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TEXT: Psalm 7
SUBJECT: Justice Will Be Done
The world is full of injustice and God doesn't care. A great many people believe this, and it is easy to understand why. The world is full of injustice, and if God is both just and almighty, you'd expect Him to set things right. Why doesn't He?
Some say He wants to, but can't. Others say He can, but doesn't want to. Still others say there is no God, or if there is, He has nothing to do with the world.
This is called 'the problem of evil', and we're not the first ones to wrestle with it. Since the Fall people have thought about it and some of their thoughts are in the Bible. Including Psalm 7.
When I say it's about 'the problem of evil', I hope you don't take David for a philosopher, a man grappling with ideas. At other times, he may have done that, but not now. Psalm 7 is not about the justice of God in general, but in particular. It's about a particular wrong done to David at a particular time and place, and by a particular man.
Because the wrong done to him is real-and really hurts him-David doesn't calmly think about it; he prays about it with passion, vv.1-2-
O Lord my God,
in you I put my trust;
Save me from those who
And deliver me.
Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces
while there is none to deliver.
He starts with God's Name, three of them, in fact. He calls Him, LORD, this is 'Yahweh' or 'Jehovah', the God of the Covenant; the God who promised to be Israel's God, to bless and protect them, and to never forsake them. He then calls Him, My God. This is 'Elohim', the Strong One, and more than Strong, 'Strong for me', 'Mighty on my behalf'.
Finally, he calls Him, the one I trust. Unlike fickle men, the Lord can be trusted to always be Himself, to always to be on the side of right. He is never wicked; never indifferent; there is no dark side in the Lord. Or bad days.
What does he want the Lord to do for him? He wants Him to save or deliver him from his enemies. We don't know who they are, but their leader is a man called-
Cush, a Benjamite.
He is an unknown man, and note the irony of it. He thinks he's getting the better of David, really working over the Lord's Anointed, showing him who's boss. But David went on to be one the best-known and most beloved men in history. And Cush, a Benjamite? He's in the fine print above the Psalm. Hardly anyone in the world knows who he is, and the few who do, despise him!
Think of a French Poodle barking at Julius Caesar as he conquered Gaul. The dog thinks he's somebody! 'I really gave it to that bald man in a dress!' But Caesar's name lives forever, and the French Poodle becomes a gay fashion accessory! Cush has his fifteen minutes of fame; David's fame is immortal.
Even though we can't say just who this joker is, two things are hinted at in the caption. First, he's a Benjamite, and this likely means he supported the failed monarchy of King Saul. David didn't take Saul's throne: God gave it to him! Saul was rejected by the Lord, while David was a man after His own heart. This makes me think Cush was an petty, envious and spiteful man.
The name Cush may also be significant. The first, Cush, was the son of Ham, Noah's disgraceful son, and a close ancestor of Nimrod, the world's first dictator, and builder of Babel. I wonder why an Israelite would have such a name? It's like a Jew today naming his son, Adolf!
Cush the Benjamite was a disgusting man, David's enemy and God's. What's he up to? He is persecuting him, tearing him like a lion, and ripping him to pieces.
With his words. Cush doesn't have the guts to fight the king with swords, so he stabs in him the back with his words. He's a liar, a slanderer, a man dragging his good name through the mud.
No wonder David is crying to God for justice. Gossip is hard to track down and clean up. Once it gets out there, the holiest man cannot pull it back and wash it out of the minds of the people who hear it. It's like a computer virus, easier to release than to retrieve.
THE PROTESTWhy should God do this for David? Because he's in the right. Cush is lying about him, and David knows the Lord knows it and is not okay with it! Thus, in vv.3-5, David asserts his innocence-
O Lord my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands, if I have repaid evil to him who was at
peace with me, or have plundered my enemy without
Let the enemy pursue me
and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the
And lay my honor in the dust.
These verses, and others like them, are somewhat disturbing. They sound more like a self-righteous Pharisee than a beleaguered saint. Some have gotten around it by saying the words apply only to Christ (David's Son) and not to the king himself. Of course, they do apply to Christ, but there's no way of getting around the fact they first speak of David. And, we all know, he wasn't a sinless man.
How do we explain his innocent plea? By reading it. He doesn't say he's a perfect man or has never done anything wrong. In fact, in Psalm 6, he says just the opposite: he fully deserves God's rebuke and hot displeasure. What he's saying is simply this: In his quarrel with Cush the Benjamite, David is in the right. Cush has wronged him and not because David asked for it.
This speaks to a certain kind of person. If some people never take the blame for anything, others take the blame for everything. They go through life feeling guilty for the sins of other people. Like the man who apologizes for hitting your fist with his nose!
Humility is good; cravenness is bad. If it's wrong to falsely accuse others, it is also wrong to falsely accuse yourself. You're not big enough to bear the sins of the world, and you don't need to because the One who is big enough has done it Himself!
Stop blaming yourself for being innocent! Stop beating yourself up! Only Jesus is without sin, but the fact remains: some quarrels are one-sided, and it's not your side.
