Summary: Exposition of Ps 7 about the words of Cush against David and his pleas for God to execute justice
Text: Psalm 7:1-17, Title: How to Handle Criticism, Date/Place: NRBC, 12/28/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: The church in Jacksonville and media criticism, Rick Warren and Ann Curry
B. Background to passage: Concerning the works of Cush the Benjamite—Shimei and Sheba of Benjamin, 2 Sam 16:7-8, 20:1-2. All of us go through times where we are slandered by friends, foes, family, etc. And we should not think this is strange or out of the ordinary. Jesus said that the world would hate us if it hated him. He said that men would say all kinds of evil against you, and that you would be blessed if that happens. What?! If therefore we live to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, we must ask, how may we glorify God when these kinds of things happen?
C. Main thought: David gives us four practices of the godly when we are criticized and slandered.
A. Affirm the Object of trust (v. 1, 8, 10)
1. David begins by addressing God personally and reminding Him and himself that it is in God that he trusts. It is in God that he looks for affirmation, security, protection, and evaluation. Remember that politics in David’s day was not a tame as in ours. Slander could undermine his moral authority in a theocracy. And he describes these attacks with the imagery of a lion ripping apart a body limb from limb.
2. Ps 25:1-3, 31:1, 34:8, 71:1, Isa 26:3, 2 Tim 1:12, 1 Pet 4:19,
3. Illustration: Reading this week in Tozer, I was reminded that faith is “the continual gaze of the soul” upon Christ. Years ago a military officer and his wife were aboard a ship that was caught in a raging ocean storm. Seeing the frantic look in her eyes, the man tried unsuccessfully to remove her fears. Suddenly she grasped his sleeve and cried, "How can you be so calm?" He stepped back a few feet and drew his sword. Pointing it at her heart, he said, "Are you afraid of this?" Without hesitation she answered, "Of course not!" "Why not?" he inquired. "Because it’s in your hand, and you love me too much to hurt me." To this he replied, "I know the One who holds the winds and the waters in the hollow of His hand, and He will surely care for us!" "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." "Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends and they will die and leave you; trust in money and you may have it taken from you; trust in reputation and some slanderous tongue may blast it; but trust in God, and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity."
4. In our own minds, hearts, marriages, families, finances, we must be reminded where our trust lies. We must be reminded that people will let us down, but God never will. We must continually refocus our thought patterns, our soul gaze, our meditation upon Jesus and His sufficiency. Everything in our world fights against this mentality. We breathe God-ignoring air. Our culture shouts constantly that our help and trust should be in government, money, self-esteem, cell phones, video games, medications, doctors, lawyers, police, churches, pastors, etc. We must also be reminded that our value and self-worth are not tied to anybody’s opinion of us, but God’s. Sure pain may come from another, and depression might result from that pain, but remember who we are in Christ!
B. Practice self-examination/repentance (v. 3-5)
1. Unlike last week’s psalm where David asked God to go easy on him with correction for his sin, here he in essence declares his innocence. This doesn’t mean ultimate innocence. Explain the Hebrew mindset of earthly judgment and justice being good. So David, doesn’t want revenge, but simply asks God to judge him if he has committed wrong in this particular situation. He was humble enough to practice self-examination. And he was walking close enough to God to declare blamelessness in this area. He is not crying “unfair,” but is saying whatever judgment you mete out against them, I’ll take it too.
3. Illustration: “before a righteous judge, the innocent have no fear,” accusation against me of sharing too much info from previous counseling sessions, “but Kailann…”
4. David wasn’t just blowing the smoke of self-justification. He was calling on God to judge him, if he was wrong. This is a good lesson for us. That God determines whose righteous, and that we should be willing to endure the chastisement of God if we are in err, when we call on God to judge others. And more often than not, if we are truly introspective, and truly searching, we will find areas in which we don’t do as well as we originally proclaimed. And when that happens, we should be willing and quick to repent. Can you pray the prayer that David prayed invoking God’s justice on your situation?