Please get your Bible and turn to Psalm 7 if you want to follow along. We will pick up where we left off in the series in Psalms. This week I have titled the message, “Thanksgiving to the LORD Most High”, in light of the upcoming fall season and the Thanksgiving holiday that will soon be upon us. We will be focusing on the last verse in this psalm where David says,
“I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”
While most people focus on David’s crying out to the Lord, we need to see his words coming from a heart full of thanksgiving and praise. Everything that we have comes from the LORD our God and we need to be grateful. David will address the Lord regarding that for which he is thankful and wants to praise God.
This psalm is called a Shiggaion, which is a dithyrambic rhythm (quick changes in rhythm) or a wild passionate song. David is giving thanks and praising God according to His righteousness:
- for deliverance (vs. 1-2)
- for equity (vs. 3-5)
- for vindication (vs. 6-11)
- for judgment (vs. 12-16)
David offers a stern warning to the man who will not repent of evil ways and sinful practices. He also shows us how to have a heart after God’s own heart in serving with a contrite spirit and good conscience before God in the midst the evils that surround us.
Thank you in advance for your attention to the word of God today.
Giving thanks for deliverance in the LORD (vs. 1-2)
“O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, Or he will tear my soul like a lion, Dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.”
David needed to be delivered from his enemies before it was too late. While many have speculated about the back story for this psalm, we are only told that this psalm was sung to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite. This has caused many to believe that David is writing figuratively about Saul who pursued his life and calling him Cush. Other have simply treated the psalm in a general way, pointing out that David had many enemies and this is just one example for how David leaned on the Lord for divine deliverance in this challenging time in his life. The details of who was chasing him aren’t as important as the God who saves!
Twice David uses the word "deliver" in these first two verses. To be delivered from the hand of an enemy is such a relief. While our enemy is in hot pursuit and we fear for our life, we need a hiding place (Psalm 57:1). David looks to the Lord and implores Him to be his rescuer.
David is thankful to have God as a Savior and he finds deliverance and refuge in the LORD. David proclaims,
“O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me”.
In other words you are my shelter in this storm. You are a place of rest from all of the chaos. You are my salvation, my song, my hope, my all in all (See Psalm 61:4). David is grateful to have a friend to turn to when so many are trying to kill him. David tells the LORD if you do not protect me and keep me safe, I will be ripped to shreds like a lion tears the flesh of its prey and crushes the bones. But David was not so much worried about his flesh, but his soul (life - nephesh) being torn apart and his spiritual condition being shaken by their attacks.
We likewise cannot be so concerned about what man can do to our flesh, but what will happen to our souls if we do not take cover in the presence of the LORD. David states that the enemies would be, “dragging me away, where there is none to deliver”. We have all watched the National Geographic shows where a lion is chasing its prey. The prey will dart from right to left, making sharp turns and trying to avoid being caught in the mouth and claws of the lion. If the lion catches the prey it will drag it off to eat it and there is no hope for deliverance. We can get so distanced in a place where our enemies want to take us away from God where there is a point of no return. David asks God to get him out of this physical mess that is affecting his well being and eternal soul. He is tired of running and needs safety and a place to rest. Don’t wait until it is too late to call on the Lord for help!
Sometimes when we read passages like this we have a difficult time making personal life application, because very few of us have actually found ourselves in this circumstances that David is going through from a physical perspective. How about from a spiritual perspective? David mentions how the enemy will tear him up like a lion. We have an enemy called Satan that prowls around like a roaring lion seeking souls to devour (I Peter 5:8-9). We are not ignorant of his schemes, yet many souls have become victims to temptation, trials and have been torn by the attacks of Satan and wounded with his fiery darts. In order to avoid being a statistic to the onslaught of evil, take refuge in the Lord. Satan might not bring a full on attack, as sometimes his approach is to simply keep you from reading your Bible, praying to God, attending the services of the church, giving to the work of the kingdom, serving others etc. Remember that the enemy will win if he can keep you distanced from the Lord and at an opportune time he will overtake you and devour your soul.
