PSALMS – SERIES NR 5
Psalm 7: The church going under?
There are times when it seems/feels as if the church of Christ will not survive. That which the church presents in his Gospel-preaching, seems to be so weak by comparison with the forceful presentation/suction power of the world. That which the world offers and with which the world deceives people, looks so invincibly strong.
On the other hand, the preaching of the Word looks so insipid and powerless. Add to that the tendency that is prevalent in the DR Church today, that the number of theologians who still truly accept the Bible as the inerrant Word of God are getting fewer every day. Congregations are languishing because people say they are not receiving the pure preaching of the Word of God. The voice of the Shepherd is quiet in a lot of congregations. Although the Bible is opened in almost all the pulpits, the Word of the Lord has become scarce.
In addition, platforms are given to atheists and the enemies of the church of Christ. One thinks of the purposeful attack against the Gospel-message that Afrikaans-speaking listeners often have to endure on the national broadcaster. For literally years it has been going like that. Church members are becoming more and more outspoken in their criticism against the Truth of the Word. One would have thought that – after the Lord’s Word had been openly denied by decisions taken at Synod – a large number of congregations would revolt and draw a line in the sand. But yet it does not happen. It makes one wonder: Will the true church survive?
What is the connection with Psalm 7? Well, in Psalm 7 king David is experiencing a venomous enemy attack against him and his kingdom. We do not know who this CUSH (a Benjamite) was. However, he slandered and threatened David. We do not read about this incident anywhere else in the OT.
We know though that Cush encouraged the spirit of Antichrist, because he stood in direct opposition to David and threatened David’s kingdom.
And that is significant, because in the OT, David and his kingdom were that which today is the church of Christ. In the OT-time God established His church mainly within the bounds of an ethnic nation! Threats against David were not the same as against any other king! David was no secular king! He was a symbol of the church of the living God. He was God’s anointed. He represented us! Should David be killed, the worship of the living God would gave been in danger of being wiped out.
While we sometimes wonder if the Lord’s church would survive, we recognise David’s feelings when Cush, the Benjamite, threatens him. And what does David do at such a time? When the possibility arose that God’s OT-church is threatened – what does David do? Answer: He writes a Psalm! And he sings it as a prayer! And in this Psalm there is contained an important directive of which the church of God throughout the centuries should be cognizant of. Particularly when it feels as if the superior power of the world becomes too strong and it seems as if the preaching of Christ just cannot conquer!
In Psalm 7 we find a “slide show” of which the images quickly change. Six pictures that flash by one after the other. At the end of the 6 pictures find the key we must use to understand the images.
PICTURE NO 1 (verses 1-2) A VENOMOUS ATTACK: A peace loving man is walking along a road and suddenly a lion comes out of the bush threatening to tear the man apart. He is alone, nobody close by to rescue him. What can he do?
That is a picture-image of David’s situation. A picture of the Lord’s people in a hostile world. Is there anyone who can help us? What David understood, is that the Lord can help in desperate situations.
Any Christian knows that God helps in desperate situations, because a Christian is someone who has been in the hopeless position of lost-in-sin, and has been saved by the Lord. Nothing that I could do, could save me! I know – in principle – that He saves in impossible situations.
David also. He calls upon the Lord in his desperate situation. He can save you from the lion’s attack.
Perhaps there is someone here today who has to deal with a difficult situation in the coming week. But He shall also help His true church. He is more powerful than the suction power of the world’s unbelief. In the world the only religion that counts is humanism, where man is everything. I do only what pleases people and myself. The voice of man is heard as the voice of God. Shall we and our children survive within such an atmosphere? David knew that he would survive when God enters the picture.
PICTURE NO 2 (verses 3-5): COURTROOM: Now David sees himself in a courtroom where all kinds of accusations are directed at him. He must rise and defend himself. Everything is quiet. Then David turns away from his accusers and speaks directly to the Judge. Because the judge knows exactly what happened and what the facts are. He even knows David’s thoughts. He knows literally everything. That is why it is not even necessary to answer his accusers. He depends only on the righteousness of the judge. David does not see any need of speaking to anyone other than the Lord about the accusations. “Lord, if I have done this or that to anyone, let them pursue and overtake me, and trample me into the ground”.
With whom do we speak when we are (falsely) accused? When Jesus was accused, He said not a word. He did not retort and defend Himself. He was not indignant. Because His Father knows everything and judges fairly.
Are people saying all kinds of things about you? Are they talking behind your back? Is your first reaction to defend yourself and tell/show them a thing or two? No. Let silence fall in the courtroom. Speak only with the Judge who shall judge everything about all men and angels.
PICTURE NO 3 (verses 6-7): EXULTED JUDGE: Next David sees himself alongside a mighty Fighter. A very powerful military man, who is also Judge. On the one side is David’s accuser, Cush. But David knows that this other Fighter will fight for him. It takes only this one fighter to arise, and the battle is something of the past.
Because the living God is the Judge of the world, He is willing to step in. As a result of His integrity, righteousness, honour and virtue. He will intervene for David.
