This Bible study on Psalms contains outlines, extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications. Visit our inductive Bible studies for more studies on this and other books of the Bible.
Psalm 7 Inductive Bible Study With Discussion Questions
I. The innocent take refuge in God (1-5)
II. God is a righteous judge (6-11)
III. A person reaps what he sows (12-16)
IV. Thank the Lord (17)
I. The innocent take refuge in God (1-5)
- What kind of literal things do people normally take refuge in?
- How can a person “take refuge” in God?
- Do you have any enemies or pursuers like David did?
- What is David saying in verses 3-5?
Psalm 62:8 – Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us
Psalm 91:4 – He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Psalm 27:5 – For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Psalm 26:1-2 – Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
1. Cush the Benjamite – David lived a dangerous life. For many years he was on the run from Saul. He and his band of men lived in the wilderness, in constant danger of being discovered and killed. Even after Saul died, he had to fight a war for years to have the kingdom finally consolidated under his rule. Once he was undisputed king, there were more wars with foreign countries. But there were civil wars as well and from his own family Absalom rose up to revolt against him.
And in this chapter it says that David sang this to the Lord “concerning Cush, a Benjamite.” This is the only place in the Bible that this Cush is mentioned. Nothing else is known about him. However, it does tell us that he is a Benjamite and that is significant since we know that Saul was also a Benjamite. It is likely that if this Psalm was written before David became king that Cush had aligned himself with Saul, perhaps becoming a spy against David. If it was written after David became king, it is likely that Cush protested David’s ascension to the throne as being illegitimate. Either possibility fits well with David’s proclamation of innocence in verses 3-4.
2. I take refuge in you – David lived a good part of his life on the run, at times hiding out from enemies and at times sheltering in areas of strong defense. As a rugged soldier, he would have kept a keen eye out during his sojourning for areas that he could take shelter in. You can almost imagine David talking to a captain of his band while on a walk, “You see that hill up there? There is only one small path to the top. If we needed to, we could defend that for a long time against a much stronger force.”
But although David did find refuge in some physical regions, here he says that his ultimate refuge is in the Lord. None of these physical locations could provide perfect protection. Any of them could be defeated. Even in the most defensible locations, he would have to keep a watch (or not be able to sleep well), knowing that there were spies and enemies around.
Psalm 3:5 – I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
The real reason for his safety, even for his ability to sleep well at night, was the Lord’s protection. David saying “I take refuge in you” is his expression of faith that the Lord is sovereign and omnipresent, that the Lord had a good plan for him, and that he didn’t trust in anything else. It was this faith that made David into the bold warrior he was. And it was this faith that caused him to state in his battle with Goliath: “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”
For most of us, our lives are not anything like David’s was. We are not being chased by our enemies. We don’t have kings after us trying to kill us or sons who revolt and try to kill our whole families. So in a world where things seem fairly safe, how can we relate to this idea of “refuge?” In ways is God a refuge for us? Who might we need to be saved and delivered from?
Here are a few ideas:
- People who gossip about us or seek to slander us.
- People who wrongly accuse us.
- People who in the process of competing with us (either sports or work or seeking a promotion, etc.) treat us unfairly.
- People at church who complain or see to create factions.
- Those who persecute or oppress us in some way because of our belief in the Lord.
3. Or they will tear me apart like a lion – David’s enemies were the real deal. They weren’t just seeking to embarrass him or take his job. Nothing would satisfy them short of his complete destruction. If you don’t have any enemies like this, then be thankful!
4. David defends his innocence (3-4) – David says, “If I have done this…” It appears that Cush was accusing David of something, perhaps accusing him of revolting against Saul, the Lord’s anointed. But we know that David was very respectful of Saul, even when Saul attempted to murder him.
1 Samuel 24:6 – Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him.
In these verses David is not declaring that he is perfect. David was quick to confess when he sinned as we can see in Psalm 51:1-2 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
No, David is not saying that he was sinless. He was proclaiming himself to be innocent in whatever Cush was accusing him of. There is a large distinction between the two. A person can be humble and know he is a sinner and at the same time rightly protest his innocence in court cases, or when wrongly accused. A believer need not sit back and take responsibility for a crime he did not do.
In this case, David strongly believes in his own innocence. He does so to the point that he asks God to even let his enemy kill him if indeed he was guilty. Whatever Cush accused him of horrified David to the point that he himself thought he deserved death if he had done it.
Application: Believers should practice genuine humility. When we do wrong, we should quickly admit it. But humility does not require taking responsibility for things which we have not done. Sometimes silence in the face of false accusations could be the correct course of action like Jesus showed us (note he didn’t agree with those claims or accept responsibility). At the same time, David and Paul vigorously defended themselves against unjust claims.
II. God is a righteous judge (6-11)
- Does the Lord get angry? What about? What are some Biblical examples?
- What are some of David’s enemies that deserved judgment?
- When is the time appointed for judgment?
- What does verse 7 mean?
- Was David innocent? Is he being prideful here?
- Why does he declare his innocence?
- What do we learn in verse 9 about the end of the wicked and the righteous?
- What does it mean that “my shield is with God?”
