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Saturday, November 29, 2014

David Offers Thanks to God


David Offers Thanks to God

Psalm 7



David spent many miserable years running and hiding from King Saul and his soldiers.  Every soldier in Israel had been ordered to search for David and kill him when they caught him.  For years poor David had to constantly be on guard since at any minute he could be found by one of the king’s men and murdered!  He had to hide outside of town like an outlaw while the king searched the countryside for him. 


 King Saul was jealous of David because in battle he was a much better fighter than King Saul was. David was good looking and well liked and King Saul worried that his countrymen might want to get rid of him as their king and crown David as their new king.


 One time when the ladies in Jerusalem seemed to like David even better than they liked their king, King Saul flew into a furious rage!  That was the time when King Saul ordered his men to kill David and get him out of the way.  What more could he do?  (1 Samuel 19-31)    


Psalm 7 is one of several Psalms or laments that David writes during those miserable years when he is running and hiding from King Saul and his men.  David sings this Psalm to God thanking Him for being a God of justice and asking for His protection from King Saul and his soldiers.  This Psalm along with the others made up the Old Testament hymnal, a collection of songs.  The Psalms were poems intended to be sung in praise to God.. 


 David doesn’t wait to praise God until he is out of danger and King Saul is no longer threatening his life.  David chooses to praise and thank God while he is frightened and on the run.  He offers praise during the times when he is lonely and hungry because God is a God of justice and mercy.  And he gives thanks when he is frightened and doesn’t know if he will live or die because he knows that eventually God will work everything out for good even if he doesn’t understand how.


Years pass and David still can’t sneak into town to take care of his family because the king’s soldiers will kill him if they find him.  Instead of feeling sorry for himself and angry about the unfairness of his situation, David focuses on God and the fact that God’s righteousness and holiness will eventually triumph over all evil and all evil doers.  And this includes his own problems.


 He writes: “My defense is in God who saves the upright in heart.” (Psalm 7:10)  God is a just judge.  David is focusing on God as a God of justice and judgment, perhaps because David is innocent of wrong doing and has been denied a human court in which to plead his case.  He is considered guilty and hunted down like a common criminal even though he has always been loyal to King Saul. David is never allowed to prove his innocence. 


Others down through the ages have also found themselves in similar situations and have cried out to God for justice when there has been no human justice.  Today many of the blacks in our country (U.S.A.) feel they have been denied their rights as human beings since their un-armed children are being presumed guilty and are being shot down in our streets without consequences.


 David knows that his God will be the final judge and justice will someday be served!  And others in this same situation will remember this truth also when they read this Psalm. 


David continues with his song: “And God is angry with the wicked every day.  If the evil one does not turn from his evil ways God will sharpen His sword:” (Psalm 7:11) But if the evil one does turn from his sin he will be pardoned.  Even though the threats of God’s punishment are here, they are introduced with a gracious implication of mercy.  God is slow to punish and longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)  


David writes about evil doers: “”He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.  He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.  The trouble he causes recoils onto himself:  his violence comes down on his own head.” (Psalm 7:14-16)  David knows that crime doesn’t pay in God’s world!  And he also knows that what a person sows he/she also reaps. (if they don’t repent) (Galatians 6:7)


David continues his song: “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”  (Psalm 7:17)  David knows that God is righteous and that He will deal with evil.  He has learned to thank and praise God in every situation.  Scripture says: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  David has learned to trust God no matter what and he knows that God can take care of him no matter what happens. 


 David writes: “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you: save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.”  (Psalm 7:1-2)  David is confused about why King Saul hates him so much or why he is being hunted down for the kill like an animal.  He is exhausted from years of looking over his shoulder to see if the king’s soldiers are coming after him with their swords and spears.  And he is worn out and lonely from years of trying to stay alive in the rugged wilderness  


But David continues to give thanks and praise to God through all of these miserable times.  He trusts in God and puts himself in God’s hands.  He knows that even if he dies He will be in heaven and live to finally see evil put down.  He pours out these feelings and his love and trust in his God in his Psalms. 


The Psalms are among the best loved, most read parts of the Bible because they express the whole range of human feelings and experiences.  Sometimes these same feelings expressed in the Psalms become timeless when others down through the ages have had similar experiences and feelings.  Other children of God have also wondered why they are hated and why they must run from all those who would persecute them.  They identify with David’s cries and find his sheer dogged faith and depth of love for God an inspiration for them to try to follow.        .   




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