1 O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
5 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. Selah
6 Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
over it return on high.
8 The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
Once again, the theme of righteous judgment between the psalmist and his enemies is provided in the Scriptures. Once again, the righteousness of God is put on display alongside His covenant faithfulness. This psalm is built on the foundation of God as refuge. But it is not purely the truth that God is a refuge but that David takes refuge in God. This also is an early theme of the psalms (Psa 2:12; 5:11). All deliverance stems from our relationship to God. Though Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world but not all will experience salvation.
Here however the psalmist is focused on the temporal destruction of his enemies. David’s enemies are capable of destroying him unless David is redeemed. But David does not want to be saved if he is guilty of crime (v. 3-5). The heart of a man who can accept judgment is a heart of repentance. Repentance requires an acceptance of judgment! And here the psalmist says the enemy can even overtake his “soul”. This is the very living that stems from the breath of God (Gen 2:7).
But David is not done in his lament. For despite his repentant heart and acceptance of judgment, he calls on the Lord to be shown as righteous in His judgment. His cry for the peoples to be gathered will be fulfilled ultimately before the throne of Christ (Matt 25:31-46). God will judge the world in full righteousness, including the repentant like David. In all things God test “minds and hearts” (v. 9) that the wicked may perish while the righteous are “established”. This is the paradigm of the wicked and righteous (Psa 1:6). This is the gospel that God makes men righteous in His righteousness (Rom 3:26).