Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on August 23, 2015
Open your Bibles to Psalm 7. We are continuing our series entitled “Summer of Psalms”. Today we will unpack yet another lament style Psalm from King David. As I work through each of these Psalms I continue to find it interesting that God regularly uses the struggle against the forces of darkness to reveal to us who He is. Instead of just saying that He is loving, just, merciful, and gracious, it appears that He wants to display these attributes against the wickedness of the world. For those who struggle with the question, why does God allow evil, perhaps this realization that God is best seen in comparison will shed some light on your question.
Another thing I want to mention before we begin today is to remind us what the purpose of God's Word is. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Today we will be equipping ourselves. Perhaps for the battle that will take place tomorrow morning at your work, or perhaps for the battle that will occur 20 years from now. So as we walk through our text today, be praying that God use Psalm 7 to strengthen your spiritual muscles so that you can be a true solider for Christ when the time comes, which some day it will, if not already. So with that said, let us read our text, pray and take a look at Psalm 7.
- Psalm 7 - “A Shiggaiona of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite. 1O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, 2lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver. 3O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, 4if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, 5let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah 6Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. 7Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 8The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. 9Oh, 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! 10My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. 11God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 12If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; 13he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. 14Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. 15He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. 16His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. 17I 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.”
The catalyst behind Psalm 7 are the slanderous words of Cush. The introduction of Psalm 7 says, “concerning the words of Cush.” These words of Cush were causing problems for David. Who is Cush and what are these words, we do not know. Some people have speculated that Cush, the Benjaminite is actually King Saul, the Son of Kish, the Benjaminite, and David changes his name so that that he does not disrespect God's first King of Israel. As I briefly stated last week, King Saul hated David. His hatred towards David was out of jealousy and had no legitimate basis. If you read 1 Samuel you will get a taste of Saul's hatred of David and his zeal to kill him, and it is definitely in the realm of possibility that Daivd was lamenting the slanderous words of Saul when writing this Psalm. However, it appears that slanderous and venomous words against David were not limited to just Saul. It appears that David was constantly under a verbal attack by his enemies, and it appears that these words effected David greatly for he writes about them often.
- Psalm 31:13 - “For I hear the whispering [slander] of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.”
- Psalm 35:21 - “They open wide their mouths against me; they say, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!”
- Psalm 41:5 - “My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
- Psalm 64:2-4 - “Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers,
3who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, 4shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.”
- Psalm 140:3 - “They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the venom of asps.”
However, to be fair, these slanderous words of Cush did in fact produce tangible trouble for David. The words of Cush caused real tension in David's life. It wasn't just words. Things became more difficult for David. For it appears that people appear to be believing the lies that are being spread about David and it is causing persecution. Presumably people were going from being passive to being pursuers against David due to the words of Cush. And when you think about it, this makes sense, for this is the purpose of slanderous, hurtful words, to cause people to take a position against the accused. Perhaps a good way to think about what David was experiencing was Cush inciting a mob against him. Whipping people into a frenzy causing them to grab their pitchforks and burning torches with a desire to put an end to David.
The Slander of Christ
As I stated several weeks ago when we started our journey through the Psalms, it is important to remember that all Scripture points to Jesus Christ either specifically or generally. This is also true for Psalm 7. David is a type of Christ. By that I mean that he is a person in the Old testament that points to the greater person of Jesus. Commonly we call these types in the Old Testament shadows, meaning that they are not the true substance, but just bear the form of the true substance. So for David he is the shadow of the substance of the True King for Israel, Jesus. With this in mind, the slander and venomous words against David is a foreshadow of the slanderous and venomous words against Jesus. These words against Christ took on various forms, but here are some examples:
- Mark 3:22 - “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
- Matthew 26:65-68 - “Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him,68saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
- Mark 15:29-32 - “And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!”31So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.”
