But What If I Have?: Reflections on Psalm 7

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. 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…

Psalm 7:1-4

And my reading stopped cold.

Several times lately, I have found myself ranting against a particular person or situation, and within twenty-four hours, seen it resolved, with no effort on my part, by the kindness of someone I had misjudged as selfish. This was humbling, but that moment of secret embarrassment was not teaching me the reality of my hardness of heart.

The opening passage of Psalm 7 immediately diagnosed the real issue as sin.

Even worse, Psalm 7 is imprecatory, meaning it goes on to curse the people who have committed this sin.

…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. Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies…

Psalm 7:5-6

And I’m beginning to panic. My heart is pounding as I see the personified righteous anger of the LORD standing on Araunah’s threshing floor sword raised to execute judgement (I Chronicles 21). For too brief a moment, I feel the weight of my sin and betrayal. I begin a panicked prayer, But the enemy is me, LORD! Please don’t rise up! Forgive me for my sin of selfishness, doubt and ingratitude.

The audacity of that plea.

Think on this. I had sinned. I did wrong and immediately I turn to YHWH, the living and holy God, and beg him to spare me for something I knew full well I had done. The passage goes on to ask the LORD to, “judge me according to my righteousness,” (v.8) And my heart is further begging, God please don’t! Have mercy.

What right have I to do this? None. No more than any thief, murderer, or lying tongue whose words come back to destroy them.

Thank God that I am not judged by my righteousness, for I’ve none, but on the righteousness of Christ Jesus, His son. And my heart sings with Psalm 118:

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

Psalm 118:1-5

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