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And so we pass on into the seventh Psalm and find that there is another thing we need to have before us when trouble comes. That is a clear conscience. The Apostle Paul said that he exercised himself “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). If I have a bad conscience, if I have been living out of fellowship with God, if I have been doing things really wrong, when trouble comes and I want to go to God about it, I am not able to pray. David says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). I try to go to Him and all the time these things come before me, and I cannot pray; so I need to be careful to keep short accounts with God, to be sure that I have a good conscience, and then I can go to Him in confidence.
In the seventh Psalm we have the Psalmist pleading for righteous judgment, and he says, “I am not conscious of deliberately and wilfully sinning against God.” He knows he has failed, as all of us do, and as he expresses himself in the fifth Psalm; but there is such a thing as knowing that the main desire of your life has been for righteousness and that the main purpose of your life is to live for God. In the opening verses he expresses his trust, “O Lord my God, in Thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” And then he puts on the breastplate of righteousness. He is going to face the foe, and so looks into his own life and asks God to help him that he may look into it more carefully, and he says in verses 3 to 5: “O Lord my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) 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.” His enemies were reproaching him with having done evil, and he says, “If I have done these things, I deserve to be ill-treated-let my enemy tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust.” But he knows as he looks into his own life that these things are not true. He has been seeking to glorify God, and so he can pray in confidence.
In verses 6 and 7 he calls on God to arise to his help: “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”-I have put everything in Thine hand. I have put Thee between me and mine enemies, and I ask Thee to undertake, to do the things that should be done. I will trust Thee to do it. “So shall the congregation of the people compass Thee about: for their sakes therefore return Thou on high.” And then in perfect confidence he says, “The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.” Do you say to me, “I would not like to say that to God; I would not like to say, ‘Judge me according to my righteousness’ because I really have no righteousness.” No, man has none of his own, and David recognized that, but he is speaking now of what God by His grace hath wrought in him, and he is conscious of the fact that he has sought to walk before the Lord in integrity of heart. Somebody has well said, “The strings of David’s harp were the chords of the heart of Jesus,” and through all these Psalms you can hear the voice of our Lord Jesus. We sometimes point out certain Psalms, perhaps thirty or forty of them, and say they are Messianic Psalms because there is some definite reference in the New Testament that connects them with Christ, but there is a certain sense in which the suffering Saviour, committing Himself to the Father, may be traced right through the Psalms. In this world God often seems to treat His best friends worst, and He treated His own Son worst of all, and what does that tell us? All these hard and difficult things are working out for future blessing. Our Lord Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame” because of the joy that was set before Him, and we as believers can say, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). But let us be sure that we walk with God in uprightness of spirit. If I try to pray and all the time my heart is accusing me of a lack of integrity, there is no liberty. If there has been evil in my life it must be judged.
Then in the next section of this Psalm, verses 9 and 10, notice how blessedly the Psalmist turns to God as his defense, “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins”-that is the inward part. “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.” And so no matter how the waters are rolling over him, he can count on God; he can believe that He will bring him through. Then in verses 11 to 17 he contemplates the divine government. God is still the moral Governor of the universe, and no matter what is going on it cannot get out of His hand. Only so much evil is permitted. “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” And as Judge of the universe He is going to deal with wickedness. I do not have to do it. “If he turn not, He will whet His sword; He hath bent His bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; He ordaineth His arrows against the persecutors.” God is going to turn around some day and is going to deal with those who are afflicting His saints. And so in verses 14 to 17 you get the end of the wicked, the judgment they shall yet have to endure. All the sorrows that God’s people will ever have they know in this world. The moment they leave this scene behind there is nothing but endless blessing. On the other hand every bit of pleasure, every bit of joy, every bit of happiness of any kind that the worldling will ever know he gets down here; while for him there is nothing but sorrow beyond. You remember Abraham’s words to that one-time rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25).
A prize fighter who got converted had a little bit of a wife who was angry because he had become a Christian. In his unconverted days they went around to the theaters and all the worldly things, but now he would have none of it, and she would be perfectly furious and denounce his Christianity. One day she was going after him with a broom, and as he was trying to get out of her way he stumbled and fell, and she took advantage of that and pummelled him well. The door opened and an old friend of his stood there and watched the strange sight, and said, “Why, Bob, do you mean to say you would let a little woman like that pound you-you a former prize fighter!”
“Oh,” he said, “she is getting all the heaven she will ever get in this world and as long as she is enjoying it I let her have it.”
David emphasizes that in these last four verses: “Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.”
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Psalms 7". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter