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  • Writer's pictureChrystie Cole

Morning Pages: Psalm 7

Psalm 7, written by David, is another psalm of lament. David is familiar with trials and suffering, whether because of harms done by him, harms done to him, or the world's brokenness. So in this psalm, we find him again lamenting the schemes of his enemies and calling on the Lord to act on his behalf.

Vs. 1-2 “ 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.”

As with many of David's psalms, he uses personal possessive language of God, “O LORD, my God…”. Four words. Packed with power. David lays claim to Yahweh. There’s something so rich, so intimate about this. But it's not just intimate; it's powerful. I've journaled my prayers for years, each addressed directly to God. But I’m not sure I’ve ever addressed God the way David does here. I wonder what that one small change would do to my heart and mind? To begin my prayers, “O Lord, my God…”. Even as I write this, my heart swells slightly larger and burns a little warmer.

As a toddler clings to something they have and are unwilling to let go of, declaring it "mine," David clings to the Lord: "Lord, you are my God, and in you I take refuge. You are my protector. You are my shelter. You are my deliverer. You are my hope. You are mine, and I’m not letting go." This can only come from someone who understands his frailty and that God is where all his needs are met. So David turns to the Lord, his God, for protection and rescue from his enemies—lions threatening to rip his soul to pieces. The language is jarring and hard to skim past. Lions are shrewd. They lay in wait. They prowl, stalking their prey. Sometimes they hunt alone, and sometimes as a pride—teaming up against their game for an almost sure defeat. And when they take their prey down, they rip, claw, tear, and shred the defenseless animal. It’s gruesome. And this is the language David uses of those who hunt him. He’s in a desperate situation, one he believes to be an inevitable defeat unless Yahweh comes to his aid and delivers him.

And yet, even as David faces the sin and injustice of his enemies, he faces the potential for sin and injustice within himself as well,

Vs. 3-5 “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.”

David lays himself before the Lord and says, in essence, “If those who pursue my life have cause, then let justice be done. Let them wipe me out if I have done friend or foe wrong in any way.” Maybe David lacks self-awareness in his propensity for wrongdoing. Or perhaps he’s that confident in his innocence. Regardless, he asks Yahweh to search him for any wrongdoing and entrusts his literal life to God's righteous judgment.

Ultimately, David's prayer is rooted in humility and knowledge of the greatness of his God, which leads him to prefer Yahweh's righteousness above his own life. How do you get to such a place in your relationship with the Lord where you desire his will, even his justice and righteousness, above your own well-being? It's easy to say I trust God or to ask God’s will be done when all is well, but to say it when your feet are to the fire and your life is on the line is another thing entirely.

I want to want that kind of trust and submission. But it’s costly. It requires surrendering my life—entrusting it entirely to God to do with me as he will. It means valuing him and his glory above my own life and glory. Do I have the courage to pray such a prayer? To say, “God, I want to want what you want more than what I want. I want you to have your way with my life, even if it means your discipline or a negative outcome for me?” The only way we can ever earnestly pray that type of prayer is to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that at his very core, the Lord is GOOD, to have been given a glimpse of the magnificence of God, and to be completely enamored with him above all else.

And yet, that doesn't stop David from making a bold appeal,

Vs. 6 “Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.”

David does this often in his Psalms—calling the Lord to action. In this verse, he does it three times using three different words:

  • Arise

  • Lift yourself up

  • Awake for me

David is bold and says to the all-powerful Creator of the universe, “Wake up! Don’t just sit there. Stand up. Do something about this!” He appeals to the Lord’s righteous anger and sense of justice and calls him to act on his behalf. David fears God. But he also views him as approachable.

God isn’t either/or but both/and. As finite human beings, we cannot easily comprehend both the justice and mercy of God. Because we find it difficult to hold two seemingly opposing truths together, we tend to err toward one or the other. But God is holy, powerful, righteous, and mighty. And he is compassionate, tender, patient, and merciful. He is dangerous, and he is approachable. And we need him to be both. If he weren’t all-powerful and able to do something about wickedness and injustice, then he wouldn’t be a refuge I could run to for help in times of trouble. And if he weren't loving and compassionate, then he wouldn’t be someone I could run to with confidence that he’ll receive me despite my sin and shame. We need him to be both lion and lamb.

With this God in view, David appeals to him again:

Vs. 7- 10 “Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. 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! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.”

Again, in what seems to be a continuation of what he began in verses 3-5, David calls the Lord to judge him according to his righteousness and integrity—asking God to search his heart and judge him according to whatever he finds. David then pleads that the evil of the wicked surrounding and assaults him will end and that God will establish the righteous.

I love the word establish! It’s a grounding word. It means to make firm, to ready or prepare, to be fixed, and to bring about permanently. The world around us is unsteady. Injustice, evil, and brokenness appear to be prevailing, making the ground beneath your feet feel shaky and ready to give way. But God establishes his people, fixing them firmly in place. And he has done so most clearly through Jesus, ensuring that though evil may appear to be winning, it will not overtake us. He has brought it about, and he will bring it about permanently.

We are firmly fixed in place—established by God himself. This reminds me of the song, The Rock Won’t Move, by Vertical Worship:

“When the ground beneath my feet gives way

And I hear the sound of crashing waves

All my world is washing out to sea

I’m hidden safe in the God who never moves

Holding fast to the promise of the truth

That you are holding tighter still to me.”

These words capture for me what it means to be established by God. Jesus is the immovable rock upon which we have been firmly fixed. He has established us, and he is sustaining us. You may be barely clinging onto him, but he has you securely in his grasp. And that is our greatest hope when the world around us is falling apart.

David now takes a turn and declares the fate awaiting the unrepentant wicked,

Vs. 11-16 “ God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 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, on his own skull his violence descends.”

God is righteous and governs over all things, including the wicked. He will not allow evil and wickedness to go on forever. He is preparing for their destruction. But, as Peter says, he isn't slow in keeping his promise. He is a righteous judge who will destroy evil once and for all. But he is also a merciful and patient Father who doesn’t want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). So though it appears that evil is winning and God is doing nothing, Yahweh is preparing his weapons of war, and evil will indeed be defeated when he strikes.

There are two things I find fascinating in these verses. First, the use of specific language to describe evil. David says the wicked:

  • Conceive evil

  • Are pregnant with mischief

  • Give birth to lies

We were created to birth—to bring forth—life and goodness in the world as we rule and reign as God’s image bearers. This is part of what it means to be "fruitful and multiply." But instead of conceiving and giving birth to goodness, the wicked brings forth evil, mischief, lies, corruption, chaos, and destruction.

The second interesting note is that God turns the plans of the wicked back onto themselves. They will inevitably fall into their own traps and reap the destruction they intended for others, which leads David to turn back to the Lord in worship,

Vs. 17 “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.”

David concludes his lament by praising the Lord for his righteousness, for being a God fiercely committed to justice and governing according to what is true, right, and good. He reminds us that the Lord fights not only against evil and injustice but also for you as his child. And this is ultimately a God in whom we, too, can find great hope and freedom.

Until next week,


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