Read | Psalm 7
Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.
My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Respond | Ian Graham
Psalm 7 is a psalm of judgment. David extols the righteous judgment of the Lord, even inviting the Lord’s judgment upon his own life. David doesn’t fear the judgment of the Lord because he knows that the Lord’s justice is not retributive but restorative. For many today, we fear any talk of God as a judge because of the images of an angry, arbitrary God that it conjures up. But what would it look like for us to recover a proper understanding of the judgment of God? The Scriptures do not try to deter us from the notion of judgment altogether. They simply declare over and over again that judgment belongs to God alone and thus when we judge others, especially their motivations, we are in a sense playing God. The psalms invite a deep and searching self-examination. They place us face to face with God and in his presence our souls are laid bare. The psalms constantly invoke the Lord to judge and they invite us to do the same. Jesus’ warnings against judgment do not remove the promise that the Lord will judge the earth from the equation, rather they beckon us to recognize our proper place is not in the judgment seat but rather in the place of the one being judged and finding God just and merciful.
Practice: How have you placed yourself in the seat of God in regards to judging others? What would it look like to invite God’s judgment into your own life?