What did they say about Me?
Last Wednesday evening, we studied Psalm 7 together as an assembly here at Faith. In Psalm 7, David comes to the Lord with a very heavy heart. The entire Psalm is a lament to God and the basis for this lament was some kind of character attack on David. The psalm provides a vehicle by which those unfairly criticized and persecuted may call upon God for help.
A few weeks ago, I happened to see one of those televangelist preachers on a certain cable network. I wasn’t able to stomach him very long, but in the time that I did listen to him, I heard him make the following statement. He said, “God isn’t in control of this world or of your life. If you want something done in your life, you are going to have to make it happen yourself. If God was really in control, we wouldn’t have murderers and rapists all over the place.” I really didn’t watch any more of that blaspheme after he said that and never actually caught his point. It did raise an interesting question though…is God in control, and is He in control even during my tough circumstances and seeming persecution?
The fact of the matter is that God is control! He knows every circumstance that we are facing and He understands and is there when we need Him in the midst of those situations. But, what do we do when we are faced with evil and it appears that people can slander us, sin, and seemingly get away with it? Notice several important points how we are are to react in these sorts of situations?
First, we need to run to God. David’s first words in this Psalm are, “O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.” (Psalm 7:1-2 ESV) When we are persecuted for righteousness sake and in midst of these kinds of trials, we must do as David did and take refuge in our God!
Second, we need to be honest before God. David says, “O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let 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.” (Psalm 7:3-5 ESV). This is a good reminder to all of us when things like this happen. Tough circumstances should always cause us to examine ourselves. God allows us to go through trial for a number of reasons and one of them is so that he can reveal weaknesses in our lives. These sorts of circumstances should cause us to do as David did and that is to search our hearts and make sure that we are honest with ourselves and with God. God already knows our hearts anyway!
Third, we need to cry out to God. David pleads with God, “Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high.” (Psalm 7:6-7 ESV) Remember that our God is the righteous God of the universe and that he can and will intervene when He is needed. Therefore, we need to cry out to him and plead for his help! Trying to solve things ourselves can many times make circumstances even worse.
Fourth, we need to rest in God. David rests in the Lord and reveals that he is doing so in verse 8-16. He says in part, “My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.” (Psalm 7:10 ESV) Our theology or understanding of God is very important when we are in the midst of trials and tough circumstances. You see, David understood two important facts about God. 1) God will care for the righteous. He clearly expresses this in verses 8-11, to include the verse that was just mentioned in which he calls God his shield and 2) God will judge the wicked. He expresses this truth in verses 12-16. Remember that God will judge the wicked in many ways. One of these ways is to turn their ways against them. David expresses it this way, “His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.” (Psalm 7:16 ESV)
Finally, we must remain confident in God. David ends this lament by stating, “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.” (Psalm 7:17 ESV) This is a tremendous verse and a tremendous perspective on the part of David. As with many of his Psalms, David starts in almost a depressed fashion and ends with total trust in God. We must do this as well. We must understand that God will act rightly on our behalf. His purpose and justice will prevail. When we understand this, we will in turn continually give praise and thanks to God for who He is and for how He is working in our lives.
Be encouraged today and know that God is in control, even in the worst of circumstances!