BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41
This psalm was penned with a particular reference to the maliciousness of David’s enemies. He appeals to God for favour concerning his innocence as to those things that he had been accused of. He prays to God to plead his cause and judge for him against his persecutors. It ends with a promise to give God the glory for his deliverance. In this, David was a type of Christ, who Himself was injured, but will certainly be put right in the end.
Psalm 7 – Psalm of David
O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me. Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver. 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 cause. Then let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, And lay my honour in the dust. Selah
Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies. Rise up for me 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 righteousness, And according to my integrity within me.
Establish the just
Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart. God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword. He bends His bow and makes it ready and He prepares for Himself instruments of death.
Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, And has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown. I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
To Him we may commit our cause
Henry says – David not only penned this song, but sung it himself in a devout religious manner to the Lord. It concerned the affairs of Cush the Benjamite, that is, of Saul. His barbarous usage of David made him more like a Cushite (Ethiopian) than a true-born Israelite. Or it may have been a family member of Saul named Cush, who was at enmity to David. He misrepresented him to Saul as a traitor, which exasperated Saul against him. One of those children of Belial (or the devil), whom David complains of in (1 Sam. 26:19).
This made mischief between him and Saul. David, thus unjustly abused appeals to the Lord. The injuries men do us should drive us to God, for to Him we may commit our cause. He sings to the Lord with a spirit not ruffled by it, nor cast down, but composed and cheerful. So let the injuries we receive from men, instead of provoking our anger, kindle and excite our devotions. In verses 1-9 he puts himself under God’s protection and flies to Him for shelter. “Lord, save me, and deliver me from the power and malice of all those who persecute me, that they may not have their will against me. For, he says, “You are my God, and therefore where else should I go but to You? You are my God, and therefore my shield (Gen. 15:1). I am one of Your servants, who may expect to be protected.”
In You do I put my trust
His confidence was in God: “Lord, save me, for I depend on You: In You do I put my trust, and not in any arm of flesh.” His enemies were full of rage and malice and he was in imminent danger. “Lord, save me, or I am gone; he will tear my soul like a lion tearing his prey,” with so much pride, and pleasure, and power, so easily, so cruelly. The Apostle Paul compares Nero to a lion (2 Tim. 4:17), as David here compares Saul.
He confessed that there were no other helpers: “Lord, be pleased to deliver me, for otherwise there is no one to deliver”. It is the glory of God to help the helpless. David makes a solemn protest of his innocence and appeals to God, the searcher of hearts. When we are falsely accused by men it is a great comfort if our own consciences finds us innocent. God is the patron of wronged innocents. David had no court on earth to appeal to. But he had the court of heaven to fly to, and a righteous Judge there, whom he could call his God.
Render good for evil
He was charged with a traitorous plan against Saul’s crown and life and levied a war against him. This he utterly denies. He never did this. There was no iniquity of this kind in his hand. He abhorred the thought of it and never rewarded evil to Saul when he was at peace with him. He never rendered evil for evil or did mischief to whose who had injured him.
David could produce evidence of his innocence. He says: I have delivered him who without a cause is my enemy. This proof demonstrated that David had no design against Saul’s life. There had been times when Saul was at David’s mercy. When David had had opportunity to destroy him but he had generously prevented it. When he cut off his part of this clothing (1 Sam. 24:4) and afterwards when he took away his spear (1 Sam. 26:12). This attests to what he could have done. Saul admitted both these to be undeniable proofs of David’s integrity and good affection to him. When we render good for evil, and deny ourselves the gratifications of our passion, it may turn out as a testimony for another day.
God blesses effectually
David submits that if he had been injurious to others, he had reason to expect that they would repay him the same. It is a dangerous thing for any who are guilty to appeal to God, as if they were innocent. Such must humble themselves and accept the punishment. David humbly prays to God to come through for him against his persecutors. He backs every petition with a proper plea as one who knew how to order his cause before God. Those who have God’s wrath working for them, do not need to fear men’s wrath against them. For who knows the power of His anger?
He prays, Awake for me to judgment (that is, let my case have a hearing). God blesses effectually and so commands the blessing, so also He judges effectually, and is therefore said to command the judgment. “It is the judgment which You have determined to pass upon all the enemies of Your people. You have commanded the princes and judges of the earth to help the injured and vindicate the oppressed; Lord, awaken Yourself to that judgment.” He who loves righteousness, and requires it in others, will no doubt execute it Himself.
The just shall be established
Then he prays again in verse 8, “Judge me, judge for me, give sentence on my side.” To enforce this he pleads that his cause was now brought into the proper court: The Lord shall judge the people. He is the Judge of all the earth, and therefore no doubt He will do right. David foretells that it would do much for the glory of God and the comfort of His people if He would appear for him. “Therefore do it for their sakes”. God’s appearing on David’s behalf, and fulfilling His promise to him, would be such an instance of His righteousness, goodness, and faithfulness, that it would greatly enlarge the hearts of all His faithful worshippers and fill their mouths with praise.
David was the darling of his country and all the good people in it. When they saw him blessed they would greatly rejoice and give thanks to God. If David came into power, as God had promised him, he would be sure to bring the people to God by his influence on them. The ark of the covenant would not be neglected, as it was in the days of Saul, 1 Chron. 13:3. He prays, in general, for the conversion of sinners and the establishment of saints in verse 9. “Let all the wicked, come to an end! but establish the just.”
That the good be made better
Here is what everyone of us must desire and hope for: the destruction of sin. That it may be brought to an end in ourselves and others. That corruption be mortified and every wicked way and thought forsaken. That the stream which runs violently towards the world and the flesh, be driven back and run towards God and heaven, then all wickedness will come to an end. This is what all who love God and hate evil, desire and pray.
