Innocent of All Charges

David Burchard Exposition Leave a Comment

Psalm 7

Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.

O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

3 O Lord my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

6 Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.8 The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. 10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.

14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

17 I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.


CONTEXT

What’s the context for our Psalm this morning? Let’s look at two things to help situate it for us.

First, look with me at the superscription.

When you’re looking at a superscription in the Psalms, it’s different than the subheadings you read in other books of the Bible. Most of the subheadings you’re going to find in your Bible are put there by the publisher to help you navigate. They’re sometimes helpful. But they aren’t part of the inspired text.

The Psalms’ superscriptions are different. Read and receive them as part of the inspired text. They’re as reliable as any other part of the Bible.

Psalm 7’s superscription tells us that it’s a Shiggaion of David. The only other place we come across the term is Habakkuk 3. “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.”

David sang this Shiggaion unto the LORD concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite. Nowhere else in the Bible is Cush the Benjamite named. But his lies are. His rising up against the Lord’s anointed is. It seems that Shimei wasn’t the only Benjamite cursing David following Absalom’s mutiny. We’ll look at this connection as we work through the Psalm.

The first thing that helps us figure out the context of Psalm 7 is the superscription. The second thing we’ll look at is where Psalm 7 fits structurally.

The Psalter is made up of 5 books. Psalm 7 is in Book 1. Thematically, we see David’s ascension to power in Book 1. Now, we’ve been studying 1 Samuel on Wednesday nights. We know that David’s ascension to power is put before us to prefigure Christ’s rise to power. It isn’t smooth and unopposed. David is hounded unto a type of death by Saul. He first has to go into the bowels of the sea before he ascends to the throne in Zion. Book 1 follows this trajectory. After Psalms 1 and 2 introduce the Psalter, Psalms 3-9 take us from Absalom’s rebellion to his death, where we’re again reminded why men shouldn’t have long hair.

In that section, Psalm 7 and 5 juxtapose David’s innocence with the wickedness of his enemies.

Yes, Absalom rebels as a consequence for David’s sin with Uriah’s wife. But none of this is for any wrong David’s done against Absalom, just like Saul’s warfare against David wasn’t for any wrong he’d done Saul.

Absalom and Saul are parallel characters in this, seeking David’s death even as he rises to Zion’s throne. They are the Jews who cry for the Messiah to be crucified on his way to ascension.


Verses 1-2: Save Me from My Persecutors

O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: 2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

When you have a pride of lions, there is only one male in charge. Everyone else in the pride, at the end of the day, exists to serve him. Eventually, though, a younger lion rises up to challenge the boss, to overthrow him. Age eventually catches up. The young lion either tears up the old leader or exiles him to die alone.

David’s the old lion. Absalom’s the challenger. And exile’s not enough. He wants to tear David up, rending body and soul to pieces.

If you think back to what we’ve been seeing in Samuel, this is just more bad news for how we remember Saul. He is a parallel character to Absalom. Now we see that Absalom is a parallel character to Satan, seeking to tear Christ to pieces.

Facing this challenger, David is alone. Absalom has the capital city and a coalition of thousands built over four decades. David has his hundreds and no defensible position. Who is there to deliver? Where is salvation?

Salvation and deliverance is found in God.

David knows this and so he pleads to God for rescue. He prays exactly what he prayed in Psalm 6. “Deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.” “Save me from all of them.” The Lord’s Anointed depends on the Lord for the deliverance of his soul from his foes. God is his God and in him he puts his trust.

Trusting in God, David’s the blessed man of Psalm 2. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Jehovah.”

He’s the rejoicing man of Psalm 5. “Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

Because he can say, “my God,” he knows blessing and rejoicing in spite of the odds. Hounded and surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned. God is his.

Is he yours?


Verses 3-5: I’m Innocent of all Charges

3 O Lord my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

Cush the Benjamite has brought public charges against David. What are the charges? “David has rewarded evil unto him with whom he was at peace.”

This is right in line with the testimony of Shimei the Benjamite.

5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:8 The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

2 Samuel 16:5-8

In a court of law, you need at least two witnesses in bringing a charge against a man. Here, David has two witnesses against him. He’s lost the throne. Absalom has lain with his concubines for all Jerusalem to see. He’s on the run. And the men of Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, are bringing charges.

“David, this is all happening because of your treachery against Saul. The blood and the loss you’re facing now is because of the wrong you did to Saul. You betrayed your King. You were his wrongful foe. You shed innocent blood. You were Cassius. He and his sons died at the hands of the Philistines while you lived among the Philistines. A traitor to God, to king, and to country.”

In verses 1-2, David has confidence in his deliverance no matter how many come against him.

Here, in verses 3-5, David has confidence in his innocence no matter how many bring charges. Two witnesses or not, David knows his innocence and God knows his innocence.

