Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Our Common Prayerbook: Psalm 7-1

posted by Scot McKnight

Readers of the Psalter know that David complains about his enemies, laments over his situation, and challenges YHWH to step in and establish justice. What is often unobserved is that David, or whoever prayed these psalms, often subjects himself to the same judgment — and this leaves us with a powerful thought: David’s commitment is to justice, even if it means that he must be judged by God. (Which he doesn’t think will happen; he thinks he’s innocent.) David also clearly believes that God will honor those who are righteous and will judge those aren’t; he believes those who do what is right “deserve” to be heard by God.

To pray for justice means handing judgment over to God to establish justice, even if that means at our own expense.
Notice, then, the words of Psalm 7:

A musical composition by David, which he sang to the Lord concerning a Benjaminite named Cush.

7:1 O Lord my God, in you I have taken shelter.

Deliver me from all who chase me! Rescue me!

7:2 Otherwise they will rip me to shreds like a lion;

they will tear me to bits and no one will be able to rescue me.

7:3 O Lord my God, if I have done what they say,

or am guilty of unjust actions,

7:4 or have wronged my ally,

or helped his lawless enemy,

7:5 may an enemy relentlessly chase me and catch me;

may he trample me to death

and leave me lying dishonored in the dust. (Selah)


You can find the rest at the bottom of this post, but a few observations:
David begins with an overt and vulnerable declaration that he is relying on YHWH. For what? To “save”: in vv. 1-2 we have “deliver” and “rescue” and “rescue.”
David knows the alternative: If God does not rescue him, his enemies will rip him to shreds (v. 2).
But David, in humility, bows before YHWH: “Lord my God, if I have done what they say, or am guilty of unjust actions, or have wronged my ally, or helped his lawless enemy, may an enemy relentlessly chase me and catch me; may he trample me to death and leave me lying dishonored in the dust. (Selah)”

That is, if David has been unjust, then he deserves to be judged and dishonored.

There is a profound vulnerability here to true justice, even if we know from the rest of the psalm that David knows/believes he is innocent.

7:6 Stand up angrily, Lord!

Rise up with raging fury against my enemies!

Wake up for my sake and execute the judgment you have decreed for them!

7:7 The countries are assembled all around you;

take once more your rightful place over them!

7:8 The Lord judges the nations.

Vindicate me, Lord, because I am innocent,

because I am blameless, O Exalted One!

7:9 May the evil deeds of the wicked come to an end!

But make the innocent secure,

O righteous God,

you who examine inner thoughts and motives!

7:10 The Exalted God is my shield,

the one who delivers the morally upright.

7:11 God is a just judge;

he is angry throughout the day.

7:12 If a person does not repent, God sharpens his sword

and prepares to shoot his bow.

7:13 He prepares to use deadly weapons against him;

he gets ready to shoot flaming arrows.

7:14 See the one who is pregnant with wickedness,

who conceives destructive plans,

and gives birth to harmful lies -

7:15 he digs a pit

and then falls into the hole he has made.

7:16 He becomes the victim of his own destructive plans

and the violence he intended for others falls on his own head.

7:17 I will thank the Lord for his justice;

I will sing praises to the sovereign Lord!



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MatthewS

posted April 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm


Powerful!



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