Psalm 7 Sermon From April 2012 Prayer Service
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday April 4th2012: Holy Week Psalm 7. “In You I Take Refuge”
O LORD my God, in You do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
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.
Arise, O LORD, in Your anger;
lift Yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; You have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about You;
over it return on high.
The LORD judges the peoples;
judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may You establish the righteous—
You who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.
If a man does not repent, God will whet His sword;
He has bent and readied His bow;
He has prepared for Him His deadly weapons,
making His arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.
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.
(Psalm 7 ESV)
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. In the midst of his son Absalom’s rebellion, King David was faced with a man “of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, [and as David approached the place called Bahurim so did this Shimei approach King David] and as Shimei came he cursed [David] continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and [at] all the people and all the mighty men [who] were on [David’s] right hand and on his left. And Shimei cursed David saying, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.” This Shimei mercilessly bullied David, in front of everyone.
In Psalm 7 David writes: “O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,” King David’s entry into Bahurim was very different from King Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus rides into the city to the tune of a multitude calling out with praise “Hosanna!” (Save us!) David comes into town to the tune of one disgruntled bully, yelling, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man!” For Jesus they wave palm branches and toss their coats on the road before Him, for David this angry bully throws stones at him and at the people with him: Two very different greetings.
Shimei, a relative of the dead Saul who had been king before David, was showing his great displeasure at King David and at the same time his personal indignation towards David. Shimei revelled in his own glee at the fact the David was fending off an attack against his own throne. Shimei’s attack on David was a false one in the eyes of God but in his own eyes Shimei was justified in his bullying and ridiculing of David. Why was Shimei’s attack on David false? God had had the prophet Samuel, the last Judge of Israel, anoint David to be king in Saul’s place (1 Samuel 16:1-13) because Saul, Shimei’s relative, had abandoned God and would not return to God; Saul had stopped trusting in the LORD, and it lost him the kingdom. David trusted that this assault on him was false and Psalm 7 shows his prayer for refuge in the LORD God, while under the attack of this bully. David would not pray like this if he didn’t believe God would hear his prayer, and live up to His promises to him.
Have you ever been falsely accused, have you ever had people seeking harm against your good name, against your body, or even against your soul? If you have experienced such things in your life then this Psalm is a prayer for you, if not ... think about it, have you ever needed to console a fellow Christian in a hard situation of false accusations and bullying ... then this Psalm is a practical go to Psalm for comforting the afflicted.
While there is a great contrast between Jesus’ triumphal entry at Jerusalem and David’s coming to Bahurim, the contrast begins to fade away as the events of Holy week unfold; soon Jesus would have not one Shimei hurling stones at Him, and hurling insults and curses, by Friday morning Jesus would have a whole crowed of disgruntled Shimei’s filling the yard in front of Pontius Pilates residence calling out “Crucify Him!!” David as rightful King of Israel was falsely accused of absconding off with Saul’s Kingdome, with stealing it, and interestingly Jesus’ detractors also accused Him of falsely claiming the kingship of Israel (they did this to give Pilate warrant to have Jesus killed) interestingly Jesus was the rightful king, as David likewise had been, but Jesus made no claims to kingship, seeking only to serve the people in love. With Jesus His kingship went beyond Israel for His Kingship is not of this world and is not confined to any one country’s borders or any period of time. That day as David entered Bahurim he had one person who wanted him dead, discredited, and destroyed; in the end there were many who wished Jesus dead, discredited, and destroyed.
O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
As Shimei comes hurling stones, insults and curses at David, one of the “sons of Zeruiah [who was with the king and his men] said to the [David], “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”
But [David] said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If Shimei is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ [people will ask], ‘Why have you [had him killed]?’” And David said to [the one who had offered to harm Shimei] and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for Shimei’s cursing today.”