Far from wronging Saul, David had treated him with the utmost loyalty and respect. Every time he had a chance to kill Saul, he held back, waiting on the Lord as he’d been instructed. Think back to the cave encounter. Saul was hunting David to kill him, though David was the most loyal subject in the kingdom. David and his men hide in a cave. Saul goes into that very cave to put his robes around his ankles. He has no idea how close David is. And instead of killing his persecutor, David merely cuts off a piece of his robe.

We see the same situation run back when David sneaks into Saul’s camp and takes Saul’s spear and water from beside his bed, not giving him even a scratch.

When Saul was tormented, David soothed him.

When Saul was faced with Philistines, David did not strike him.

Saul and Jonathan lay dead on the battle field, without life, without kingdom. But they were not there without David’s love.

He is innocent of Cush’s claims.

So confident is he that he can say to God, “Let all I hold dear be ripped from me and ruined if these charges are true.”

The lesson for us here is clear: A man with a clean conscience is unshakeable. Show me one man with a clean conscience before His God. I will show you a man who will make every tyrant and villain quake.


Verses 68: Arise, O Lord

6 Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. 7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high. 8 The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

David knows what is due his enemies. Psalm 2:5, “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”

He knows himself to be a sinner, and yet has sought the mercy of God for his sins. Psalm 6:1, “O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.” Do not treat me as you will treat my enemies. “Have mercy upon me. Save me for thy mercies’ sake.”

Knowing God will show him mercy, he now asks God to be true to his word and give his enemies exactly what they deserve, his wrath and enmity.

Arise in your anger.

They’ve awakened in rage against me, like a dragon long asleep and aroused to engulf in flame.

Rise up, O LORD, and devour the dragon. Devour my foes.

The congregation of the people compass thee about, thinking that as a riotous mob they will have victory against you and your Anointed.

“Crucify him! Crucify him!” they shout together. Silence them like a reaper.

Return on high and bring judgment down.

Notice a few things from this section.

First, David knows that God is merciful. But he does not ask for mercy for his enemies. He asks for their ruination.

Second, David has enemies. Do you? Ask and ye shall receive.

Third, David asks to be judged according to his righteousness, according to his integrity. It is correct to say that we have no righteousness of our own. Even our best is but filth in the eyes of God.

All we have in this life and on judgment day is the gift righteousness of Christ. He is our only plea.

But that is not the whole story. Those who think it is will find lots of Christians and lots of Bible set off their heresy gaydar. That will lead to a heresy gaydar overload and malfunction.

When David claims to be innocent, here, he is not lying. The same man who lay with Uriah’s wife is the man who, here, before God, points to his own righteousness and integrity.

The Psalms have no problem talking about the people of God as the righteous, as those with integrity, not like the wicked, not like the fools.

Christians are not like everyone else. Christians are better than everyone else.

That’s not what causes us to get saved. When we get saved, we’re saved from warfare against God just like everyone else. And we don’t immediately become amazing. And some apostatize and some bring in devilish philosophies and some defend those who bring in devilish philosophies.

But, generally speaking, Christians are better than everyone because God makes them better than everyone. And that’s an obvious statement even if you know a bunch of jerks in the church. Every place that becomes Christian becomes better.

This is by design. God makes his people better to vindicate them no matter comes their way and to vindicate himself through them.

Even if Christians go through the Valley of the Shadow of death, they will be vindicated by God before their enemies in this life—table set, cup overflowing. Even if the sun sets and what is before our eyes is the victory of our enemies, the sun always rises in the morning. God vindicates his people. For every week that ends in the tomb, a new week begins in the garden. God vindicates his people.

And on judgment day, when all the sin of all the goats is on full display, and God’s sentence of hell is vindicated, he will show the world the righteousness and integrity of his people. He’ll tally up all the ills done by all the wicked and once more put them to open shame. But he will also put on display the abundant good works predestined for and done by his people. And so Christ will be honored for his great work of redemption.


Verses 9-10: Bring Your Justice

9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. 10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

I’m not really a roller coaster guy, but I don’t mind water slides as much. I’ve done one where you stand on a platform encased in a plastic cocoon. Without a warning the bottom drops out and you free fall just a bit before catching the slide. That sense of everything dropping out from under you, your stomach up in your throat.

Absalom wasn’t just anybody. He was David’s own son. David’s own son is seeking his life and it looks like he could pull it off. But David doesn’t look at his enemies, he doesn’t at how they’ve positioned themselves, to figure out what he thinks of the situation. David looks to God. He knows God’s character. He trust’s God’s word. God is just. So there will be justice in the world. And this is what His word says. Psalm 1 declares that the wicked are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. The ungodly will not stand. Those upright in heart will be established like the tree of life, planted by rivers of water in the garden of Eden, bringing forth fruit and prospering in all things.

David prays according to what he knows about God and His word.

