i know it’s early days, but already this is proving to be an exciting exercise for me and one of the benefits of working through the psalms is discovering ‘new’ ones… i am not saying someone has been sneaking into my bible and adding in new psalms when i haven’t been looking but often when we read the bible we stick to the passages we know well and like and avoid the harder ones or even the books with weird sounding names we have to use the index to find…

so with psalms it is often 23 or my favourite 34 or 121 and 139. it is great to go through one by one because i will get to those psalms in turn, but i will also discover some classic gems along the way…

and on to psalm 7:

this feels similar to the point i made about psalm 5 where David is saying things i’m not convinced his life can back up… certainly things i’d be a lot more nervous to utter… in verses 8-9 he says, ‘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.’

So David is asking God to judge him according to “my righteousness” and “my integrity” – again, this must have supposedly been written before the whole Bathsheba incident when David would not have been clamoring for those to be the measure points. I know, for my life, as much as i strive for personal righteousness and integrity, that i often fall short. i miss the mark and get it wrong a lot of the time which negates my righteousness. and i have really strong feelings on things like pirating movies/music and telling ‘little white lies’ but am not as strict when it comes to breaking the speed limit or some other things like that so personal hypocrisy in what i stand for and how i live it out often does surface which takes out my integrity from time to time.

so i am not convinced i would want to appeal to God to judge me on the basis of those two things. reminds me of the definitions of mercy and justice: justice is getting what we deserve and mercy is not getting what we deserve and i generally am super amped to lean towards mercy [especially when it comes to parking tickets and speeding fines if i deserve either of those]

i think the last phrase of that verse sums it up – ‘the righteous God who probes minds and hearts’ – God knows. And knowing that God knows [as David gets a lot more familiar with after the Bathsheba incident] i am a lot quicker to meet Him in a place more reliant on His righteousness and integrity than my own.

then the second thing that stood out for me was the language used towards the end which is just some great and explicit imagery that conveys well what he is speaking about – ‘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.’ [16-18]

Reminiscent once more of the depiction of sin in James 1 – ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [13-15]

And the message that is loud and clear is don’t give time to sin. The imagery of conception and birth refers to a pretty substantial time length – 9 months – and so the idea is that the person involved has entertained and nurtured temptation/sin until such time that it has become a destructive force. We need to kill sin at the root and deal with it as quickly as possible when it emerges or the effect it has on us will be devastating. Keep a short account with God – don’t go to sleep at nite with unconfessed sin lingering, because that way it is too easy for it to grow and give birth…

[To continue on to Psalm8, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms as well as some other Bible things, click here]

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