This Psalm is unique in that it is sung by David himself, and is designated Shiggaion which means a turbulent lyric. The theme of this song is Responding to False Accusations which in this case were being reported to Saul by Cush the Benjamite.
David's lengthy response begins in (v.1a) "O LORD my God, in Thee do I put my trust" which provides him with the foundation upon which to make the rest of his case. He puts his confidence in the LORD by exercising his faith which is the place we all must begin ("For without faith it is impossible to please God") when we approach the throne of grace.
Having established his position he begins his appeal: "Save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me" (v.1b). He doubles his imperative demand to the LORD, emphasizing his need to be rescued from those who are bringing pressure, tribulation and heavy affliction to his soul, knowing that only through the LORD's intervention will he experience deliverance.
This intense struggle he is facing is described in (v.2) "Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver." The inner conflict David is experiencing is likened to a savage mauling by the king of beasts, ripping his prey to shreds, just like the devil himself, 'as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour' (I Peter 5:8). And, David knows, without divine intervention 'there is none to deliver'.
This is an intense spiritual conflict that David is experiencing, and you can count on it, the devil is the author of this struggle for he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) and these false accusations have all the earmarks of the 'wiles of the devil'.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12) and the sooner we grasp this truth and act upon it's reality, the sooner we will not allow ourselves to get involved in the physical battles with men, but on our knees we will get the victory and then just as Job was blessed by praying for his accusers (Job 42:10) so we too can enter into the kingdom and blessing of the LORD, when we 'pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you' (Matthew 5:44).
In (v.3-5) David presents his case to The Judge: "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 honor in the dust. Selah."
David makes this appeal to God knowing that He knows the truth of the matter and therefore he is confident, even though his own sentencing statement is severe, that God will vindicate him. He also realizes his testimony is at stake here, which is the most valuable possession he has next to his eternal soul!
Then, he calls upon the LORD to act on his behalf: "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. So shall the congregation of the people compass Thee about: for their sakes therefore return Thou on high. The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins." (v.6-9)
David's earnest appeal is controlled by one overriding emphasis and that is the judgment of God. He wants the LORD to move into action against his enemies by exercising His righteous and therefore deserving judgment for their false accusations and the ensuing 'rage' which they brought against him.
He wants the LORD to also judge him based upon his own upright conduct and his blameless character knowing that the LORD and the LORD alone has the ability to examine and prove the inner thoughts and deeds of the heart (Psalm 26:2).
David also calls for an end to wickedness which would only be temporary as God's final and eternal triumph over wickedness is still to come at the end of the millennium which will also include the judgment of the wicked at the Great White Throne of God. (Revelation 20:7-15)
He continues in (v.10-13) by describing God's Defending Actions: "My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 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 ordains His arrows against the persecutors."
This statement overflows with the confident faith of a man who knows and relies upon his God. His defense, deliverance and judgment are assured. God"s attitude toward the wicked is established and determines the specific actions He will take if their is no repentance.
David describes God's arsenal in view of his own personal weapons of warfare, but, in reality the LORD utilizes the entire army of heaven (Daniel 4:35), and all the spiritual weapons at His disposal when He brings His forces to bear upon a decidedly determined enemy. And, in the end, He will prevail, regardless of what may appear to be the case at the moment, He will prevail, and His people will be vindicated!
The next three verses describe one of these decidedly determined enemies of God:'"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." (v.14-16)
This man who falls into his own ditch has expended a lot of energy in his evil doing. He experiences the excruciating pain of childbirth while in the process of bringing into being these false accusations against an innocent man. His intense labor of wrong-doing toward another is rightly rewarded by a violent self-destructing calamity which comes crashing down upon his own head.
David's singing now becomes full-fledged worship: "I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high." (v.17) The significance of this concluding praise is the degree of praise promised, which is unlimited by the unmeasurable righteousness of God.
David also utilizes a powerful title for the LORD, as the designation of 'most high' refers to the LORD's position of Commander in Chief over the army of heaven. This lofty title emphasizes His great might as the 'Man of War' (Exodus 15:3), for He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!
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