In Our Humility, God Becomes Our Vindicator–Psalm 7
2 Lord my God, in You I trusted;
save me; rescue me from all who pursue me,
3 Lest someone maul me like a lion,
tear my soul apart with no one to deliver.
4 Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is guilt on my hands,
5 If I have maltreated someone treating me equitably—
or even despoiled my oppressor without cause—
6 Then let my enemy pursue and overtake my soul,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my honor in the dust.
7 Rise up, Lord, in Your anger;
be aroused against the outrages of my oppressors.
Stir up the justice, my God, you have commanded.
8 Have the assembly of the peoples gather about You;
and return on high above them,
9 the Lord will pass judgment on the peoples.
Judge me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
and my integrity.
10 Let the malice of the wicked end.
Uphold the just one,
O just God,
who tries hearts and minds.
11 God is a shield above me
saving the upright of heart.
12 God is a just judge, powerful and patient,
not exercising anger every day.
13 If one does not repent,
God sharpens His sword,
strings and readies the bow,
14 Prepares His deadly shafts,
makes arrows blazing thunderbolts.
15 Consider how one conceives iniquity;
is pregnant with mischief,
and gives birth to deception.
16 He digs a hole and bores it deep,
but he falls into the pit he has made.
17 His malice turns back upon his head;
his violence falls on his own skull.
18 I will thank the Lord in accordance with His justice;
I will sing the Name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 7 is a personal lament. King David flees to God’s presence seeking justice and protection (v 2-3), and takes a humble oath that only an innocent man (or woman) could muster: “Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is [any] guilt on my hands; if I have maltreated someone treating me equitably—or even despoiled my oppressor without cause—then let my enemy pursue and overtake my soul, trample my life to the ground, and lay my honor in the dust” (v 4-6). Because of his humility (and innocence!), David could hope for and rely on the Lord’s protection (v 7-14). He could rest in confidence knowing the actions of the wicked would soon return back upon their own heads (v 15-17). In the end, and despite his distressing situation, David’s security and faith in God’s protection lead him to conclude in praise (v 18).
In this particular prayer, King David took an oath before any request was made. The Church teaches that oaths must not ever be taken lightly, i.e., for frivolous matters, efforts to deceive, or with lack of proper (good-willed) intention. To do so would be an offense against the Second Commandment (not to mention completely frivolous as God knows the hearts and minds of all men). Even those times when our thoughts and/or actions won’t directly affect anyone else, we ourselves can still suffer in direct proportion to the gravity of our sin by, say, distancing ourselves from God and/or corrupting our own heart, mind and soul.
What is also noteworthy about Psalm 7 (and all the Psalms, really), is that we are, once again, reminded of God’s supreme omniscience. That He is an all-knowing, all-powerful, and infinitely just God. For the fair-minded person, God is a mighty shield against evil-doers. For the evil ones, however, an indignant Judge (v 11-14).
As you read over this Psalm today, think about how reverently King David prayed to the Lord. If you’re at a crossroads in life, in need of the Lord’s mercy and saving grace, meditate on and emulate David’s powerful practice: Before any request, examine your own life, thoughts, and actions (examination of conscience); humbly repent for whatever the Spirit brings to mind; make a well-intended oath; and then lay bare your heart to Him. As was the case for King David, and all the saints of the past, as you draw near to Him, humble and contrite in spirit, trust that He, too, will draw near to you — mighty in power; just in vindication.
When the Lord is for you, who dare be against you?