Even in the midst of his son Absalom’s rebellion, David had all the power, he was still king; Shimei took his life in his own hands when he came with his insults and curses, hurling his stones, yet David didn’t seek revenge for insult, he put it into God’s hands. He could have told the son of Zeruiah to go ahead and kill Shimei, but he did not. In Psalm 7 we see David likewise putting this all into God’s hands saying, if I have done wrong give me what I deserve but if I have been wronged avenge me O Lord. This brings to mind Paul’s words to us in Romans Chapter 12, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
David is an example of this in 2ndSamuel and also in Psalm 7: Therefore follow David’s lead in this regard and you will be blessed, yet remember that King David is but a poor shadow next to brightness of Christ Jesus, Who went to His death uncomplaining, who was ridiculed and mocked, spat on and beaten, and finally crucified until dead, all the while not lifting His finger against his enemies. Jesus, who had all the power necessary to chop off the heads of a million Shimei’s with a word, did no harm to the ones who persecuted Him. He put all of this into His Father’s hands, even while hanging on the cross Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
David spares Shimei even though others wanted Shimei dead – Jesus spares the lives of those who kill Him, in both instances David and our Lord Jesus put themselves and their troubles into the hands of the Father and they let Him be the Judge. This is what we are to do, and when we fail in doing this, and act out in sin, we know we have a Saviour who endured all things and did not act out in Sin, this perfect Saviour was not King David who was a sinner in need of forgiveness but rather our Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord, and it is He who has won your salvation and forgiveness and who gives you life eternal.
What happened to King David? Did Shimei suddenly have a change of heart? Did David’s persecutor and slanderer, his enemy, his bully, see how David took the high road and marvel at this once David put this troubles into God’s hands? No, even after sparing Shimei, and resisting the temptation to have him killed, as David and his men departed from Bahurim and “went on the road, Shimei went along on the hillside opposite David and [continued] curs[ing] David as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan [river]. And there David refreshed himself.” Shimei didn’t let up in his bullying of David at that time and yet Shimei makes one more appearance before King David, after the rebellion of David’s son Absalom was frustrated and put down Shimei came to the king seeking lenience for fear of reprisal over his curses and assaults at Bahurim and even though David could have punished Shimei for his bullying, David instead spared his life again saying, “You shall not die.” [Sealing this promise with] his oath. That is how David’s story with Shimei went during the days of Absalom’s rebellion and this is the thing to learn in all of this; that even when you take the high road and resist the temptation to do evil against your persecutor you may still have to suffer his assaults and this will be a wearying trouble; When you are faced with trouble remember that King David (who was a man after God’s own heart,) didn’t get half way to the river Jordan and snap, he didn’t turn against Shimei and fight fire with fire, and you don’t have to either ... more importantly Jesus didn’t get half way to the cross and then unleash a thousand angels of war on the ones who were killing Him. He took all that they dished out right to the end: Every false accusation, every beating, every nail, every indignity, so that you would have glory in heaven. Jesus didn’t snap under the hand of the bully, under the hand of His tormentors and murderers, and you don’t have to snap either.
David was long suffering in the face of bullying, Jesus outshines David in this way, for in your sin you are Shimei, in your sin you come at Jesus your king, hurling insults and curses and stones at Him with every sin you commit, your sin bullies Christ Jesus, that part of you that revels and loves sin mocks Jesus all the way to the cross, hoping for the worst, yet Jesus does not have your head struck off from your shoulders for you sin, Jesus doesn’t strike you with lightning for your sin, He is patient with you and kind with you and merciful with you, and when He is resurrected from the dead and stands before you in His word and you come to Him with a repentant heart asking pardon, He forgives you. And we trust Him, and cling to His promise when we pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” This is our motivation to put vengeance into God the Father’s hands, this is our motivation to forgive those who persecute us and bully us as David did, this is our motivation to love even those who hate us, “We love because [God] first loved us.”This is our motivation to work as Christians not to be bullies, not to harm others.
Lastly Remember God has placed authorities into the world for your protection, they carry the sword and can punish those who bully you, and if they do their job well you will be protected, if they fail in protecting you they have abused the authority God has given them. Take up the help of the people who are there to protect you, always remembering that we are asked to trust in the Lord and put our hope in Him. David had no authority above him but God; he had no one to turn to but God. For you it is a little different, God wants you always to turn to Him first but He has also shown you a great kindness, is mercy and love He has given you people to turn to who have authority to deal with bullies. God has given them that authority to keep you safe.
In all of this we learn from Psalm 7 that we can trust that God knows best how to handle those who bully and hate us, and would do evil to us, and that we can trust Him to do what is best for us, that Jesus is our refuge in times of trouble and that He knows your suffering, for this reason He is worthy of praise and thanks due to His righteousness. David’s Psalm prays this and points longing forward to it, we are blessed to know it has come to pass in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Let us pray: LORD, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; LORD, have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 2 Samuel 16:5-8
 2 Samuel 16:9-12
 Romans 12:17-19
 Luke 23:34
 2 Samuel 16:12-14
 2 Samuel 19:23
 Acts 13:22
 Matthew 26:53 “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”
 Reading the Psalms with Luther, Concordia Publishing House 2007, pg25-27.
 1 John 4:19