Throughout David’s ordeals on his way to becoming king, I can’t imagine the extent of the feelings he battled. The fear for his life from his enemies; the anger towards his father-in-law’s behavior; the frustration of those who twisted Saul’s ear with deceptions against David; the deep resentment over the betrayal of Saul after all David did for the kingdom of Israel; the loneliness and exhaustion from fleeing danger across the country all on his own. As faithful a man as David was, I can only assume in his human condition he fought these things the same way I imagine many of us would. I imagine most would people nowadays may feel a thirst for justice or desire for revenge in David’s shoes.
Psalm 7 is an incredible song of deliverance from these captive chains of revenge. David demonstrates an incredible surrender of his own accord to God’s judgement; as he states in verse 8, “The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.” God will shield the righteous from destruction, and will rightly punish those who do Him wrong and refuse to repent. David could totally get mad and go all Goliath round 2 against those chasing him and take his rightful throne by force. But even as death chases him, he knows his opinion of who is in the right and wrong is purely subjective, and instead sings for the Lord to judge according to His standards, even if it ends with David punished for wrongdoings of his own.
The freedom from hatred within the heart, the recognition of an authority over right and wrong beyonds our capabilities and judgement, the practicing of God’s control over our lives; David’s words speak to reasons my own faith is essential. When the world feels so saturated with evil, full of men only after the desires of their own selfish hearts, my belief in God’s continued sovereignty and righteous judgement calms my heart and assuages my reactions towards these things. In David’s actions and words of mercy towards his pursuers (1 Samuel 24:12-13, 1 Samuel 26:19), I see faith in action. I see the Lord healing the scars borne of our fallen humanity and bringing a righteous calm to a raging storm.
This is one thing I think clearly demonstrates God’s existence and the enacting of His will. I have borne the burden of a fallen human heart myself, and empathize with the feelings David must have felt. To hear him take his burden to the Lord and praise His righteousness and judgement above all else – to experience this lightening of burdens when I likewise bring my own troubles and failures to the Lord – this is more than proof enough for me that God changes the hearts of those who believe. Knowing the condition of our sinful hearts firsthand, I know no one and nothing other than God could possibly put minds at true peace and fill hearts with joyous praise, despite our natural inclinations otherwise. This is part of why I believe: from experiencing firsthand the refuge and deliverance David describes when we right ourselves with God.
Like David in his time of need, we must hold firm against Satan whispering in our ears, encouraging us to overstep our bounds over God’s rights. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:38-39).” Our culture encourages – and often even celebrates – vengeance and payback against the perpetrators when we are wronged. We as Christians demonstrate our belief when we defy this and surrender our need for justice to Him – not that we should at all tolerate or accept wicked deeds, but knowing recompense for wickedness extends beyond our human reach. When our actions display our trust in God’s judgement and we relinquish our pursuit to ruin those who wrong us, we defy the way of the world and show faith in the Lord’s deliverance. The world needs a ridiculous love, and I can attest we offer proof of a ridiculously loving God when we trust in Him to right things when we are wronged – if not in this life, then the next. And let us always sing alongside Psalm 7:17: “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”