that he displays that justice every day. He believes God is ready with weapons at hand to vindicate his cause.
10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. 12 If he does not relent, hewill sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows.
David expresses his confidence that God’s system of justice will ultimately prevail with the Lord turning the circumstances upside-down … that “what goes around, will come around.” The picture is of a person digging a hole and preparing a pit to surprisingly capture prey … or an unsuspecting enemy. But before it can find success, the fool falls into his own pit and becomes the victim in a place prepared for others.
14 Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Sometimes injustice will prevail in a sinful world. But if such is to happen to one of us as God’s children, it is not because he is unaware. It would not be because he does not care or in unable to do something about it. God will be just in the end; justice will prevail. You can take that to the bank … even if it really is true that someone is out to get you!