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97. Psalm 7: “Song for an Enemy”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 1/17/2019

and

South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, NJ –Men’s Evening Chapel on 1/20/2019

(edited December 2021)

 

Some of these Songs or Psalms come with a little inscription at the beginning. It is left out in some Bibles. The one for this Psalm says:

“A Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord

concerning the words of Cush, the Benjamite.”

 

The exact meaning of Shiggaion is not known, I guess. Bible scholars seem to equate it with what we might call the blues or a lament. Also, not fully known is the exact identity of “Cush, the Benjamite.” Could it refer to King Saul who was of the Tribe of Benjamin and said some horrible things about David? Another possibility would be a man called Shimei who is mentioned in II Samuel chapter 16. Shimei was a Benjamite who cursed King David at the time of a civil uprising led by David’s own son, Absalom. This took place as David was retreating from his thrown in Jerusalem because of the rebellion:

 

II Samuel 16:5-8

“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.  And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.”

 

One thing is for certain, both King Saul, this man Shimei, and many others earned the right to be called an enemy of David. Let’s look now at David’s reaction to the onslaught of an enemy here in Psalm 7:

 

Verses 1-2:Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:  Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.”

 

To me, it sounds like David is in a weakened and vulnerable state. Enemies can do that, would you agree? The words of “Cush” have really hurt David. He wasn’t able to just shrug it off.

 

We know that David was an Old Covenant believer. That means he worked for rewards, here on Earth, from God. Today, conversely, we would claim to walk by grace through faith and to serve the Lord out of true love, not obligation or legal necessity. That doesn’t make any of us better than David, but it means we serve God in a different way. For instance, you haven’t sacrificed any animals to the Lord lately, have you? I know I haven’t, but that would have been normal for David.

 

Following a list of rules is a spiritual dead end, and it always was. Working for salvation and blessings from God, sooner than not, leaves the worker doubting about just how “good” they have to be to finally please God. I’ve tried it, and I can tell you it can drive you crazy. The only real hope of pleasing God, is to Love Him and allow Him to Love you. That’s the message of Christ’s New Covenant for our day. David loved God, too, but he didn’t have that message. Let’s take a look how he doubted and himself and his own works, first in Psalm 7 and then in the story of Shimei and David in II Samuel 16:

 

Verses 3-5:Lord my God, If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.”

 

 

II Samuel 16:9-13

And Abishai son of Zeruiah saith unto the king, `Why doth this dead dog revile my lord the king? let me pass over, I pray thee, and I turn aside his head.'  And the king saith, `What -- to me and to you, O sons of Zeruiah? for -- let him revile; even because Jehovah hath said to him, Revile David; and who saith, Wherefore hast Thou done so?' And David saith unto Abishai, and unto all his servants, `Lo, my son who came out of my bowels is seeking my life, and also surely now the Benjamite; leave him alone, and let him revile, for Jehovah hath said [so] to him; it may be Jehovah doth look on mine affliction, and Jehovah hath turned back to me good for his reviling this day.' And David goeth with his men in the way, and Shimei is going at the side of the hill over-against him, going on, and he revileth, and stoneth with stones over-against him, and hath dusted with dust.”

 

David thought, “Maybe old Shimei might be right about me.” Hey, have you ever seen the truth in what your enemies are saying about you? I have, and I have certainly doubted myself at those times. Enemies will lie about you, but as painful as it is, they don’t always lie? To his credit, David did not seek personal revenge on Shimei. He trusted that the Lord would judge who was right and what was true. But, like all who labor under the law of Moses, David was afraid that he might make an enemy out of God too. Also, though he refrained from personal revenge, David now wants God to do the dirty work of revenge for him. After, he may have thought, good behavior should be rewarded so it would be a righteous thing for God to clobber my unrighteous enemy:

 

Verses 6-8:Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.”

 

How he pleads with God:

 

Verses 9-10:Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.”

 

David was “betting the house” that he was better than his enemy. What he says next, I think, is very hard to reconcile with the New Covenant of Grace:

 

Verses 11:God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

 

Believing in Jesus means admitting that you are a hopeless sinner. And not just a little bit. It means, basically, that you are no better than your worst enemy. Is that why Christ tells us it is possible to love our enemies?

 

And, by the way, does God love His enemies? What David seems to be saying here is—NO WAY! Yet we know today that we are all sinners by physical birth and yet, He Loves each of us. I can’t explain that, but I believe it. O, how precious Christ is for each of us today whether we realize or appreciate it or not!

 

Going on, David now imagines God as really “loading up” and getting ready to attack the unrighteous:

 

Verses 12-13:If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.”

 

David was a man of war. He had seen on the battlefield how vulnerable men really are. Listen to his testimony about what happens to sinners:

 

Verses 14-16:Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”

 

And we know from the story of David’s life that he too, at times, fell into grave sin. But he is the King of Israel and ancestor of Christ for a reason.  The man that the Scriptures call “The Sweet Psalmist of Israel” is going to leave it all in the hands of the Lord and trust in His judgement:

 

Verse 17:I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.”

 

We can’t live by every word in Psalm 7, but we can learn from every word in it. David lived under the law. Today we understand, or we should understand, that not one of our manifold blessings or any of these blessings we see around us in this world are merited. So actually, we have even more reason than King David to love the Lord and to be grateful for His kindness.

 

Please don’t leave here tonight thinking that I was trying to somehow belittled David. Even living under the Old Covenant laws, David found a way to love God from deep inside his heart and, at least at times, to do something I have so often failed to do today: to love his enemies. Earlier I mentioned a rebellion that was brought against David by his own son, Absalom. Well, according to the Bible, that rebellion eventually failed, and Absalom ultimately fell in battle against David’s army. I close tonight with the account of David’s reaction to his “victory” over his son. Please note that the “Cushi” mentioned here has no relation to the “Cush” we discussed earlier:

 

II Samuel 18:31-33

“And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Let’s pray.

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