"O Lord my God, if I have done this . . " (Psalm 7)
O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge;
Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me,
Lest he tear me like a lion, dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.
O Lord my God, if I have done this,
If there is injustice in my hands,
If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my adversary without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
And let him trample my life down to the ground, and lay my glory in the dust.
Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
Lift up yourself against the rage of my adversaries,
And arouse yourself for me; You have appointed judgment.
And let the assembly of the peoples encompass Thee;
And over them return on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is within me.
O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous
For the righteous God tries the hearts and kidneys.
My shield is upon God, who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous Judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
If he does not repent, he will sharpen his sword;
He has bent his bow and made it ready.
He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, he travails with wickedness, and he conceives mischief, and brings forth falsehood.
He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, and has fallen into the pit which he made.
His mischief will return on his own head, and his violence will descend upon his own pate.
I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
- Psalm 7
The first thing that has always struck me in this psalm is Cush the Benjamite. Who is this guy, and what did he say? Nothing is said about him anywhere else, but right here and now, David found him to be a deadly danger, and he needed everthing God could do for him.
Fearing to be dragged away as by a lion, with none to deliver, David examined himself to see "if I have done this." He acknowledged right away that if he had, he deserved to reap the measure he had measured out to others, instead of complaining about the injustice he was afraid of.
My son and I have been gravely hurt and are still being menaced by Chino Valley Unified School District. I need God to rescue us for sure, because I'm wet behind the ears in education law and in all the tricks in and out of the law that they can devise, and they've been at it for years. They're always surprising me: the whole past year, if I think of some trick they might play, I've always been proven wrong when I've figured that they wouldn't.
In the face of this history, I could easily be cynical - and cynicism is a grave menace, because cynicism is the prudence of fools, a cheap knockoff of wisdom. Nobody needs the grace of God to be cynical, so coming from elsewhere cynicism will never do.
But as David said, "Rebels cannot be taken in hand; he who touches them must be filled with iron and the shaft of a spear," and Jesus put no trust in thos who believed in him because "he knew what was in man." I could use more wisdom concerning all of this!
My main business remains: Have I done this? Have I rewarded evil to anyone who is at peace with me? Have I plundered my adversaries without cause, or intended to? I have to study continually to thwart their devices and I have to play them very tough to keep them from doing us more harm, as they are still trying to do, but my gravest danger remains that I might do them injustice from either fear, vindictiveness, or pride - and thereby lose God's shadow.
As it is, David was inspired by God in this incident to pray for important things far off, even relating to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (verses 6-8). The greatest issues are contained in the smallest matters, in this case David's troubles with the Benjamite Cush, who except for this reference has "vanished from the pages of time." Everything counts. For every little struggle we need the grace of God.
Finally, how do we get dragged away as our conduct deserves if we like to play the predator ourelves?
If we do not repent, what we will do instead is to sharpen our swords, bend our bows, and prepare for ourselves deadly weapons. People live by the sword because that's how not to repent - staying the same by forcing everyone else to help us stay that way. And that's how we die by the sword. "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 on his own pate."