“From the [Psalm’s] title we learn the occasion of the composition of this song. It appears probable that Cush the Benjamite had accused David to Saul of treasonable conspiracy against his royal authority. This the king would be ready enough to [believe], [because of] his jealousy of David… Thus, this may be called the Song of the Slandered Saint. Even this sorest of evils [slander] may furnish occasion for a Psalm. What a blessing it would be if we could turn even the most disastrous event into a theme for song, and so turn the tables upon our great enemy. Let us learn a lesson from Luther, who once said, ‘David made Psalms; we also will make Psalms, and sing them as well as we can to the honor of our Lord, and to spite and mock the devil.’” (C.H. Spurgeon)
How often was our Lord slandered; time and again the victim of human lies born out of jealousy and hatred. Throughout his life and to his death he was called a son of immorality, a drunkard and glutton, a blasphemer, Satan’s offspring, a conjurer from hell, an enemy of Rome—when in fact he was Innocence itself. And while Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of his enemies, he also pronounced woe and judgment—as the psalmist does here is Psalm 7—on those who refused to repent and were determined to stay his enemies and oppose all that is right, true, and holy (for example, see Matthew 23; 25:41-46).
This psalm requires a little extra comment. Psalm 7 may feel awkward to sing—perhaps even wrong—since it expresses a desire that slandering evildoers be stopped by God. After all, doesn’t Jesus command us to pray for our enemies? Yes, he does. And as we face an evil world full of men and women who do evil and slander the church, we should be like Jesus in praying for their salvation. But we may also pray—like Jesus—that if evildoers refuse to repent and stop their evil-doing, they will be stopped by God. Godly prayers may flow something like this—“O Lord please save all your enemies and mine through repentance and faith in Jesus! Please bring them to humble contrition and transformation and joy! But o Lord, if they refuse to repent and change, then Lord please stop them that they may sin against you and your people no more!”
As we sing psalms like this, these two realities need to govern our hearts: (1) so much love for our enemies that we will pray and do them good to overcome their evil; and (2) so much love for what is right and just, that if enemies refuse to repent of their evil injustice, we will desire that God stop their evil ways and vindicate his people.
Needless to say godly Christian faith and devotion can be complicated. Pray that God will give you a pure heart in it all.
* This term is derived from two Greek words—one meaning heart and the other meaning sounds or utterances. Thinking that he wouldn’t mind, I’ve borrowed the term from John Newton (author of Amazing Grace—and creator of his own hymnbook back in his 18th century days) to label my devotional reflections in which I share sounds and thoughts from my own heart that are prompted by each of the psalms—and the King whom they reveal. I hope that my cardiphonia will be filled with personal hints for the life of faith, as well as observations about Jesus as well; both for your blessing, and for mine.
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