A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.
1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
3 Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
4 if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
6 Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
8 Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.
10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
This psalm of David is one we should all become familiar with. The main point of the entire thing is God’s sovereignty. This passage could be connected with a time recalled in 2 Samuel 16:5-14 which says:
“5 As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. 6 He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. 7 As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”
10 But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”
11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”
13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.”
David is faced with accusation and cursing over the deaths of Saul’s family, though he is innocent. Instead of arguing with the man or even trying to make him be silent, David lets him go on cursing, figuring that the Lord has made him do it for a purpose.
Verses 1 & 2 are a cry for God to rescue and protect. David eagerly seeks the one place he knows he will find rest, in God. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28. There are no hiding places here on earth. Only in Christ can we be comforted apart from the trials and tribulations of this world.
Verses 4-6 are almost like a back and forth discussion in David’s head. He openly speaks with God about his dealings in the matter he is accused of. David wants to be honest about whether or not he is guilty. If he has done wrong, he is ready to pay for it in what seems right to the Lord. As with all sin, there are consequences. Even after you have been set apart to God as His child, you will suffer the consequences of sin. If your own child lied to you, would you not punish them so they will learn? We must also be made aware of our sins, it is part of our sanctification.
Verses 6-9 are a declaration of acknowledgment that David has indeed been righteous, and not committed that of which he is accused. He has not sinned. That being said, he exonerates the Lord as a perfect Judge to make things right. David knows that all of the people placed around him are being used for a purpose, and he calls on God to pour out what is due, based on their hearts.
Again in 10-13 David puts his faith and trust in God, who knows what is best for all. He deduces that if the Lord is angry then His wrath will be made know, and will be carried out. The imagery here is of a skilled hunter ready to take aim and attack at the offender. This leads into verses 14-16. Knowing he is innocent, David expounds on the fate of sinners who are not part of God’s family. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28
David ends this psalm with words that we as Christians should keep in mind each and every day: I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. In all things we must be cognizant that the Lord is in control, and that each and every thing that happens is because He has willed it.
- Is there a promise or principle to remember?
In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The emphasis is on those who love God. He is working all things around each of us who are His children so we will learn and grow and come to know Him fully. He uses each day as a tool of sanctification, and of opportunity to witness to others. So what do our daily worries say about where our focus lies?
- Is there an example to follow or a command to obey?
David is always a great example of a man who’s heart is after God. Though he finds sorrow and toil in the day to day life, he is constantly setting his eyes on the one source of comfort; God. He is convinced (because he is always seeking and speaking with God) that God will judge fairly with all. “It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry?” – Psalm 76:7
- Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?
In each trial that we face we have 2 basic options on which we can place our minds:
- Focus on the problem – this will lead us to despair every time. If we cannot take our minds off of what is hurting us we will be forever trapped in that world of hurt.
- Focus on God – this will lead us to joy in the midst of hardship. If we have been set free from sin, and have the hope of being with Christ for eternity, what can shake our joy? Why do we look for joy in this world when it is not offered in any eternal form? Placing your focus on what Christ has done on your behalf will change your relationships and desires. You will then be able to truly live for Him.
- Is there a sin being revealed?
Where do you look for help in times of trouble? Do you try to fix things on your own, or do you seek answers from God? We can sometimes ignore what God is telling us by taking things into our own hands. Fortunately we have a God who loves us, and will use our mistakes for our eventual good. Even in happy times we pat ourselves on the back for what a great job we have done. We must remember that in all things God is in control. Nothing happens outside of His knowledge, or decree. He is all powerful, and when we demote Him to ‘watcher’ we are literally saying that we do not believe He is God.
- Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?
Lord, thank you for the opportunity to read your word and to spend time at your feet. I know that it is only by being with you that I can ever really be whole. I pray that you will use these words from your book to resonate with me today, and that I might grow in the knowledge that you are in control no matter what is happening around me.