No Longer a Slave to Fear (Psalms 7, 27, 31, 34, 52)

Devotional reading assignment – Psalms 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

Dear Heart of a Shepherd Follower, because we are reading the Scriptures chronologically, you will notice the interspersion of parallel passages of Scripture with a book of the Bible we are reading. In this instance, events in David’s life are recorded in 1 Samuel and contemplated in his psalms (a psalm being a sacred song that would be accompanied by musical instruments and sung in the Temple). Today’s psalms reflect David’s plight and flight from King Saul. It is impossible to present a thorough commentary on each psalm and for that reason I will choose one or two psalms as my focus.

Psalm 7 – David’s Cry of Innocence

Scholars believe Psalm 7, titled by one writer the “Song of the Slandered Saint”, was written when David was the object of slander and lies from Cush the Benjamite (he is identified in the title of Psalm 7).

King Saul was jealous of David’s popularity and Cush the Benjamite used his envy as an opportunity to accuse David of treason. It was Cush’s proximity to the throne that gave credence to the slanderer who subtly undermined David’s strained relationship with the king.  Already suspected by the king, David turned his appeal for justice and vindication to the LORD.

Psalm 7:1-2 – “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust [my refuge and hope]: save [deliver; help; preserve] me from all them that persecute [pursue; chase] me, and deliver [recover; defend; save] me: 2  Lest he tear [tear in pieces] my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces [break; tear apart], while there isnone to deliver [recover; save].”

David turned to the Lord and confessed, “O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust” (7:1). It was not his body, but his soul that endured the attacks of those who would tear and destroy his reputation (7:2).

Slander, gossip, lies and disloyalty are frequently the sorrows borne by God’s servants who serve Him with integrity.  The servants of the LORD do not aspire to popularity, but to faithfulness.  They seek not earthly applause, but heavenly commendation and to hear the LORD say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23).

David’s cry for justice and vindication is recorded in Psalm 7:3-5.

Psalm 7:3-5 – “O LORD my God, if I have done [make; wrought] this; if there be iniquity [wickedness; unrighteousness; injustice] in my hands; 4  If I have rewarded [treat; recompense; compensated]evil [sin; wickedness] unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered [take off; plundered]him that without cause [empty; vain] is mine enemy [adversary]🙂 5  Let the enemy persecute [pursue; chase] my soul [life; person], and take [overtake; hold] it; yea, let him tread down [oppress; trample upon]my life upon the earth, and lay [settle] mine honour [glory; reputation] in the dust. Selah.”

I have learned that vindication of one’s life and testimony is often a process of years, not days or months.  Protestations of innocence are usually to no avail when some are more willing to believe the slanderer than they are to weigh a lifetime of faithful ministry.  When accusers attack one’s character and assault one’s testimony, the righteous must prevail to trust the Lord for vindication.

Psalm 7:6-8 – “Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up [remove; depart; carry away] thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake [stir up; raise up; incite] for me to the judgment [sentence; justice] that thou hast commanded [charged; appointed]. 7  So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return [return again] thou on high [exalted; above; dignity]. 8  The LORD shall judge [plead the cause; execute judgment] the people: judge [plead; avenge; vindicate] me, O LORD, according to my righteousness [justice; rightness before the law], and according to mine integrity [completeness; innocence; blameless] that is in me.”

With humility and confidence in God’s justice, David appealed to the LORD to be the judge of his enemies and the redeemer of his rightness and integrity.

Psalm 7:9 – “Oh let the wickedness [sin; evil] of the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] come to an end [cease; fail]; but establish [prepare; ready; set up; confirm] the just: for the righteous  [just; lawful] God trieth [prove; test; examine] the hearts and reins [i.e. mind; inward parts].”

David made two requests in verse 9: 1) That the wicked would fail in their designs to destroy him. 2) That God, knowing David’s heart, would affirm his integrity and establish his testimony.

Some reading today’s devotional might be on the verge of resigning or leaving a post or ministry.  You have suffered personal attacks. You bear the sorrow of betrayal.  You feel abandoned.

Follow David’s example and cry out to the LORD knowing He is a God of justice and will vindicate His servant in due time.  Trust the Lord!

Psalm 27 – Breaking from the Tentacles of Enslaving Fear

Not all fear is negative and there are some things that warrant a good healthy dose of fear.  For instance: It is good to fear and revere authority when it guards us from the consequences of foolish or unlawful choices. We are wise to fear the dangers of a fiery blaze, the deadly potential of a lightning strike, the fast approach of a train at a railroad crossing, and the penalty of failing to study for an exam.

Fear might also be negative and enslaving. Some fears can paralyze and render one incapable of making decisions. Fear can spawn doubt, ambivalence, and drive one to retreat from relationships.

How can you overcome fear?  Let’s take some spiritual lessons out of David’s life experiences (Psalm 27:1-3).

Psalm 27:1 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God] is my light [brightness] and my salvation [Deliverer]; whom shall I fear? the LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God] is the strength [fortress; hold; rock; protection; refuge] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid [fear; tremble]?”

We notice three assertions of David’s courage and faith in verse 1.  The first, “The Lord is my Light:  David’s confidence was not in himself or in human thought or philosophy. His courage arose from his conviction that the LORD Who is Jehovah, Eternal God, was the source of light to his soul (John 1:4-5, 9; 1 John 1:5).

David’s second assertion was, “The LORD…is my Salvation.”  The Lord was his Deliverer and able to save his soul from the curse of sin.

David asks, Whom shall I fear?”  Is anyone too big for God?  Is anyone stronger than the LORD?  Is any circumstance greater than the LORD?

David’s third assertion was, The LORD is the Strength of my life.”  The LORD was his Rock, Fortress, and Refuge!  Why be afraid of mortal men if the Lord is your Protector?  Why scurry from a foe like a rat retreating from a predator?

Having stated the LORD is the object of his faith; David considered His providences and protection in the past (27:2).

Psalm 27:2 – “When the wicked [evil], even mine enemies [adversary] and my foes [hostile], came [approached; drew near] upon me to eat up [devour; consume; feed] my flesh [body], they stumbled [became weak; overthrown; staggered] and fell.”

David had experienced the threats of adversaries who savored besmearing his character and gloating in his sorrows.  His soul had been cannibalized by malicious attacks and disparaging lies.  Of those enemies David testified, “they stumbled and fell” (27:2b).

Remembering God’s faithfulness, David was emboldened and declared he would not be overcome with fear.

Psalm 27:3 – “Though an host [camp; great company] should encamp [pitch; lay siege] against me, my heart [mind; understanding] shall not fear [tremble; be afraid]: though war [battle; warfare; combat] should rise against me, in this will I be confident [trust; secure].”

Take heart friend!  If the LORD is your Light, Salvation, and Refuge, and He has proven faithful in the midst of trials that are past, cast aside your fears and affirm with David:

I will not be overcome with fear. I will not allow the threat of the unknown to rob me of my faith, joy, and confidence in the LORD.  

Romans 8:31 – “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith