Psalm 7

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me …

O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my ally with harm or plundered my foe without cause, then let the enemy pursue and overtake me …

Our psalmist in Psalm 7 stands boldly before the LORD his God and proclaims his righteousness in this situation. He prays for vindication, for God to keep the promise of protection and rescue in the face of unjust persecution.

 Awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment …

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God.

Many of the psalms confess sin and acknowledge God’s right to judge and punish. But many other poems call out rampant injustice and petition God to remain faithful to covenant by protecting the righteous and hindering those who practice unrighteousness.

There is a sense in which the psalmist seeks personal protection and vindication. He celebrates “God as my refuge, my shield.”

But in another sense, the yearning of the poet is that God’s own righteousness will be vindicated in the earth.

He prays that “the wicked” will come to know beyond any doubt that God’s righteousness and integrity WILL triumph and reign throughout the world.

See how they conceive evil, and are pregnant with mischief, and bring forth lies.

They make a pit, digging it out, and fall into the hole that they have made. Their mischief returns upon their own heads, and on their own heads their violence descends.

Look here at the images of conception, pregnancy and delivery. The poet’s brilliance allows us to see clearly how wickedness develops from thought to action.

Also see the karmic wisdom of the psalmist: “they fall into the hole they have made…”

Yes, he calls for God to judge but he also considers that judgment upon wickedness may happen within the normal workings of the cosmos.

Barbara Taylor says it this way:

God’s judgment is not so much some kind of extra punishment God dumps on [us] as it is God’s announcement that we have abandoned the way of life.

Like some divine jiu-jitsu master, God simply spins the rejection of life around so that we can feel the full force of it for ourselves.

“Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation”
Many psalms look to the ultimate future

Many of the psalms are eschatological: that is they trust in an ultimate judgment and vindication and they articulate a hope that is much larger than the reality of their current circumstances.

Awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment …

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end…

Whatever that judgment may actually, ultimately look like, here is the constant hope of all people of faith: an end to evil and the triumph of Shalom.

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Author: Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte lives and blogs in Paris TX. She is ordained within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and developed Living in The Story while doing doctoral work at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth. Charlotte also blogs about intersections of faith, politics and culture at CharlotteVaughanCoyle.com.

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