Be thankful if you have found deliverance, salvation and refuge in the Lord. He promises that no one will be able to take you from His hand. No one will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ. The only person that could sever your relationship with the Lord is you. You can leave the shelter of His grace.
Giving thanks for equity in the LORD (vs. 3-5)
“O Lord my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, If I have rewarded evil to my friend, Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; And let him trample my life down to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah.”
David is asking God to search him and see if he has caused any of the chaos in his life. This is a good idea from time to time to ask God to be fair in analyzing our spiritual condition before Him. Check in with the Lord and let Him know that we are willing to acknowledge where we have come up short of His glory. If we are going through something, instead of blaming everyone else, it might be good to take inventory of what sin might exist in our own life that could be the cause of some turmoil surrounding us.
David is in essence repenting, but in the same breath he is also fully convinced that the Lord will not find the unrighteousness in his soul. When we repent, we are telling God, “if I have done this…” and I am the root cause of what I am facing, I want to change that and I yet I realize that there might be consequences, but I seek your forgiveness.
David understands that it may cost him his life if he is found guilty. David is so certain that he is not the source of this crisis that he is willing to lose his physical life and soul over it. He has been in this situation before as in I Samuel 24:10-11 where he had the chance to kill Saul in a cave and instead he spared him, since he was the Lord’s anointed. David’s response was, “See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.” Again, since he knows that he has striven with all of his heart to do what is right, all he can do is express that he would give up his life, his soul and his glory if he had done anything wrong. Even though he is innocent, he is still being hunted like prey.
While David is not justifying himself in self-righteousness, he trusts that the Lord will see his heart and offer him divine justification, which will preserve his earthly life, save His soul and offer him eternal glory with the LORD. We must have this same contrite spirit before God and trust in him for salvation. David had every right to defend his upright heart (See Acts 25:11).
How many of us have a heart after God’s own heart that we would be willing to say the same thing to the Lord. Lord if it is my fault, let me be punished, overtaken by the enemy and killed for my wrongs. This would be tough unless you had a heart of repentance. David is thankful that God sees not only our actions but the thoughts and intentions of the heart. While men look at the outward appearance, God looks inward to the heart level. This leads us to the third point where David will address the integrity that is in his heart and the righteousness he shares in the Lord. David is vindicated by the Lord, which means he is cleared of blame and right with God.
Giving thanks for vindication in the Lord (vs. 6-10)
“Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; Lift up Yourself against the rage of my adversaries, And arouse Yourself for me; You have appointed judgment. Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You, And over them return on high. The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart."
David is thankful that God is righteous as a judge and will be fair and just in his judgment. David asks God to get involved in his case and rise to the occasion in anger (See Psalm 3:7). You may recall in our last episode in Psalm 6 that David asked God not to rebuke him in anger or chasten him in his wrath. This is because David had a heart after God and His will. David knows the mercy and grace of God and desires those blessings over his punishment.
For those that live in perpetual sin and unrighteousness, David asked God to lift Himself up against the rage of the enemies set against him. He adds that God should be roused to take action because it is God who already said that He would punish wickedness in judgment.
David wants the Lord to let people be gathered around and for Him to reign supreme over all men. David desires for God’s just verdict to be pronounced over every case. By God exercising His righteous judgment it would cause all of the people to encompass Him and exalt him. This could be similar to the vision in Isaiah 6:1 where the LORD is seated on the throne, high and exalted. In other words, show them who is seated on the throne and let the world know who is the judge over all things. In David’s case, he asked for vindication (clearing him of blame or suspicion) based on the fact that in his heart of hearts he knew that he was in good standing with the Lord and had done nothing to bring about the evil in these men who were seeking his life.
David believed that he was a man of integrity in this scenario although at other times, he sinned and had to deal with the consequences of his own wrongdoing. Here he pleaded with God to let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but at the same time, that God would establish the righteous. David was thankful that he was making these requests of a righteous God.
