The psalm is by David. The occasion of it was a slander by a particular man named Cush, a man from the same tribe that David’s adversary Saul was from. The psalm is a shiggaion, a “wandering,” which probably refers to a very intense, dithyrambic poem (cf. Hab. 3:1). In his zeal for vindication, David pours out his prayer passionately. “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me . . .” (Ps. 7:1-17).
This wonderful psalm shows us that God will deliver us from lies, as well as from other dangers. First, there is refuge in God. David needs deliverance from those who would persecute him (v. 1). Although there are many, one stands out in particular—Cush wants to tear David apart like a ravening lion (v. 2). If this were the case, there would be none to deliver, but David has taken refuge in God.
David also has the advantage of a clean conscience. When he turns to God, he can say with complete assurance that he is innocent. The way he does this is through calling for a curse to fall upon him if the charge is true (vv. 4-5). Not only is David innocent of the charge of iniquity in his hands (v. 3), not only is he not guilty of treachery (v. 4), he actually had once been the deliverer of his adversary (v. 4).
So this is the cry to God. David prays to a delaying God, and asks Him to arise (v. 6). The congregation gathers to God, and David prays for their deliverance (v. 7). David is confident of an answer; he has prayed on the basis of his own righteousness and integrity (v. 8). This is comparative, not absolute. He prays that wickedness would be destroyed, and he prays to the one who tries the hearts and reins (v. 9). This refers to the heart and kidneys—the seat of thought, affections, and passions. God is his defence, and He is the one who saves the upright in heart (v. 10).
What is the response of God? This prayer is not offered to one who is unwilling to act. God judges the righteous, and is angry with the wicked constantly (v. 11). If the slanderer does not repent, then God will deal with him (v. 12). God sharpens His sword; He steps on His bow to string it (v. 12). God builds the machinery of execution, and ordains His arrows to fly against the persecutors (v. 13). If God is the marksman, and the crosshairs are on your forehead, then what hope is there?
The wicked has slept with some foul thing, and has conceived mischief. He is now pregnant with evil, and is in labor to bring forth iniquity (v. 14). This plotting was a lot of work. He dug a pit, which is labor intensive, and then fell into his own trap (v. 15). His own scheming will fall back down upon his own head (v. 16). God is not mocked; a man reaps what he sows. The only appropriate response to God for all His kindness is that of praise and thanksgiving (v. 17).
And this leads us to consider the sin of attempted neutrality. David is confident in this psalm that the slander against him was false. Because he was truly innocent, his charge against Cush was not an example of him slandering. Spiritual war is not a football game, on a level playing field, with the same rules applying to both sides.
Consider Jeremiah and Hananiah. When the famous battle of the prophets took place, who was right (Jer. 28:10)? Jeremiah said he was right. Hananiah said he was right.
Consider also the relationship between mercy and justice. God threw Pharaoh and his hosts into the Red Sea. Why? His mercy is forever (Ps. 136:15). He smote great kings. Why? Same reason (v. 17). He killed Og, the king of Bashan because His mercy is forever (v. 20).
And then there were the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus said that the Pharisees were whited sepulchres, full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness. He spoke the sober truth (Matt. 23:27). When they said that He cast out demons by the prince of demons, they were guilty of blasphemy (Mark 3:29). Was it unfair that He was able to call them names, when it was wicked for them to call Him names? Not at all. There is this concept called “the truth,” with which moderns have no little trouble.
Beware of pseudo-humility. The arrogance of man wants to pretend that lack of confidence in what God has revealed is humility, and that confidence in what He has revealed is pride. This is a diabolical inversion. We are to be zealous for the true, the good, and the lovely, and the comeback in our relativistic age is always that we are zealous for such things as we understand them. And so and so over there disagrees, and respected scholars differ, and who are you to say that this is the truth of God?
Take care that you do not give anything away to the slanders of Cush. Do not, because of personal insecurities, trifle with the words of God.