Thursday, August 4, 2011

Psalm 7 – Establish the Righteous, O God

“O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God.” ~Psalm 7:9 (NRSV).

Dealing with those against us is more a matter of life than we’d hope to acknowledge.

Our lives are riddled with conflict at times; much of this can be unspoken, but it’s felt all the same. The relationships we have with people and our families, those in our workplaces, and even those in our churches—each of these is subject to dissonance between disparate minds; the capacity to be at odds.

As Christians we tend to overplay the harmony in our relationships, whilst we underplay the conflict; yet, we cannot pretend it doesn’t occur. David—the psalmist—never minces words with God; he is honest in his lament, and so ought we to be.

Two Halves and a Hinge

There are two neat eight-verse halves (verses 1-8 and 10-17) to this psalm, hinged by verse 9—the one profiled above. The first half of the psalm focuses more on David’s immediate psychological position; the impacts on his mind regarding matters of his pursuit by the “enemy.”

David’s Personal Predicament

David, as we do all, expects here for the Lord to come through for him. We all pray for justice, especially when we are undone by the injustices that often plague us.

The mood of God’s servant, here, is judicial. David goes before God, his Legal Counsel, Jury and Judge. He asks God in verses 3-5, “if there is wrong in my hands... then let the enemy pursue and overtake me.”

We do well if we can be that honest before God; where we can honestly say, “your will be done, Lord, not mine.”

Confidence in the Nature of God

Verses 6-9 feature an ebbing, flowing mood in the psalmist. He seeks to transition from the personal lament onto a more assured frame of heart; the calling home to the facets of God’s very saving nature.

But the problem is—as we all too well know—actually adjusting and aligning our moods to the preferred is not always as easy as it seems. We backslide into complaint when we’re really so over it already. Our resolve to ‘be positive’ weakens. We want to see things positively, but alas we cannot hide what is really going on within us.

But eventually we reach the place David reaches.

From verse 10 we see David recalling the nature of God to redeem the faithful servant in God’s time. He sees God judging the wicked and unpeeling justice as only the Lord can.

These facts give David renewed confidence.

Contemporary Reflections

We, too, need our confidence to be renewed; to be reminded that the Lord will establish righteousness. It is God’s nature to do this, beyond our will and the will of mortal humankind.

Let us have confidence that all things will turn out justly in the end.

We must hope to be those people known as righteous; those to be established. God will make solid ground as the foundation for those who remain morally right, just, and fair.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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