ADONAI My God, In You I Take Refuge

Psalm 7: 1-17

A shiggaion of David, which he sang to ADONAI concerning Cush, a Benjamite.
Shiggaion seems to be derived from the verb to err or wander.
Nothing is known of Cush, but from Absalom’s rebellion the tribe of Benjamin,
Sha’ul’s tribe, held some bitter enemies of David.

DIG: Why was the tribe of Benjamin hostile to David (Second Samuel 16:5-8, 20:1-2)? What is David accused of in verses 3-4? Why? In verses 6-11, how does David broaden his appeal for personal vindication? With what images of YHVH? What is meant by my righteousness in verse 8? Does David’s appeal stand (or fall) on his righteousness, or on the LORD’s righteousness? Why is that? From verses 11-12, how is evil done? Compare this with verses 14-16. Why the difference, if any?

REFLECT: Have you felt falsely accused? How did you appeal your case? Like David? If the content of your prayers from the last month were analyzed, how much concern for injustice would we find? Would you want Ha’Shem to judge you according to your righteousness or the integrity of your heart? Why? What “pit” of your own making have you fallen into lately? Are you digging out? Or pilling it down on your head? For what aspect of God’s character are you especially thankful today?

This Psalm addresses the issue of injustice. Using a mixture of images from the court of law and the battlefield, David responds to the unjust attack of his enemies by inviting God’s intervention and restoration. He believed in his own heart that he had not done anything to deserve the abuse of his adversaries. Above our lives in this world stands the eternal God. He is the righteous Judge. When we bring our case to Him . . . He answers.404

A. Prayer for Refuge: The psalm begins with a confession and a call that both reveal the character of God and David’s relationship with Him. ADONAI my God, in You I take refuge. Because God is trustworthy, David can pray: Save me from all my pursuers, and rescue me. In David’s deepest need, his anguished soul cried out to the Father in confidence that only YHVH Elohai could rescue him. Otherwise, they will maul me like a lion and tear me apart, with no rescuer present (Psalm 7:1-2 CJB). In his utter helplessness, he called on the One who promised to help him (see Ct – The LORD’s Covenant with David). David relied on the character of Ha’Shem to face his enemies.405

B. Oath of Innocence: David protested. He wanted to know why he was being treated as an offender of the Covenant. He was astonished that Ha’Shem would allow him to be treated as an evildoer (Deuteronomy 26:16). In all good conscience he called upon God, not for mercy for his sin, but for his vindication. Then the content of the charge against him is revealed: that he had repaid evil to his close friends (Hebrew: shovimi from shelem) and plundered his enemies without cause. The purpose of this charge was evidently to sew seeds of suspicion among those who trusted him. Questions filled the air. In today’s terms, “Will he fulfill the contract?” “When are backs are up against the wall, will he betray us?” Then David responded to those charges with images of a battle. ADONAI my God, if I have caused this, if there is guilt on my hands, if I paid back evil to a close friend, when I even spared those who opposed me without cause; then let the enemy pursue me until he overtakes me and tramples my life down into the earth. His protest concluded by calling for the enemy to lay his honor in the dust if the accusations were true (Psalm 7:3-5 CJB). Having asserted his innocence, and having prayed for deliverance, David was ready for judgment. Opening himself up to God’s retribution, he called upon Ha’Shem to act directly.406

C. ADONAI’s Righteous Judgment: Wisely David didn’t take matters into his own hands. After all, only God can judge absolutely, for only God sees the heart, and only God is totally righteous, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35). David pictures YHVH raising from His throne: Rise up, ADONAI, in your anger! Arouse Yourself against the fury of my foes. All the verbs are a call to action: rise up . . . arouse Yourself . . . Wake up for me; You command justice. It is God who is just and Ha’Shem, therefore, who is the Judge of all things and who commands judgment.407 When the LORD comes in His righteous anger, the goyim can no longer escape their due. May the assembly of the nations surround You; may You rule over them from on high. ADONAI, who dispenses judgment to the Gentile nations, judge me, ADONAI, according to my righteousness and as my integrity deserves. The judgment of evil will be the vindication of David’s righteousness and integrity. Let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and establish the righteous; since You, righteous God, test hearts and minds. David concludes: My shield is God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous Judge, a God whose anger is present every day. Then David sealed the idea of Elohim’s judgment with an image of an avenging warrior, but he began with a qualifier: If a person will not repent. Judgment is reserved for an unrepentant heart. Elohim prepares for battle in order to execute His sentence. Like a soldier getting ready for battle, He will sharpen His sword, He bends His bow and makes it ready. He has also prepared for Himself weapons of death, His arrows, which He has made into burning shafts (Psalm 7:6-13 CJB).408 If the wicked do not repent, their judgment is sure. The sharp sword, deadly weapons, and flaming arrows are metaphors for inescapable judgment. David had felt himself in a deadly predicament in verse 2, however, the situation will be turned around, for YHVH will come to the aid of His children. Ha’Shem is preparing Himself for judgment at His appointed time (see commentary on Isaiah Kg – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Bozrah).409 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

B. Judgment of the Guilty: The issue of the psalm now becomes clear. In a rough image David saw the enemy full of wickedness. David evokes another powerful picture. Evil had been metaphorically portrayed as a lion in verse 2, an army in verse 5, and in these verses in the language of conception and birth.410 Look how the wicked are pregnant with evil. The wicked are filled with evil, as a pregnant woman about to give birth. They conceive trouble (Hebrew: amal meaning misery, anguish and trouble), and give birth to lies (James 1:14-15). The very pit they dug for David, much like an animal trap, will instead trap them. They make a pit, dig it deep, and fall into the hole he made. Their misery will return onto their own head, their violence will recoil onto their own skull (Psalm 7:14-16 CJB). ADONAI executes His judgment in this instance by letting sin run its course (Romans 1:18-32). This is His passive wrath whereby He gives us over to our sin and we are destroyed by it. As Rabbi Sha’ul reminds us in Galatians 6:7,Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” However difficult it is to so see at times, there is a judgment of people and nations in history. Hitler proclaimed his Thousand-Year Reich, but within a few fleeing years, Germany lay in ruins and he had his own personal holocaust in Berlin as the Russians advanced toward the city. Caesar called himself a god, but today his Coliseum stands gutted and a simple cross planted in the foundations reminds us that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11). Indeed, the wicked will be condemned (see commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment).411

A. Praise of God’s Righteousness: Confident that his prayer is answered, David now concludes his psalm. The LORD will save him from those who persecute him. YHVH will rise up in judgment and test all hearts and minds, destroying the wicked. In declaring: I thank ADONAI for His righteousness, David affirms all that he had said earlier in the psalm. God is righteous; He restores His Kingdom; He rules; He is trustworthy; He vindicates David, who praise now comes from a full heart: And I sing praise to the name of ADONAI ‘Elyon (Psalm 7:17 CJB). This is a phrase found in Genesis 14:18 and elsewhere meaning that God is above all the other gods; thus in defeating David’s enemies He also defeats their gods. Certain of Ha’Shem’s rescue and His justice toward his enemies, David goes out from his lament with a song. Just so, the Great King is our resolution in distress, and before Him we sing our praises . . . our proper response to the One who hears and answers.412


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