Becoming Women of Faith and Trust

Denise J. Hughes

Day: 5 | Plan: When Words Fail

Today's Reading: Psalm 7

Psalm 7:1 (ESV) "O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me."

When I was in middle school, I couldn't wait to get to high school. I thought for sure I'd be able to leave the drama of junior high behind me. But once I was in high school, it seemed like gossip had become a way of life, and I longed for the day I could graduate. Unfortunately, even in adulthood, gossip and slander has a way of infiltrating conversations in our neighborhoods, at our workplaces, and sadly, even in our churches.

It's a terrible sinking feeling to learn that someone is spreading lies about you. The only thing worse is finding out that some people are actually believing those lies. This is the situation David finds himself in as he writes Psalm 7.

Based on the superscription in Psalm 7, it seems that Cush the Benjamite was speaking falsely about David. These lies not only marred David's reputation but fueled some people's animosity toward him. This caused David's enemies to increase, so he turned to God, asking Him to intervene in a strong and decisive way.

"O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me."
(Psalm 7:1)

The fact that Psalm 7 falls right after Psalm 6 is interesting because in Psalm 6, David confesses his sin and seeks God's forgiveness, but in Psalm 7, David adamantly defends himself. He doesn't claim to be sinless, but he does insist on his innocence in this matter concerning the lies.

"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."
(Psalm 7:3-5)

What we see in David, time and again, is a consistent willingness to take responsibility for his actions. If he's guilty, he'll own it, but if he's not guilty, he wants God to take up his cause and defend him. While Psalm 7 is considered a psalm of lament, it's also partly an imprecatory psalm because it shows David invoking a curse from heaven onto his enemies.

"Arise, O LORD, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment."
(Psalm 7:6)

The intensity of David's emotion is revealed through his continued appeal for God's righteous judgment. And yet, even as David calls on God to smite his enemies, he openly announces the path for anyone who wishes to abate God's wrath.

"If a man does not repent,
God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow."
(Psalm 7:12)

David sends a fair warning to everyone — including those who are slandering him — that God will relent if His people repent. And what was true back then is still true today.

Have you found yourself in a situation similar to David? Where someone was saying things about you that weren't true? Or, have you found yourself in a situation where the conversation around you took a downward turn?

When we begin to hear things we know we shouldn't listen to, we can quickly steer the conversation back to a more wholesome exchange, or we can walk away. And if we've participated in a conversation that has cast someone in a negative light, we need to repent and make things right.

I thank God in heaven every day I'm no longer in middle school or high school, but the opportunity to gossip is ever-present. Psalm 7 is a potent reminder of the power of our words, and by His grace alone, we can become women of faith and trust who speak words of kindness and beauty.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for being a God who cares about the details of our lives. When we are hurting because of harsh or unfair words, You do not stand aloof and unconcerned. You are a safe refuge we can run to, knowing that You will be our Defender. Help us to become women who rise to stand by one another, women who speak words to strengthen one another. May Christ be evident in our hearts by the words we speak. And may the world know that Jesus is real because of the very real change they see deep within us. In Jesus' name, amen.

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