David knows that God tries the hearts and minds of men (Psalm 26:2). In Jeremiah 11:20, the prophet states,
“But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to You have I committed my cause.”
This goes deeper than thoughts, but he is referencing the innermost parts of our being (kidneys, internal organs is the same word. See Psalm 139:13). The point is that God is intimately acquainted with our innermost parts. Nothing will be hidden from His sight but everything is on display before Him. David revisits the fact that he takes refuge in God and adds, “My shield is with God” (See Psalm 5:12). I stand in his protection (defense) and he will save me because I am upright. The LORD hasn’t changed because even the church was told that God searches our hearts and minds (Rev. 2:20-23). One day there will be a final judgment and each one will stand before the LORD and be judged according their works (Jer. 17:10; II Cor. 5:10).
Unlike earthly judges that are fallible and make mistakes in their sentencing from time to time, God is a righteous judge. His rulings are fair and true. But the LORD is not a judge to sit back and ignore evil. David concluded that God has indignation (which includes wrath against unrighteousness) every single day. David is thankful to stand in the righteousness of God.
Giving thanks for judgment in the LORD (vs. 11-17)
It is important that we celebrate the wrath of God as His children and be thankful for His judgment. David begins to explain the indignation of God toward those that sin and do evil against us:
“God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword (of judgment see Rom. 13:4); He has bent His bow and made it ready. He has also prepared for Himself, deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts (Deut. 32:36-43; Rev. 19:11-21). God will hunt down those that have rebelled against Him. These are the same sinners that bring hurt to us. As long as sin and unrighteousness exists, we will not have true peace and everlasting joy. This is why we rejoice over God’s judgment. We all groan and yearn for the paradise of God to be restored and this cannot occur in its fullness until the wrath of God destroys wickedness in hell (See Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-9)
Next, David discusses the downfall of the one living in sin and unrighteousness:
“Behold, he travails with wickedness (cannot wait to produce more evil), And he conceives mischief (constantly conjuring up and thinking about wicked plans) and brings forth falsehood (eager to tell his next set of lies). He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate (crown of his head).”
While we do not wish that any soul will perish, there will be a day of reckoning and we rejoice in it. The person that will not take refuge in the Lord, refuse to repent of their sins and they deny righteousness from God, are digging a hole for themselves and making a grave (Psalm 9:15-20) while ushering in a severe punishment from God one day (See Isaiah 63:1-9). Have you ever had someone say to you, give me that shovel before you dig a deeper hole. That means, stop what you’re doing before it’s too late.
They are like those in James, who allow lusts to conceive and they give birth to sin and when sin is finished it brings forth death. Here is a prime example of this downfall and destruction (Isaiah 24:16-17).
I hope that we can say with David instead,
“I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”
(See Exodus 15:2-3). We know that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). We don’t have to fear judgment, because we already know and have confidence in our verdict from God.
It is hard to be thankful when we are going through less-than-desirable life situations. Yet David expresses thanksgiving and praise in the midst of challenging times:
- for deliverance in the LORD (vs. 1-2)
- for equity in the LORD (vs. 3-5)
- for vindication in the LORD (vs. 6-11)
- for judgment in the LORD (vs. 12-16)
As we close our study together, I want to offer an invitation. Where do you stand with the Lord this day? Are you in Christ? Are you a child of God? Is God your shield? Have you repented of your own shortcomings? Do you rely fully upon the righteous judgment of God to save you by His mercy and grace extended in His Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t wait until it is too late to get your life right with the LORD! Lay down that shovel that you have been digging your own grave with, and come and serve the LORD.
If you need to become a Christian in obedience to the gospel or you have need of some spiritual restoration, or just prayers for strength, I want to assist you. If I can help, please contact me by email and I will be glad to personally assist you or get you in contact with a church in your area that can serve you in your spiritual needs.