Evil is of such a nature that it will succeed absolutely unless the Lord steps in. We can fight, shout, try, sweat, call, cry – yes, try everything we know how – but we cannot stop the advance of evil in the world. Except when the great Fighter arises and intervenes in the struggle…
PICTURE NO 4 (verses 8-9): JEWELLER WHO TESTS PRECIOUS GEMS: Should gold be discovered in the Western Cape, thousands of people would descend on it. But, everything that glitters is not gold! How many times in history have people thought that they have discovered gold, but when it was tested, it was not real gold.
That is the picture here. The living God does test one’s heart as gemstones are tested. To David the Lord is already busy with this process. He tries people. He searches hearts and minds and deeds. Is it gold or not? Nothing that is lukewarm, will pass the test. He knows what is what and who is who. God sees people as they truly are, not like us whose judgement is often wrong. People can be deceived, but not the Lord.
What David is saying, therefore – when he is confronted by Cush – is: “ Lord, you know what is the truth. Let my enemies be punished. You save/deliver the righteous of heart.”
PICTURE NO 5 (VERSES 10-13): ENRAGED ARCHER: Lots of people probably wish that verse 11 was not written in Scripture. God is angry with the unrepentant people every day. He speaks to them. In their conscience, through nature, through the Word. Most of them never listen. They are set in their wickedness. Then the Lord sharpens His sword and prepares His bow-and-arrow. He makes ready His flaming arrows. He is actively opposed against rebellious people. If they do not listen, do not repent, He prepares their downfall. He shall let them go under. He is already busy planning it.
PICTURE NO 6 (verses 14-16): FAILED TRAP: Many people set a trap for those who are Christians. They make plans against the children of the Lord. Dig a hole in the ground and cover it with sticks and leaves so the path looks like any other path. All the time it is a trap. The unsaved hopes to bring the Lord’s people down. Actually the entire world desires the downfall of the Christian Faith. But David sees how people who set traps for other people, fall into it themselves. Their plans come down on their own heads.
It is an interesting picture David is showing here, because the Book of Revelation shows us that it is exactly what is to happen at the end of the world. Everyone who has ever tried to trip Christian-believers, shall finally be brought down. But it is also happening now already. Although the Lord does not always act the way He did when He brought fire down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. But He does organise things so that people fall into their own traps. People who tried to harm the Lord’s people, will go under.
KEY TO UNDERSTAND THE PICTURES (v 17): Who is God? Two things: He is absolutely righteous. And He is the Almighty, in other words He has all authority. That is the key to understand each of the 6 pictures.
That is why David only seemingly went under. That is why the Lord’s church will seemingly not survive. The true church shall not and can not go under. Because the Lord is righteous and absolutely all mighty. That is why David did not go under.
Take another look at the pictures: 1) Why does the Lord intervene when the lion wants to tear the man to pieces? He is righteous: He will not allow evil to triumph. And why can only He save someone from the attack of the lion, and no one else? He is all mighty.
2&3) Courtroom and Judge: Why is David not perturbed by the accusations against him and only speaks to the Judge? How could he just forget what the accusations were? Because the Judge is absolutely righteous and all mighty.
4) How can the jeweller who tests the purity of people’s hearts, see every heart and test every thought and hear every word? He is absolutely righteous and all mighty.
5) Archer: How can He with assurance reckon with every rebellious person and why will He do it? Absolutely righteous and all mighty.
6) Overturn traps: He can arrange and organise things so people’s plans come down upon their own heads. He can judge the entire humanity in the end. He is absolutely righteous and all mighty. His power and might and justice – guarantee the survival of the church. The true church shall survive because God is that kind of a God. The church shall not survive due to her spiritual strength, diligence, attempts to succeed, use of new technology, technique, etc. The church shall survive to the end due to her God! The church of Jesus will always be in existence. It shall never go under. Right up to the very last day the Gospel-message shall conquer hearts and save people.
Our task is to pray! Take note: David spoke to the Judge. That is all he did. He did not have faith in any human or plan or strategy. A person/church’s earnestness with prayer shows whether there is serious effort made towards the survival of the church – whether it is important.
In 1770 it seemed as if the church in England was finally going to go under. The country reached the lowest level in all areas: spiritual, moral, financial. Immorality, financial collapse and spiritual bankruptcy were the order of the day. Nobody had any hope for that country any longer.
And then the living God appeared on the scene.
Believers started praying and two men started preaching: John Wesley and George Whitefield. Suddenly there was a movement of the Holy Spirit. What was unthinkable, started to happen. Multitudes of up to 30000 people began to attend open air services to hear about a holy God who hates sin and has hell prepared for lost sinners, but had worked salvation in Jesus Christ. Thousands started to repent and come to faith. Within a year more than a million people had become saved. Britain literally underwent a transformation. Only by the intervention of one Person – the living God of heaven: then the matter was settled. Believers can simply call on Him in unity. That is all. Nothing else is necessary. He is able to manage impossible situations.
Translated by Marthie Wilson