If your father molested you, it's on him, not you. If your husband beats you, he's in the wrong, not you. If your kids don't believe in Christ it's because of their own sin not yours.
Maybe David forgot to send Cush a birthday card last year, but he's not responsible for the fight: Cush is! Every man must bear his own burden-and sometimes, the you're not the man who has to do it.
CALL TO JUSTICECush has got David pretty upset. But he's not looking for personal comfort, for a good attitude to bear the other man's wrong. What David wants is justice, He wants God to do something about it, vv.6-10-
Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
Lift yourself up because of the rage of
And awake for me to the judgment
You have commanded!
So the congregation of the peoples
Shall surround you;
For their sakes, therefore,
Return on high.
The Lord shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my
According to my integrity
O, let the wickedness of the wicked
Come to an end,
But establish the just;
For the righteous God tests the hearts,
My defense is of God,
Who saves the upright in heart.
David wants Cush and his people condemned and himself justified or vindicated. He knows God is an impartial judge, and looking at things fairly, He has to come down on David's side-not because he's a sinless man, but because, in his quarrel with Cush, he's in the right.
David is not thirsting for revenge; what he wants is justice. Why shouldn't he want it? Why shouldn't he pray for it? We expect judges on earth to render a fair judgment (at least, we hope they will), why should we expect any less from the Judge in Heaven?
David himself was a judge, and he tried to do right by the people who came to him every day. If a rich man swindled a poor widow, he set things right, ruling against the oppressor and for his victim. He asks God to do the same for him.
When the Lord does this, good will come of it, and not only to David. His people will celebrate Him, wickedness will be curbed, justice restored, and saints will be encouraged.
Justice is not only good for us; it's good for God. It makes earth a more livable place and Heaven ring with praise.
David's prayer for justice is pretty much over. But, having brought it up, he reflects on it for a moment. The prayer has become a meditation, vv.11-16-
God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked
If he does not turn back,
He will sharpen His sword;
He bends His bow and makes it ready.
He also prepares for Himself
instruments of death;
He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked travails with
Conceives trouble and brings forth
He made a pit and dug it out,
And has fallen into the ditch which he
His trouble shall return upon his own
And His violent dealing shall come
down on his own crown.
David reflects on the character of God. God is holy, just, and powerful. This means, evil cannot triumph in the end. For a while, it can (by His leave), but only for a while, and even that serves a higher purpose. At the moment, we struggle with the problem of evil, but one day we won't. We cannot see how evil serves good, but one day we will. Till then, like David, we have to remind ourselves of God's character and wait patiently.
He reflects on the sinner's danger and duty. Men like Cush seem to be getting away with it. But they're not. As the lying words come out of their mouths, God is drawing His sword and bending His bow to shut them up once and for all!
Thus it is the sinner's duty to repent, and to waste no time doing it because he doesn't know when the sword will drop or the arrow will fly. But drop and fly they will. Thus, John and Jesus began their ministries with the same words-
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The Rule of God is coming to earth, and we can either submit to it. Or be destroyed by it!
He reflects on the self-defeating nature of sin. Yes, God acts personally against wicked men, but wickedness has a way of boomeranging on them. They dig pits and fall into them.
The Psalm ends with a promise. As far as we know, Cush is still on the warpath, but David is so sure of God's justice, that he starts praising Him for His righteousness and singing His Name.
VICTORY, PARTIAL AND COMPLETE
How long Cush stayed at it, we don't know, but we know that David survived him. He found some justice in the world, and he thanked God for it.
But let's get real: the justice he found in the world was fragmentary. If one Cush fell, a hundred rose to take his place. David never had a moment's rest. His whole life was spent fighting off his enemies, from Goliath to Absalom, to Shemei, to Boaz, the list was endless.
The world hasn't changed. Injustice is seldom overthrown, and when it is, it is often replaced by something even worse. The Psalm, therefore, seems hopelessly unrealistic. David can praise God for Cush's fall, but what's one victory in a world of defeat?
If the world is to become the just place it ought to be, people like Cush have got to be changed or eliminated. If this sounds hard, it may be that: but it's also true. Systems may be changed, but they'll never be any better than the people who man them. We've got to make men new or get rid of them.
This brings us to Christ. Jesus came in the past and will come again in the future. His first coming changed men, not all men, but a good many of us. By dying for us, He took our guilt away and secured the Holy Spirit for us. Now forgiven and empowered by His Spirit, we are new men-not wholly new or perfectly new, but still, new. This means, to some degree, we can live just lives, mistreating no one, and being fair and good to all. This new life is entered into by faith, trusting Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Though the offer is open to all, not everyone wants it. Some people prefer guilt to pardon and being what they are to what they ought to be. There's plenty in the Atonement to save them, but they won't be saved.
For reasons unknown to us, God puts up with them, suffers them for a very long time. But one day, His patience will run out. Jesus Christ will return to judge these people, and He will give them exactly what they deserve. His anger will crash down on them, and they will be forever banished from the world and His Presence.
That day, David's prayer will be answered in full. He and all God's people will be fully saved and finally delivered from His enemies and ours.
Until then, we wait with patience and live in hope.
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