Psalm 7 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Vindicate Me, Lord

Psalm 7

-Robert Frost The Road Not Taken: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

-Marty Robbins “ I walk alone”

-Greenday “I walk alone, I walk alone” 

-LOTR “one more step it’s the farthest from home I’ve ever been”

-but what about taking the way that is narrow that’s been trod by millions of saints before us?

-Eugene Peterson A Long Obedience in the Same Direction “There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness. Religion in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Religion is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure.”

-A expounding on last week’s idea “how long O Lord?” 

READ

PRAY

  1. David Pleads His Case (1-11)

0 – no one knows what Shaggaion means, used 1 other time in the OT. No one knows who Cush is! Benjaminite’s weren’t big fans of David.

-Saul was from their tribe, David replaced Saul

-Background to Psalm 3 reminded us that not everyone loved David. As part of Absalom’s revolt, David fled Jerusalem, Shimei, of the house of Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, threw stones at David, called him a worthless man that was cursed by God. 

-Therefore, not a stretch to think that whoever Cush is was saying the same thing

  1. Justice for Me (1-5)

-David begins by addressing God (again)

-Make a note of that! Underline it, highlight it, write it on your heart: within the first line of each of the Psalms we’ve read, David addresses God directly.

-Big difference between David’s addressing of God, and our addressing of God in the NT. God vs. Father

-Do you understand, marvel, give thanks for the reality that the God who once had to be approached with fear and trepidation, with an entire sacrificial system, completely set apart from where His people lived/operated where only 1 person/year could enter into his presence for fear of death can now be approached as our heavenly Father who is always with us?

-There is a sense of identity with David: O Lord MY God, but it sure doesn’t feel like it has the same sense of warmth as Father.

-Notice as well that the primary way David addresses God in the first half is as Lord, then he shifts in vs. 9 to God. There’s a reason we have all these different names for God throughout the Bible – do you approach God with all those names?

-Look at what David states next: in YOU do I take refuge.

-Think of that classic hymn “Rock of Ages” “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” Do you know the story behind this hymn? Story/legend says that Augustus Toplady (yes, that’s his real name!) was traveling through a gorge when he got caught in a terrible storm, and took shelter in a cleft in the rocks. Anyone else here hear the thunder at 6 AM yesterday morning? Weren’t you glad you were inside?

-Think of another Psalm that talks about this idea, Psalm 46 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

-Church: do you view God in that way? When life is beating you down, when your friends have become enemies, when your reputation is in ruins, do you look to God as YOUR refuge and strength? This really is the culmination of the previous 4 Psalms: why is David trusting in God? Because God is his refuge and strength.

-This trust, this unshakeable foundation is what allows David to ask God to save him from all his pursuers.

-The position David is in (king) becomes shaky if the nation turns against him, doesn’t trust him. Not just in leadership, but in friendship as well. If your best friend is gossiping about you, do you continue trusting them with information? Doesn’t it feel like a lion is tearing your soul apart? 

-Plumer “A universal weapon against the friends of truth is the tongue.” (108)

-Mark Twain: “A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth is able to get on its’ pants.”

-The truth tends to be downplayed for a lie, and we Christians need to be opposed to lies in every context we find ourselves in! We represent the one who is the THE truth!

Barna: 1/3 of people who claim to be Christians are not coming back to church. It’s REALLY hard to be committed to THE truth when you’re not committed/engaged in the one place that is committed to that truth.

-Now, there’s an element here that we need to address, as David goes on in vs. to say, these accusations should lead us to self-reflection. Anyone here completely perfect in every interaction you have yet? Then we’re all in this together!

-David pleads his case before God. Notice all the IFs

-David is so assured of his innocence, that he barters with God. IF he has been unfaithful, IF he has sinned, then let his enemies win.

-Not necessarily something we should do. If we’re caught in sin, we should be quick to repent and seek reconciliation. 

-This is pointing us to the cross, where Jesus had done no wrong, had not repaid anyone with evil, had not plundered anyone, and his soul was overtaken, his life was trampled to the ground, and his glory was laid in the dust.

-We live on this side of that reality! There’s 2 ways to approach this coming judgment, and CS Lewis talked about it well in his Reflections on the Psalms

ancient Jews and Christians today view themselves in a court of law, Christians view themselves as a criminal being judged, Jews viewed themselves as the plaintiff expecting a huge payout. Where do you place yourself in that judgment? The criminal, or the plaintiff?

-Selah

  • Justice for My Enemies (6-11)

-David then transitions from asking for justice for himself, to asking for justice for his enemies. 

-Look at the language he uses to call on God: arise, life, awake.

-God doesn’t ever slumber of sleep, never gets tired, is constantly holding all things together, why is it that David uses these words?

-He’s pleading with God to deal with the injustice that’s taking place around him! Begging God to bring about perfect justice in this situation.
-Last phrase here “you have appointed a judgment” is within the semantic range of the Hebrew word, I prefer the NIV “decree justice.” Similar to vs. 3 “If there is INJUSTICE in my hands”

-Justice is a major theme throughout the Bible – treating others as created in the image of God. Was reminded this week of a Bible project video related to this idea that I think would be worth watching, take a look!

-That idea of God executing justice continues throughout the rest of this section, and the connection between justice and righteousness is demonstrated as well. Let’s look at 

-vs. 7 – after calling God to bring about justice, he asks to call the witnesses. That word translated “assembly” is translated as “synagogue” in the Greek OT. 

-David is asking God to bring it to the highest court God has given: his people.

