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Psalm 7

Psalm 7 is another lament from David.  But this one hit me a little different.
Bible talk study about Psalm 7

Psalm 7 is another lament from David.  But this one hit me a little different. You never know what you are going to learn when you start digging into the Word.  I had all my translations out for this one.  And the Internet for some definitions. 

Listen along to the episode here or on your favorite podcast app

Background on Psalm 7

[9:05] Right off the bat we need to know what a shiggion is.  According to Google and the notes of my Life Application NIV study Bible, it is a lyrical poem composed under strong mental emotion; a song of impassioned imagination or a poem written with intense feeling, a lament to stir the emotions.  That gives us David’s intent doesn’t it?  He was feeling some things and we know he was feeling them about a Benjamite.  The text says Cush, but no one seems to know who that is.  Benjamite means from the same tribe as Saul.  (What is this tribe business?  Well, the tribes were the twelve tribes of Israel:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph (Ephraim & Manasseh), and Benjamin.  I could spend a minute on the tribes and their inheritance, but I will leave it here for now.). Remember that David was from the tribe of Judah.  It’s understandable that the Benjamites might be mad at David.  Right?  I digress.  Psalm 7 being about a Benjamite can be a reference to one of two stories.  The first is in 1 Samuel 24.  David has been anointed, but not crowned.  It is during a period when David is fleeing for his life from Saul.  David is presented with an opportunity to kill Saul in his sleep, but he does not.  “He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’?…See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand!  I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you.  Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion.  I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.” 1 Samuel 24:9-11.  The second potential reference is in 2 Samuel 16: 5-14.  I think this is the more likely reference.  I feel like it matches the text of Psalm 7 better.    

King David playing the harp - discussion about Psalm 7

Three different things really stuck out to me in this Psalm.

As I read through this Psalm several times, I found myself inadvertently doing Lectio Divina, which is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word.  I realize that makes me sound way smarter and more devout than I actually am.  Or just insufferable.  But hear me out.  A friend has been leading me in this about once a week.  It goes right along with inductive Bible study.  It is slow and intentional.  It is reading or ideally, listening to the same passage four times and concentrating on words or phrases that jump out at you each time.  It truly is fascinating.  It really does work.  I highly recommend it.  I digress.    

Three different things really stuck out to me in this Psalm.    

[23:08] First, in verse 3 David says, “O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands…” and I just thought wow, he is really being honest and asking if he actually might deserve what he is getting right now.  That takes a lot to ask.  I think David believed he was innocent in this case, but he was willing to take the discipline if it turned out to be true.  He believed God knew his true intentions and would judge him accordingly. 

[25:09] Second, is verse 10.  It is a FANTASTIC reminder for us.  Here is the way it reads in several translations:  

      My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart. NKJV  

      My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.  NIV  

      My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. ESVCSBNASB  

      God is my shield, who saves the upright in heart. NRSV  

      God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right.  NLT  

      The Exalted God is my shield, the one who delivers the morally upright.  NET  

Side note: Who are the upright?  The ones with hearts that are true and right?  The notes from the NET Bible say this, “The heart here is viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives.  The “pure” of heart are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result experience his deliverance.” is also an excellent resource for looking up the original text.  I love a lexicon.  

The Hebrew word for heart is inner man, mind, will, heart.  (Strong’s #3820 if you like this kind of thing.)

But my favorite translation for verse 10 is from the Passion translation.  (Remember, you read these with a grain of salt.  You have to do some fact checking to make sure it lines up with other translations.  This one checks out.)  

      God, your wrap-around presence is my protection and my defense.  

      You bring victory to all who reach out for you. 

See how good that is?!?!  Don’t you love the visual of God’s wrap-around presence?  Like a comforting blanket.  It just feels safe, secure, shielded.  Or a really great hug.  Next time you are feeling scared or overwhelmed or stressed or whatever just imagine yourself stepping into the wrap around arms of El Elyon.  Being in the embrace of the God Most High seems like a pretty safe place to be.  

(Another side note:  God Most High is a name of God, El Elyon.  It means there is no one above him.  Falls right in with what David is saying in these verses.  God is over all.  He is the judge.  Episode 42 of Bible Talk is all about this name.) 

[36:46] Third, is verse 17.  

      I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,  

      and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. NRSV  

This a lowkey shout out if you ask me.  It carries some real weight without being too over the top.  I mean to thank God for what is due?  That is to thank Him for everything.  You have to give it up for all you are, all you have, all you hope to be.    

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