But establish the just. As we pray that the bad may be made good, so we pray that the good may be made better. That they be not seduced by the wiles of the wicked but be confirmed in their choice of following God. That they be resolved to persevere and be firm in their pursuit of God. So that they may be zealous in their endeavours to bring the wickedness of the wicked to an end. His plea to enforce this petition is, For the righteous God tries the heart. He knows the secret wickedness of the wicked and knows how to bring it to an end. And He knows the secret sincerity of the just which He has secret ways of establishing.
My defence is in God
If we are wrongly accused we may, in singing Psalm 7, lodge our appeal with the righteous God. We can be assured that He will take on our righteous cause, and prove our integrity as the light. David is confident that he shall find God His powerful protector and Saviour. “My defence is of God. Not only, God is my defender but I look for defence and safety in no other. My hope for shelter in a time of danger is placed in God alone.” God gives an assurance of protection to all who are His. His name is a strong tower, Prov. 18:10.
The upright in heart are safe, and ought to think themselves to be under the divine protection. God judges the righteous and takes on every righteous cause. God not only carries out righteousness Himself, but will ensure that righteousness be done and will avenge and punish all unrighteousness.
His mercies are new every morning
God is angry with the wicked every day. Every day they provoke Him, and He resents it, and treasures it up against them for the day of wrath. As His mercies are new every morning towards His people, so His anger is new every morning against the wicked. He is angry with the wicked even in their merriest and most prosperous of their days, (John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him). They are children of death, as all the children of wrath are, sons of perdition, marked out for ruin.
The destruction of sinners may be prevented by their conversion: If he will turn from his evil way. It is implied that his sin shall be pardoned and all shall be well. Even the threatenings of wrath are given with a gracious implication of mercy. Enough to justify God in the destruction of those who perish.
He is slow to punish
God gives sinners a timely warning of their danger, and space to repent and prevent it. He is slow to punish, and long-suffering to us, not willing that any should perish. Yet if they will not repent destruction is imminent. For it is ordained to be so. Persecutors are targeted as the fairest marks of divine wrath. They set God at defiance, but cannot set themselves out of the reach of His judgments. In verses 14-16 the sinner is described as taking a great deal of trouble to ruin himself. If he would take as much trouble to direct himself aright, he would be saved.
The sinner’s heart with its passions is loathed to be delivered of the malicious plans he has against the people of God. But when it comes to birth it is falsehood. He cheats himself and is a lie in his right hand. He brings forth wind (Isa. 26:18), stubble (Isa. 33:11), death (Jam. 1:5). By the pains of a labourer who works hard to dig a pit, and then falls into it and perishes.
He is above them all
This is true, in a sense of all sinners. They prepare destruction for themselves by preparing themselves for destruction. It is often true of those who contrive trouble against the people of God, that by the righteous hand of God it returns upon their own heads. What they designed for the shame and destruction of others, proves to be their own confusion. This applies to Saul, who fell upon his own sword.
In singing psalm 7 we must praise the Lord according to His righteousness and so give Him the glory for the gracious protection under which He takes His afflicted people. In His just vengeance He will pursue those who afflict them. Thus we sing the praises of the Lord Most High, who, when His enemies deal proudly, shows that He is above them all.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Thrill of Protection Turn out all thoughts of doubt and of trouble Never tolerate them for one second, allow them no power. Bar the windows and doors of your soul against them; Bar them this very hour. As you bar your home against a thief Who would steal in to take your treasure Bar yourself away From the world and all its seeming pleasures. What greater treasures can you have than peace, rest and joy? Are you truly aware That these are all stolen from you By doubt, fear and despair? Face each day with love and laughter Face the storm with My joy, peace and love. Follow Me to find all three Lo, I descend as a Dove. I want you to feel the thrill of protection and safety now Any soul can feel this in a harbour where all is warm But real joy and victory came to those who alone Sense these when they ride the storm. Say “all is well” say it not in vain repetition As though there were some doubt. Use it as you use healing balm for wounds Until the poison is drawn out. Use it then until the sore is healed; Until the thrill of fresh life floods your being. All is well, say “all is well” until The thrill of My protection illuminates your inner seeing. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. May I be one who sings to You with a spirit unruffled by the cares of this world. Cause others to see me as composed and cheerful. Let any injuries from others only serve to drive me to You, for to You I commit my every cause. Let others not provoke my anger but only kindle and excite my devotion to You. I put myself under Your protection and I fly to You for shelter. When I am falsely accused may I remember that You are the patron of all wronged innocents. I have a court of heaven to appeal to, and a righteous Judge there, whom I call my God.
Help me always to return good for evil, and deny myself the gratifications of my passion. For I believe that one day it can turn out as a testimony. Let my every petition be presented as one who knows how to order my cause before You. I will not fear men’s wrath against me for I know that I have Your wrath working for me.
May I be true
You have commanded me to help the injured and vindicate the oppressed. Father may I be true to this call. Help me help them, and be sent to where they are. May sin be brought to an end in myself and others. Let any and all corruption be mortified and every wicked way and thought in me be forsaken. Where I have run toward the world and the flesh let it be driven back and may I always run towards You and heaven. Let the bad be made good and good be made better in me and around me.
May I not be seduced by the wiles of the wicked but be confirmed in my choice of Your ways. I declare that I am resolved to persevere and be firm in my pursuit of You. You are my defender and I look for defence and safety in no other. My hope for shelter in times of danger is placed in You alone. For You give an assurance of protection to all who are Yours. For Your name is a strong tower. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
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