The slander against David paled in comparison to the slander against Christ. For David was a sinner, but Christ was the Spotless Lamb of God. He did not deserve one word spoken against Him. Having said that Isaiah 53:7 says this of Jesus:
- Isaiah 53:7 - “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
The Slander of Christians
Now the slander of Christ did not end with his death, in fact it escalated. As the gospel spread, so did the lies, mocking, and blasphemies against Christ. These slanderous words against Jesus continue today. And not only against Jesus, but also His followers. We have become ridiculed by association. However, this is not a surprise. It was expected. Jesus warned his disciples of this reality.
- Matthew 10:25 - “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”
Perhaps some of you have had firsthand experience with this reality, being called things like self-righteous, closed minded, judgmental, hypocrite, hater, bigots. I hate to be always preaching doom and gloom, but unless God causes another Great Awakening in America, it appears that mocking towards Christians will most likely increase, therefore if you have not yet been maligned, it may be something that occurs in the near future. And like David, these words that are hurled against us will most likely create difficulty for us in our lives. It is quite possible that more and more people will grab their pitchforks, light their torches and demand our lives. This is exactly what is happening in dozens of nations across the world, there is no reason that it won't happen someday in America.
The Christian Response
So if this is true, that we like David will have slanderous and venomous words spoken against us, how shall we respond? A good place for us to start is to see the world as David saw the world.
- Turn to the Lord
The first thing we see David do is to turn to the Lord. Perhaps this seems obvious, but for many of us I don't think we automatically do this, like we should. We have a tendency to take matters into our own hands and we respond to these verbal attacks with our flesh, and not spiritually. For David his problems were horizontal. By that I mean that he is struggling with a relationship between him and other men. People are speaking lies, people are believing these lies, and people are acting on these lies. Instead of David responding horizontally, and confronting Cush and these other evil doers, what does he do? He responds vertically. Meaning that he turns to God. David realized that the solution to his problem was not going to be found in his own hands or the hands of his counselors, or friends, but in God alone. He laid his burdens down at God's feet.
We must do the same. In the midst of persecution, our response is not to fight fire with fire. It is to seek refuge in the Lord. This must be our knee-jerk response.
2) Accept What we Deserve
The next thing that David did was he humbled himself before God, and gave God permission to give him what he deserved. He told God that if he was guilty, to give him his due punishment. What a risky prayer for David, for we know that David was a sinner, just like we are. So why pray this way? Because for David he had this inner desire for justice. He wanted to he held accountable if that was what was right. This is another example of how David was a man after God's own heart. David believed in justice, even at his own expense.
Sometimes, Christians are quick to claim persecution, when in reality what they are receiving is exactly what they deserve. For example, a Christian may be called a hypocrite, not out of persecution, but because it is true. Likewise, some Christians may be called unloving because they are truly unloving. Their is a saying in the they law that the best defense to slander is the truth.
Christians should be the first one's to admit when they are wrong, and deal with the consequences. Christians should willfully accept the consequences for the actions not matter how difficult. I saw a quote this week that stuck with me. It went something like this, “Hell will be full of people who think they deserve Heaven. Heaven will be full of people who know they deserve Hell.” Isn't that good? This is the mark of a true Christian, the knowledge of justice, fairness, and what we truly deserve.
3) The Lord Judges the Peoples
The last thing we see David do is to recognize his proper place in the midst of this persecution. Verse 8 David says, “The Lord judges the peoples.” David rightfully looked forward to the appointed time of judgment and laid down his burdens at the feet of God. David effectively let go of the situation and allowed God to be God. He trusted in God to make things right, to judge with the righteousness that only He has.
- Romans 12:19-21 - “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave iti to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Our Acts 242 Bible Study that meets on Wednesday night has been equipping ourselves to speak this reality to the lost. We are memorizing Hebrews 9:27 which says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” This Day of Judgment is one that we fail to speak of as often as we should. We are timid, we are weak, and we are failing to warn people of the wrath to come. Jesus did not hesitate to warn people of it, nor should we. It is day that every maligning and slanderous word will be made right.
- Matthew 12:36 - “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- Acts 5:40-41 - “when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”
- Psalm 7:17 - 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.”