PSALM 7 – When Not to Pray Like David

Psalms Let the Lord judge the peoples.Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked  and make the righteous secure—you, the righteous God   who probes minds and hearts.  My shield is God MostHigh, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge…. (Psalm 7)

This is one prayer of David that we should not pray.

We see in these verses of David a plea for God to execute justice and vindicate him according to David’s righteousness and integrity. What a dangerous prayer to pray — who among us could stand a chance if we had only our righteous standing to rely on when we came to God in prayer?

The blessed Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God, in the end, does not operate according to this kind of justice. David is operating in a theological framework (here at least) where God saves those who are “righteous” and deserving, and condemns rebels and evil doers. Is David a proto-Pharisee in this respect?

But Christians must read the Old Testament in light of the fuller revelation of God’s nature revealed in the New Testament. When we re-read this Psalm in light of God’s justice revealed in Jesus Christ on Calvary, we realize that David’s prayer doesn’t yet understand the kind of scandalous justice that God would display in through Christ on the cross.

We discover in Christ that God doesn’t just save the upright in heart, but sinners who repent. God doesn’t judge us according to our own righteousness and integrity, but rather according to Christ’s righteousness on our behalf.  Thankfully, God does not give us what we deserve (which is wrath because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”), but instead extends to all sinners the gift of undeserving pardon solely by His scandalous grace.

Either we must admit that God is really, in the end, not just at all (according to our typical definition), or we must redefine God’s justice in light of the cross. I just call it a scandalous justice. I just call it “saved by grace.”  Below is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember: Jesus did not come to earth to make bad people good; but rather to make dead people alive!

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (JESUS).

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved….For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2)

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