1. God’s people will always have enemies—and He is our refuge (1-2).
David had enemies, in this case one from the tribe of Benjamin from where King Saul hailed. When David was anointed King, Saul’s tribe gave him trouble—as Saul did. Since David was a man after God’s own heart, and God anointed him King over His people, he could run to God for refuge.
2. God’s people will always have sinful issues—and we must repent (3-5).
We must always scrutinize the motives of our hearts. We may feel we are innocent, but our blind spots may hide our false motives and assurance. If we believe God will be just against the sins of others, then He will be against us as well.
3. God’s way is a way of justice—and on Him we must rely (6-11).
David brings up a gospel point: “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness” (v. 8). While he acknowledges the need for God’s mercy and grace later, if David had stayed here, he would have been damned in his sin. He knows God “test[s] the minds and heart” (v. 9). May we ask for this as well.
4. God is a God of judgment—and we must be ready (12-16).
In order for faith to be of God, we must repent of the sin that offends His holy righteousness. Without repentance, there is no true faith. For those who do not repent, God stands ready with the sword, the bow, the weapons. Such is the wickedness of sin, the holiness of God—and the need for His grace and mercy in which we must stand.
5. God is a God of mercy—and we trust in His righteousness (17-18).
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Christ takes our sin and gives us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We must not think that God is righteous when he sees ours over and against our enemies. We must realize that we are all “dead to sin” and enemies of God ourselves as well—and we need Christ’s righteousness put to our account. This is the reason we praise Him for His salvation and work of grace in us.
Beware of so magnifying God’s love (usually a sentimental love that we project upon him), that we neglect that He is a holy God who hates sin (especially in His people) and execute discipline in His people so they will repent, and execute justice against those who mock His name. He has a love for all creation, but a special love for His bride, His elect. He is working now to present His bride spotless (Ephesians 5:25-33). Praise Him for His work in you, dear believer, in removing sin from you and sanctifying you by His grace.
Mature in Christ
Those who are immature in the faith often look at other people’s sins before they see their own. David, at first, appeals to his own integrity versus the lack of integrity of his accusers. By the end of the Psalm, he recognizes his only hope is in Christ’s righteousness. While God calls us to identify sin when we see it, ask Him to test your heart and mind as the righteous judge to bring your sin to light. Then confess it, repent of it, and find restoration and sweet fellowship with your Savior.
Minister in the Name of Christ
When we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ, do we present the full picture of God’s character? Yes, He is love, but He is also holy—one who will not be mocked. We will reap what we sow in this regards (Galatians 6:6-8). As you encourage and come alongside your brother or sister in Christ, give the full holiness picture of God (loving+just+righteous). We must work to make Christ formed in us—and as such, sin must not be a welcomed occupant.
Mobilize for the Cause of Christ
Most hold to the fact that God is loving, therefore will not hold us accountable. As you witness to others, show them that God is love, and that He loves us not to let our sin run rampant. We will be held accountable for our sins against the Maker and Creator of all things. We were made for Him—let’s call for others to repent of desecrating what He has made and trust in Christ who makes us new!