For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
A week in to September, and my attempt to reflect on a Psalm each day, here’s Psalm 7:
1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
3 Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
4 if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
6 Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
8 Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.
10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
What is this Psalm about?
This Psalm is not just a plea for deliverance from enemies – it is also an appeal to the King of Kings and Judge of Judges, to act. The Psalmist is perhaps experiencing God’s inaction about something – in a way that can easily feel familiar to us today – and so pleads with God to act. Interestingly, the ending in praise (v17) is a commitment made by the Psalmist without any explicit acknowledgement that God’s judgement has happened. This is instructive.
The justice outlined in this Psalm flows from God and is ultimately fair – the Psalmist examines himself (v4-5) as well as asking for vindication and judgement on his foes. This is not a Psalm, not a prayer or song, that is aimed at revenge, but rather a challengingly self-aware cry for justice.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
God gets two titles in this Psalm, ‘Lord’, and ‘Most High’, which emphasise God’s divine kingship in contrast to our human ways. This emphasis of the ‘bigness’ of God, alongside his justice, activity, absence (v6) and protection is telling – it raises a challenge for those of us with too small a view of God to encompass everything. Ultimately, in line with verse 17, this is a God worth worshipping, the Lord, the Most High.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
Building on some earlier Psalms, this Psalm is a comfort to God’s people who might find themselves in trouble today. Yet there is also a challenge to examine ourselves, and remember that were it not for Jesus, our fate would be the same as that of our enemies. Secondly, there is the invitation or call to worship regardless of circumstances and regardless of whether or not we see God acting, which is particularly challenging in an entitled culture.
A Prayer from Psalm 7
Lord Most High, I seek refuge in you, you are my shield and my protector. Convict me, Holy Spirit, where I have done wrong, and help me to worship in every season. Amen.