“LORD, Absalom seems to be established. He’s taken my palace, my household, my city, even the nation. But you say in your Word that the wicked will be blown away like chaff. Be true to your Word, LORD, and let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end! You say the righteous will be planted like a tree, yet I am uprooted and a wanderer in the dust. Establish me according to your Word. Try my heart. Test my guts. You are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

This is our Psalm in these dark days. This is our prayer. We pray, with David, according to what we know to be true about God and his promises.

“Father, you say the wicked will be blown away like chaff, but see how rooted they are in the land. From top to bottom in this country, in every institution, even in the church, we find communism’s progress. Pedophiles in power. Babies murdered. Trannies promoted. They hate you so much and they have so much power. They planned. They plotted. And they’ve executed. And they have the country. Christians are called terrorists and domestic extremists. They want to tear our souls to pieces like hungry lions. They want us dead or wandering, rootless, landless, more destitute than Indian tribes in Nevada.

Forget not your Word, O LORD. Vindicate your WORD. Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. Establish the just. You save the upright in heart. You are our only defense.”


Verses 11-13: God’s Weapons Are Ready

11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.

In verses 6-8, the peoples have gathered themselves against God and David. And David calls forth God, to ride forth in anger. Here we see God’s weapons of choice as he rides forth in his anger. They’re weapons of war, of death. Where they go, there goes blood and blackness and the void. The teeth the wicked intended to use to tear David would be shattered by the sword and the war bow of the Lord.

God judgeth the righteous. And so his weapons will be deployed in their defense. He is angry with the wicked every day. There is not a day that goes by in which he is not angry with them. It’s anger that looses bowels, that melts the mightiest, that sweeps away the largest armies and finds out with hottest intensity the smallest objects. God is angry.

Trifle with him at your peril, O men of the West. How long shall your day of opportunity endure? How many chances to repent do you want? He is angry. And he is on the way. You mock and mock. But he rides for you with scorn. His sword is sharp and will soon be unsheathed. His bow is strung and his quiver of fire is full. You think the Chinese are scary, O Western man? Wave after wave came against our Marines and our Rangers and wave after wave was knocked back. You have it in your strength to resist them. You think the Russians are scary Western man? You think bioweapons from Iran are scary? You think hyperinflation and famine is scary? You think fascism from Democrats is scary?

You don’t know fear! You don’t know fear! But FEAR knows you. And he comes with sword and bow. And when he comes, he will drink your blood. And he will eat your marrow, and makes bird’s nests out of your skulls, and hang stars from your entrails.

He knows you, O Western man.

If you don’t repent…


Verses 14-16: My Enemies are Pregnant with Guilt

14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

Over and against Cush’s lies, David asserted his innocence back in verses 3-5. And, so, hunted by the lion, Absalom, David is as bold as a lion, strengthened before his enemies by his integrity, his clean conscience, before God.

So, on the one hand, David’s holding up his own innocence. And, here, David holds up the guilt of Absalom and all his adversaries.

Remember, when David is writing this Psalm, Absalom has only recently finished defiling David’s women in public, doing exactly what every pagan conquering force has done through history, but doing it on his father’s roof for all to see. Think on that scene. Think about how personal that is. Those sounds. Those images. When were they not on David’s mind? That hate, coursing through his veins for his enemies. Dogs.

(Picture Mel Gibson’ s focus after the British murder his son in the Patriot.)

That backdrop shapes how David holds up their guilt. He talks about their sin with sexual language. Absalom and his men violently copulated with evil. They thought it made them pregnant with power. But they conceived mischief. And the travails of their childbirth only brought forth iniquity and falsehood. What they brought forth was no blessing. It was their end. They fall into the very pit they dig.

David the righteous would not be trodden down upon the earth. His honor would not be in the dust. Absalom, however, is buried in his guilt. With all the rest of the wicked, his mischief shall return on his own head. His violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

This principle of the end of the guilty is always poetically enacted by Jehovah—even if we don’t always catch the poetry. Absalom lifted high his head and so was lifted high by his head, violence brought down on his pate, hanging by his hair in the tree, in the midst of battle.

What poetry does God have in store for Gavin Newsom? For Nancy Pelosi? For Harry Reid? For Dick Levine? For Anthony Fauci? For Sergeant Parsons and Lauren McLean? For Mary Kathryn Stark and Darin Weyrich?

Glorious poetry.


Verse 17: Praise the Lord

17 I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.

Having begun by looking at David’s plea for deliverance, we now end in verse 17, where David praises God for his righteousness.

Through this entire Psalm, David has entrusted himself to a righteous God, a God whose Word is sure, who will surely vindicate his own and destroy the wicked.

Remember from Psalm 6 that David prays for salvation because, in Sheol, there is no remembrance, no thanksgiving. Well, God has heard his prayer and God has answered his prayer. He has saved David from his persecutors. He has seen the innocence of his Anointed and preserved him from the jaws of the lion. And David, saved from death, lifted up from the grave, lifts up praise to His Savior in return.

We do likewise. Let’s pray.

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