Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
It seems that we're all born with an innate sense of justice. One of the first cries of a child who's learnt to speak is: ″But that's not fair.″ Few things make me angrier than injustice, particularly when I think I'm the victim.
The heading of Psalm 7 tells us it's a song which David ″sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjaminite″. Since the song tells of enemies pursuing David to ″tear [him] apart like a lion″ (v. 2), it's been suggested that Cush was King Saul's ″hit man″, sent to find and kill David when Saul grew jealous at his popularity. It was a terrifying prospect for David, who takes refuge in God (v. 1). A faithful Christian can still trust God while being very scared in frightening circumstances.
The cry of David's heart is a cry for justice. He's prepared to admit that, if he has done something wrong, even to his enemy (vv. 3-5), then he deserves whatever evil comes to him. But if innocent, he knows the murderous attacks are entirely undeserved.
David's song becomes a prayer. God alone ″probes minds and hearts″ (v. 9), so He is able to ″judge the peoples″ (v. 8). David is innocent, so he confidently prays: ″Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity″ (v. 8). Let's be clear: David is not claiming to be perfect; he's simply affirming his consistent loyalty both to God and to other people.
The God of justice can be relied upon to save ″the upright in heart″ (v. 10) as well as to display ″his wrath every day″ (v. 11) towards the wicked. How will God daily display his wrath? Normally God ordains judgment so that, ″whoever digs a hole . . . falls into the pit″ (v. 15). The biter will be bitten. Sin has consequences, and a just God will order these consequences.
Let's learn two things from Psalm 7. Firstly, like David, we must keep a clear conscience, knowing that we've not done anything to deserve retribution. Secondly, remember again the Lord Jesus, who, like David, faced enemies who tried to ″rip me to pieces″ (v. 2). Yet He turned the other cheek and ″entrusted himself to him who judges justly″ (1 Peter 2:23).
When people treat us unjustly, it can make us both hurt and angry. What can we learn from Psalm 7 and the experience of the Lord Jesus in how to respond to injustice?
David writes that God ″displays his wrath″ every day (v. 11). Paul says the same thing in Romans 1:18-27. What evidence do King David and the apostle Paul see of God's wrath operating in the world?