There are some passages of Scripture that certainly go against the grain of our 21st century sensibilities. Some of the psalms certainly fall into that category. When the psalmist cries out to God for vindication, for vengeance, for the Lord to come down hard on “my enemies” there is an awkward, uneasy silence in the sanctuary. Those words sound so harsh, so self-serving, so un-graceful to us in ways that cause us to step back. Unfortunately, some believers read these psalms and instead of stepping back to consider what God is truly saying to us, they step away without learning from the Lord. They choose to ignore the psalm or to twist and turn it around in such a manner as to interpret it as something less than what it is.
Psalm 7 begins with a confession that God is our refuge while seeking safety and and then calls on God for vindication. Psalm 7:3-5: “O lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust.”
David has a deep of understanding of who he is as a sinful man. In his imperfection he knows his all-too-human tendency to see and feel the sins of others while possessing a blindness and insensitivity to his own sin, especially the sin against others. David has the courage to ask God to ‘lay him low,’ to cause him to face his own sin. For any child of God, this knowledge from God should lead to confession, repentance, and a fresh cleansing from the Lord. David understands that we must look in the mirror of God’s Word before we address God’s work in dealing with the sins of others. This a courageous act on his part. Asking God to do whatever it takes in our lives for us to see and deal rightly with our sin is a dangerous thing. God will hear this prayer, examine our hearts to see how sincere our prayer is, and get to work. While the end result is a fresh experience of God’s result, His work leading to that end will be painful.
You can see how God answered this prayer later in David’s life. Read again the story of David, Bathsheeba, and Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 11-12). Read David’s confession in Psalm 51 in conjunction with what he seeks from God in Psalm 7.
When someone attacks, harms, and hurts us, may we have courage to ask God to open our eyes to our own lives and sin. May we have the courage to ask God to do whatever it takes for us to understand not only our sin, but his grace and mercy. May we only begin to pray in regard to our enemies after God has shown us our own lives. Then and then only will we truly pray from a position of humility. We may still pray for God’s righteousness and vengeance, but we will do so from a position of respect for God’s wisdom and His complete understanding of the circumstances and what must occur for “His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”