Reading Time: 10 Minutes
This Psalm teaches us how to pray about threats from enemies. Let’s learn from it how to pray about and for the enemies that threaten our lives.
David was pursued by Saul, who was then King over Israel, when he first prayed this Psalm. The words of this Psalm appeal to God, when we are faced with governmental oppression or a superior enemy force.
Many people have never faced a situation where we are fighting for our life because our government or superior forces threaten us. However, all persons face the three enemies of all persons: the world’s system, the flesh, and the devil.
(1) The World’s System – John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world — the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches — comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2.15-16).
Meat that is marinated overnight is permeated by the flavors of the marinade. People live in the atmosphere of a world’s system and take on the attitudes of a system that opposes God. This enemy must be overcome.
(2) The Flesh – Paul wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it” (Romans 7.18).
“Flesh” in this instance is not the skin that covers our bodies. Flesh is defined as a “person’s life lived apart from God.” If we live apart from God, there is no doubt that we will be enemies to the things of God.
(3) The Devil – Paul wrote, “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6.12).
The force behind all of the evil in the world’s system and in our life apart from God is a supernatural force of evil. Jesus defeated the devil on the cross and gives us access to his power in the fight against this enemy.
An early church leader Alcuin taught, “If you are afflicted by various trials, greater than you can bear, sing within your innermost heart the Psalms. Immediately the merciful God will help you and enable you to bear the temptation that is upon you.”
This is a perfect Psalm to pray when facing enemies that seek to steal, kill and destroy our lives (John 10.10a). The prayer will lead us to God, who will give us power over the temptation that is pressing in upon us.
Our Appeal for Help
We pray, because we believe that God is “my God” (verse 1). He has a personal interest in us and will protect us when we ask him to help.
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
or like a lion they will tear me apart;
they will drag me away, with no one to rescue. (Psalm 7.1-2)
Our own best thinking, will power, or some other human ability can’t save us. That is why we pray. We ask God to to give us protection from whatever seeks to bring us harm.
Innocent or Not Innocent
When King David prayed the next verses of the Psalm, he knew he was not innocent in the sense of being sinless. However, he also knew that his cause was far more righteous than that of the man who was trying to kill him, Saul. This knowledge influenced his words.
O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my ally with harm
or plundered my foe without cause,
then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my soul in the dust. Selah (Psalm 7.3-5)
In cases of oppression and conflict that are all too real today, people can pray these words with the same spirit as did David.
I don’t have a situation that is similar to David’s. I know that I am not innocent. I also know that my inside condition often seeks to live separate from the direction and guidance of God. This is unfortunately the biggest enemy that I face.
When I pray for safety and refuge from my enemies (Verses 1-2), I ask God to deliver me from my own faulty and sinful thinking. I ask God to help me with myself.
Justice in God’s Court
When David prayed, he asked for God to assemble a court in heaven to hear his case. He presented his case to God and asked for a judgment in favor of the innocent party.
Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
and over it take your seat on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God. (Psalm 7.6-9)
There are multitudes in our world who can resonate with the words of David. They know that they are not innocent before God. Yet, they also know that they are innocent when compared to the injustice that is put upon them. They know that they have no recourse to the oppression they face, except to bring it to God in prayer.
People are free to cry out to God about the injustice they feel. God knows the minds and hearts of all parties in the dispute. He will bring about justice for those who cry to them, as Jesus taught in his ministry (Luke 18.3-8).
When I use David’s words to inform my prayer, I pray in two ways. First, I intercede for people who are suffering injustice. I imagine situations of injustice and use these words on behalf of those who suffer.
I especially use verse 9 and ask God to bring the wickedness of my own life to an end. I ask him to establish in me a life that imitates the way Jesus lived and taught.
A Message of Hope
Psalm 7 was a public prayer. After praying verse 9, the speaker turned and delivered a message to the congregation who were witnesses to the prayer. Let’s be encouraged by the words of the speaker.
God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who has indignation every day.
If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. (Psalm 7.10-17)
Every person who has experienced oppression, dishonest relations with others, exploitation, and all of the human-created ills of earth can rest assured that God is a just judge. They can rely on God as their refuge and their judge, who will uphold the righteous.
Many injustices must wait for full correction in eternity. However, we can be certain that God has sharpened his sword and will judge those who have perpetrated gross injustice in the earth.
As I pray this section, I focus on two thoughts. First, I know that I have to live with myself. If my thoughts and actions are colored by the world’s system and demonic powers, I will become that kind of person. Living with myself as “disaster” of a person will be my judgment both now and in eternity.
Because of the temptation to be influenced by evil, the word “repent” (Psalm 7.12) gets my attention. When I repent, I change my mind and my actions. I use this prayer to tell God my intentions. I deeply desire to defeat the enemies of the world’s system, my own flesh, and demonic forces to that I can live a righteous life, a life lived aligned with God’s will and purposes.
Using This Psalm in Prayer
The purpose of our study in the Psalms is to provide information and examples that will help our conversations with God. Please take at least 6-10 minutes and meet with God, using this Psalm. The goal of your praying is to meet with God. If he seems to direct your attention to a specific word, theme or verse, say there. God will use your time with him to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others.
Also, Maywood has a prayer team. We would be very happy to pray for any concern you may have. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook. I will be happy to pray for you and share your request with the team.