“He’s the man! The Englishman!” It all happened very quickly and Ken found himself in a Pakistani jail falsely accused of being an accomplice to a man caught in the Karachi airport smuggling drugs. It seems that when the smuggler was caught the customs officials asked him who was his accomplice and he pointed to the most conspicuous person in the waiting crowd, the “Engrese”! (Urdu for English person). Ken, who had been there to pick up a fellow missionary who was due to arrive in Karachi from the north of Pakistan, found himself under a cloud of suspicion as a drug dealer.
False accusations, slander, lies! Not the sort of things any one of us wants to experience. And the problem is, even when proven innocent (which of course Ken was eventually), the pain of the experience lingers. And there are those who will always doubt the final decision, even if it is one of innocence and false accusation.
King David knew all about this and we hear his cries to God in Psalm 7 as follows (note the references to false accusations in bold font):
“ Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
3 Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
4 if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
6 Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
8 Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.
10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (NIV)
What does a person do if he/she finds themselves in a distressing situation like this? And there must have been numerous people over the ages who could have identified with David. Maybe you are one of them. So, the question is, what did David do?
Well, obviously the first thing he does here is to pray. He cries out to God concerning the situation. He tells God everything, holding nothing back. He turns to the only One whom he knows really understands what this is all about. Understands like no one else.
But, why should David consider it to be a priority to pray before, for example, he gets himself a lawyer and seeks witnesses, etc. (all useful at times)? Let him explain:
Because he knows God! Firstly, as his “refuge” (v 1). He says, “O Lord my God, I turn aside to hide my soul in you. I trust you to save me…” (TPT). He then calls him “my Shield” (v 10), or as the TPT says: “God, your wrap-around presence is my protection, and my defence. You bring victory to all who reach out to you” (v 10). David knows who to go to in order to be in safe hands! In other psalms, he calls God his “fortress” into which he runs for safety in an attack.
And what else is it about God’s character that is so very relevant to him and gives him confidence? David knows that He alone is “righteous”. He says:
“For you are the righteous God, the Soul-Searcher, who looks deep into every heart to examine the thoughts and motives…Righteousness is revealed every time you judge, Because of the strength of your forgiveness, your anger does not break out every day, even though you are a righteous judge” (v 9b, 11 TPT) David knows that the judgement delivered by God will always be right! And so he is able to conclude, “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (v 17 NIV)
Whatever our situation, whether it involves false accusations or any other evil thing, our first priority is always to pray. But in praying, recognize who we are praying to. Who our God is. What the defining characteristics of this God are that we are praying to, and why we can therefore be confident and trust him to “make everything right in the end” (v 17 TPT).
Tremper Longman concludes:
“With Jesus’ advent…[this prayer psalm take on a new significance]…The Christian too is engaged in a battle, but against ‘the rulers…authorities…the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm’ (Eph. 6:12). The Christian now prays Psalm 7 with this battle in mind, knowing that Jesus contends on their behalf” and will ultimately “return as a Warrior [note the language of Psalm 7:11-13] to render final judgement against all human and spiritual enemies (Rev. 19:11-21). “ (see references # 30)
Father, thank you that you are our “refuge”, our “shield”, and you are the only true “righteous judge”. In you we trust. Enable us, whatever the circumstances, to remember to always run to you, “my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge…” (Psalm 144:2). Amen.