- If God feels indignation every day, should we? At what?
- Why don’t we?
Matthew 21:12-13 – And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Nahum 1:2-6 – The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
1. God’s anger – We see in verse 6 that God gets angry. He gets angry when people sin. In this case Cush sinned against David by treating him unfairly. The above references make it clear that God does get angry. Nahum tells us that God is slow to anger, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t get angry. He is patient. But His patience has a limit.
Did you have a parent that was sometimes prone to get angry when you misbehaved? You surely tried to avoid their wrath, not wanting to get on their wrong side. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of God’s anger. David asks God to “rise up.” He can either rise up on your behalf when you are suffering for doing good or rise up against you. I’ll take the former!
2. God is a judge – He is the final arbiter of disputes among his creation. If you are a parent, you know what I am talking about. Your kids have a disagreement. They argue, accusing each other of wrongdoing while defending themselves. Sooner or later the argument comes to you. So you listen to both sides. Then you make a ruling. You decree what is going to happen and you try to make it as fair as possible using all of the information you can get. Every parent acts as a judge.
Even more so will God do this. We see Him as judge throughout these verses:
- Verse 6 – Decree justice
- Verse 7 – You sit enthroned over them
- Verse 8 – Let the Lord judge the peoples
- Verse 8 – Vindicate me
- Verse 9 – Bring an end to the violence of the wicked
- Verse 11 – God is a righteous judge
Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Simply put, God is the judge, not you. Even as a king, David took this matter to God to deal with. It often doesn’t work when we try to “take the law” into our own hands and push for our rights. Do not try to jump in and take God’s responsibility of meting out judgment to yourself. Be patient and trust that He will do it. He sees whatever injustice you are facing and some day He will make it right.
3. God is righteous – God is a just and righteous judge. There are many evil judges and authorities in the world. I read an article recently that businesses in the Philippines need to set aside 35% of their budget on a given project for bribing officials and judges. Bribery and bias corrupt justice. God cannot corrupted. What could He bribed with anyway? Everything already belongs to Him!
4. David requests God to intervene on His behalf – This is a Psalm of petition. David needs help and he turns to God to find it. In this truth lies the key lesson we can learn from this Psalm. And it is this: “When need of help, turn to the Lord.”
Application: There are many places a person might want to turn to for help: money, friends, family, insurance, or the court system. A person who believes in God need not never seek any relief from these places, but the final and most important place to seek help from is the Lord. He is the highest court, the final authority. Just as a lawsuit may work its way up to the Supreme Court, so we should take our petition directly to the top.
III. A person reaps what he sows (12-16)
- What do we learn about God in verse 12?
- Why is it important for us to remember this side of God’s nature?
- What do we learn about wicked people and their plans?
- Why do you think the wicked person is making this “pit?”
- What principle is revealed in verses 15-16?
- What causes this principle to “work?”
Galatians 6:7-8 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
2 Corinthians 9:6 – The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Job 4:8 – As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.
Proverbs 22:8 – Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.
1. Verses 12-13 – Here we see a vivid picture of God ready to unleash His wrath in judgment. He is pictured as preparing His weapons of war.
2. You reap what you sow (14-16) – This principle is seen throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New. In this passage the evil person is described as conceiving trouble and being discontent and unhappy. In the midst of his schemes, he digs a pit. Do you think he is planting a tree or digging a well? No. He is trying to set a trap for someone. Perhaps this pit is in the middle of a road. He hopes to catch someone unaware. After they fall into the pit, they will be at his mercy. He can rob them or worse. And yet David says that the wicked will fall into the pit they dig out! The very trap they set for others will catch themselves.
Verse 16 reinforces this idea, saying that the “trouble they cause recoils on them” and “their violence comes down on their own head.”
Why does this happen? The principle of reaping what you sow is a divine “spiritual law” so to speak. Firstly, it is a general principle that is seen throughout nature. If you don’t plant crops, you won’t get a harvest. If you are lazy, then you will not earn an income. It also is true socially. If you are rude and unkind to others, you won’t have friends, but instead many enemies who may treat you in the same way. On the other hand, if you are generous to others when they are in need, you are likely to find that people are generous with you.
But it goes even deeper. I believe that God often intervenes to make this principle work on a more spiritual level. One case is Haman, who was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai.
This is God’s justice working itself out in nature and the world around us.
Application: Firstly, if you are facing trouble or problems, you should examine yourself and see if perhaps some of your own choices have led you there. It could be that you are experiencing this principle in action. Of course, there are many potential causes, but this is one potential one.
Knowing that we reap what we sow, how does this influence your decisions and how you live your life? How does this influence how you treat other people?
IV. Thank the Lord (17)
Many Psalms end with a declaration of thanks or praise and this one is no exception. It is a fitting conclusion. When all is said and done, thank God and praise His name. By all means we should take our needs to the Lord. When we need help, we should turn to Him as our refuge, our judge. But at the same time we should not take this help and protection for granted. Ending prayers with a statement of thanksgiving and praise is appropriate.
Application: Are you regularly expressing thanks and praise to God? In what ways do you show these attitudes to Him?
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