In which I study a psalm and share a quote from C.H. Spurgeon’s, The Treasury of David.
Quite a few weeks have passed since I last chewed on a psalm. I believe my last was Psalm 6, so I sat down with Psalm 7 yesterday.
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
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.
The LORD judges the peoples;
judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous —
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.
If a man does not repent,
God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readies his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.
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.
When I read the psalms I usually try to relate to the author in some way. In this particular Psalm of David, he is writing of being falsely accused. Someone, most probably King Saul, slandered David’s good name. David’s response is to appeal to God, the righteous judge, to vindicate him and exact justice on his slanderers. Unlike me, David does not try to explain himself, justify himself, make things right, nor seek revenge.
I can’t quite relate to David’s experience. If I have ever been slandered, then I’m pretty certain that it wasn’t for my innocence or righteousness.
On the contrary, I’ve been the slanderer. It pains me to remember the many times I passed along a juicy morsel, whether true or false, and slandered another. This psalm is a reminder for me that to slander is wicked and the wicked slander.
Jesus was falsely accused and, like David, entrusted himself to One who judges rightly. Psalm 7 takes on much deeper meaning when read from the perspective of the suffering Christ.
Jesus encourages his disciples in Matthew5:11 saying, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
One day I may face slander simply because I follow Jesus. In fact, Spurgeon writes in The Treasury of David that I can depend on it.
He has this to say:
It will be well for us here to remember that this is a description of the danger to which the Psalmist was exposed from slanderous tongues. Verily this is not an overdrawn picture, for the wounds of a sword will heal, but the wounds of the tongue cut deeper than the flesh, and are not soon cured. Slander leaves a slur, even if it be wholly disproved. Common fame, although notoriously a common liar, has very many believers. Once let an ill word get into men’s mouths, and it is not easy to get it fully out again. The Italians say that good repute is like the cypress, once cut, it never puts forth leaf again; this is not true if our character be cut by a stranger’s hand, but even then it will not soon regain its former verdure. Oh, ’tis a meanness most detestable in its mode of warfare. We must be ready for this trial, for it will surely come upon us. If God was slandered in Eden, we shall surely be maligned in this land of sinners. Gird up your loins, ye children of the resurrection, for this fiery trial awaits you all.
When I am slandered, I hope I can rejoice! And do good in return. If, on the other hand, I’ve slandered another, then it is my responsibility to repent and seek the forgiveness of those I’ve wounded. That is NEVER fun. It’s my prayer that I never dig a gossip pit for myself ever again.