Our Defense is YHWH (Psalm 7)


The Anger and Justice of YHWH Psalm 7:1-13

  1. The Lord judges the people, and us based on our righteousness, our inner integrity.  He is our defender, and our salvation He makes us upright in heart.  But against the wicked His anger is constant or perfect daily.
  2. Finally, the central focus is summarized in v9. For in introducing this focus, the wicked and their end vs the righteous and their salvation are all completed according to the sovereign will of God.
  3. Note the flow of the Hebrew provides a parallel organized throughout the 17 verses which is reflected in the following verses and notes, drawing the attention to central theme at vv8-11. YHWH is Judge, He condemns wickedness, He judges righteous, He is to be praised.

Psalm 7:title–2 (NKJV)
A Meditation Of David, Which He Sang to the Lord Concerning the Words of Cush, a Benjamite.

1O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me,
2Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

Compare Psalm 7:17 (NKJV)
17I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

David’s life continues to be the focus of our instruction.  For as we are instructed in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, all of God’s word is profitable, and Paul often alludes to the purpose of the Scripture as for our admonishment through examples (1 Cor 19).  The character of this lament points us to the Lord as our comfort, our vindication and justifier, as well as the Lord whose anger and wrath are displayed righteously against the wicked and guilty.  Even when we are the guilty ones.  It is a Kingly Lament.

Our instruction begins with recognizing that the arguments of the wicked are only emboldened against the people of the Lord.  Those who live lives of piety and righteousness, in Christ, in submission to all proper authority, and passionately toward all people, in the hope, love and humility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – such are accused, despised, and rejected (Isaiah 53, Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21).

For the title tells us plainly that this is a (שִׁגָּי֗וֹן) Shiggaion of David, but this phrase if found only elsewhere in Habakkuk 3, and the picture which the prophet brings is a pronouncement against the sinfulness of Israel, and the promise of their destruction.

David’s cry here is some 400 years before the prophetic voice condemns the enemies of God.  David’s persecution is well known from the OT.  He was persecuted by Saul, Michal, Absalom, Shimei, Sheba, Joab, Adonijah, but above all these David remained his own worst enemy.  A view we see in this Psalm as we saw in the previous 4 laments.  David relies on God for mercy and deliverance.

Psalm 7:3–7 (NKJV)
3O Lord my God, if I have done this:  If there is iniquity in my hands,
4If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
5Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honor in the dust.
6Arise, O Lord, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!
7So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You;
For their sakes, therefore, return on high.

Contrast vv 11-16 where God is seen only as the Just Avenger, and where the fall of the wicked is a result of his own hand.

David’s main complaint is directed toward accusations against him, some of which were true, as can be seeing the character of his petition against his own sins in Psalm 51.  It is important we see David’s statements not as conditional questions; the Hebrew poetic feature uses the word (אִֽם) “for though this is.”  The character of his prayer against the wicked is not spared against himself, as he contrasts with the later verses, the devices of the wicked result in their own fall (v14-16), his words proclaim the same with these passionate pleas in verses (3-5).  This section is marked for deep reflection and meditation, as seen in (סֶֽלָה) in the passage.

Such prayers are not to be considers a sign of weakness, or loss of trust.  For if we review the events of David’s life, we note here he not only hears the accusations against him, he can through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, though he has sinned and is deserving of judgement which the Lord has commanded (v6), yet he notes the occasions for these accusation is the rage and is not motivated by those seeing righteousness or God’s Justice, but vengeance apart from God, they want David’s downfall.

Why this is important:  The condemnation of David’s sins for murdering Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 12) were the very things David ask against himself in verses 3-7.  His lament and cries are not empty, uninformed or vain.  Far from it.

The Lord has commanded judgement against David for the iniquity and plundering of Uriah’s life, and wife.  That he prays with a deep, deep sense of sorrow concerning his condemnation provides us with a picture of the man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22).

David’s primary focus is upon the kingdom and not himself, God’s kingdom and people.  Note he closes this petition asking for the sake of the God’s people, not his own.

Psalm 7:8–11 (NKJV)
8 The Lord shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.
9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end,
But establish the just;
For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
10 My defense is of God,
Who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked every day.

Properly verses 8-11 form the center of the focus of the Psalm.  V9 being the central focus.  The righteous desire not only the end of the wicked, but the judgment of the Lord.

The wicked revile God, they mock him, as we have seen from Psalm 1-6, here David reflects upon the truth which is in the heart and mind of every true child of Christ.  The assurance that God will judge all people.  That we can only stand before the Lord’s judgement in the righteousness which is our through him.  We are wise to take note that David does not view his righteousness or integrity (harmlessness) upon his own strength.  For this the second part of v9 indicates clearly, it is the righteous God who tests the hearts and minds, and v10, we see clearly that he accounts God as his defense.  Also in the former Psalm (6) he prayed under similar sorrows, “For thy mercies sake..” and also in Psalm 4 “O God of my righteousness!”

It is this character we are encouraged to reflect upon when we are tried, when testing comes, when evil is spoken against us without cause.  And only one against the oppression of physical enemies, but also the spiritual oppression which manifests itself in our own hearts and minds.  Our cry in the midst of all doubts is to be “MY DEFENSE IS GOD, WHO SAVES THE UPRIGHT IN HEART!

Verses 12-16 Contrast the condemnation for the section in vv3-8.  Note the comments in the sermon above.

Psalm 7:17 (NKJV)
17I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Finally, v17 returns us to the theme of confession, and reflecting the praise properly belongs to the LORD.  The reflections upon the wicked and their deeds are intended to comfort us, though they may also make us cry.  Our defense is of the LORD, and note David not only began this lament by calling upon the Covenant name of God (YHWH, יְהוָ֣ה), but in closing he also returns to that sacred and holiest of names.  More than reflecting praise, it is according to the righteousness of the LORD, David’s a cause to rejoice in Song is that holy name.

Beloved of the LORD!  We will find darkness in this life, for it is a valley of tears, it is filled with the betrayal of our own hearts and minds against us, it is a rotting corpse which need the LORD, our Savior Christ Jesus to lift us from the miry pit.

Let us Praise the LORD, according to his righteousness and Sing praises to his NAME!

Elder Matthew Davis
Covenant Reformed Church
at Grass Valley

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