-God’s people (as we saw in the video) are meant to bring about a new justice system, and the hardest part about that is we’re supposed to live that true justice out as a demonstration to everyone around us. That’s what David goes on to say in vs. 8

-Ultimately the true lasting judge is God. Notice the personal pronouns David uses.

-First the acknowledgement that God judges the PEOPLES, then asking to judge ME

-Now if we were to ask God to judge us based on our own individual righteousness, not one of us would remain standing. 

-That’s where we all need to throw ourselves on God’s mercy and believe that He has counted us as righteous through the sacrifice of His Son. That’s where we see the righteousness of God given to every believer today, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. See all of us who have been born again will never face the judgment/justice we deserve.

-(vs. 9) Throughout history, God’s people have pleaded with him to finally bring in the new kingdom.

-Think of the disciples in Acts 1:6 “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

-Tendency to think of/treat us as those who are “inside” and those who are “outside” acting as if the offending party is someone “out there” That’s what David is saying here! Let those filthy evil people out there be sacrificed for our sake, then those of use who are “in” who are righteous can finally have the peace we deserve. That idea is pervasive in the church! 

-Think of the story of the Pharisee vs. the tax collector. “Thank God I’m not like those other men.” Vs. “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” One of these men received justice. Which one was it?

-Or think of Paul in 1 Cor. 6. “Such were some of you.”

-It’s not the others who are the problem, it’s all of us who are the problem! See we too used to live in the kingdom of darkness, but we have been washed and sanctified, but we still have a tendency to give in to our sin. That’s why we need to be reminded that God has given us a job to do: to tell the world that Jesus is king, and we actually have to live like we believe that truth! 

-There is an “in” and an “out” but ultimately that’s up to God to decide, and up to us to do everything we can to get as many people “in” as we can! That’s where David ends this verse: God tests the minds and hearts, righteousness is found only in Him

-Then David reminds himself (and us) that God is the only one who can/will protect us

-God is our shield, God saves/rescues/restores, and because of that, He is a righteous judge. He can/will be indignant when people don’t respond to His gracious call to repentance. So how does God respond to a lack of repentance?

  • God’s Righteous Judgment (12-17)
    • The Unrepentant (12-16)

-God responds by destroying those who will not be obedient to Him.

-Remember we saw how we view these “imprecatory Psalms” back in Psalm 5, God is a kind, loving, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love to those who fear Him, but He cannot and will not tolerate an evil rebellious spirit, so there will be discipline and destruction doled out.

-Compare vs. 10 “who saves the upright in heart” with these verses.

-Whetting a sword is sharpening it, getting it ready for battle. Bent and readied his bow, the target is in His sights, all he has to do is twitch and the arrow will fly away. Not only are the arrows ready to go: he’s dipped them in tar and fire! He’s locked and loaded and ready to deliver punishment! Why is this the case?

-Because of how the wicked man lives his life. 

-Look at this progression: conceives, pregnant, gives birth

-He’s continually giving in to sin, lying dormant with it, can’t hide it. Same idea James picks up in James 1:14-15 “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

-Sin, like being pregnant, can’t be hidden, will take the life from you, will wear you out/down and will lead to death

-Do you realize how ridiculous this is? People are offered freedom, life, flourishing, and they trade it for evil, mischief and lies. And to double down on how ridiculous this is, look at the next 2 verses:

-A guy digs a hole and falls into it. Then he throws a boomerang that comes back around and hits him on the head.

-Anyone ever watch Looney Tunes? There’s a character named Wil E Coyote whose entire life goal is to destroy the Road Runner, but each time he tries to destroy him, it comes back around to destroy himself. He’s a literal gif! Have you ever seen these? You realize just how ridiculous this is, right? 

-CS Lewis has a beautiful illustration of this in The Weight of Glory. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

-We keep distracting ourselves, we keep fooling ourselves, we keep tricking ourselves by playing with our tiny little mud pies when we’re offered an all inclusive beach vacation! We’re flying to Florida tomorrow to visit Cara’s family: while we’re there we’re taking our kids to Disney World. Anyone who’s been there knows it’s a magical place – my kids can’t even fathom what they’re going to experience! They’d be content to swim in the kiddy pool we have in our back yard because they can’t even fathom what they’re being offered this week. 

-That’s us when we continue playing in our sin. We’re offered a trip to Disney, and we’d rather play in the 2” of water that our dogs just got out of.

-God gives freedom, joy, a brand new life where people can finally flourish and people too often are content to play in their sin.

-Yet for those who are now righteous in Christ, we can give thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving (17)

-Because God has made us righteous, he has extended that righteousness to the world by believing in His one and only Son. Then, when we’re in Christ, we can sing praise to His name.

-Psalmists see through a mirror dimly, we see a little more clearly

-Because of God’s righteousness, we can now come before Him through faith in His Son, by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. That’s where we can take refuge in Him, we can find justice in Him, and we can give thanks to Him. So which path are you going to take? The path the world offers, which leads to death, or the path paved by Christ, which leads to eternal life.

-One of the ways the saints of old have walked the faithful path is by celebrating and remembering the Lord’s death in communion, so we take up the same path today: remembering and celebrating the reality of the resurrection. This is a family meal reminding one another which family we’re a part of, which kingdom we’re building, and to whom we’re looking for our refuge. If you’re walking in obedience to Jesus Christ having put your trust in Him, you’re welcome to celebrate with us. Use this last song we’re going to sing as a song of preparation for the celebration of communion together.

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