Like the vast majority of Scripture, you will need help to misunderstand Paul’s simple declaration: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2nd Timothy 3:12). Jesus Himself said “when”, not “if” when He stated, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:11).
What, then, is the godly to do when their own “Cush the Benjamite” (see the superscription of Psalm 7) reviles, persecutes, and says all kinds of evil against them falsely? Psalm 7 records David’s meditation and prayer while in the painful fires of persecution.
First, David declares His unwavering faith in Jehovah and His confident trust in God’s deliverance. In verse one, he states: “O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me and deliver me.”
Next, David confesses his fear. In verse 2, one reads of his fear: “lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” Courage is not the absence of fear. It is confident faith that is greater than one’s fear. Little faith is overwhelmed by fear (Matthew 8:26); great faith is victorious over fear (1st John 5:4).
Then, David entrusts himself to God’s righteous judgment (vv. 3-8). He lays everything on the line. If he is guilty of evil doing, he petitions God for justice (i.e. divine punishment) upon him via his persecutors (vv. 3-5); if he is innocent, he asks for divine protection from his enemies (vv. 6-8). In other words, if Cush’s accusations of iniquity (v. 3) and evil treatment of others (v. 4) are true, then David’s request is: “let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honor in the dust” (v. 5). If, however, these accusations are false, then David’s petition is: “Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded” (v. 6). David’s ultimate petition is: “judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me” (v. 8).
What faith in God’s righteousness and His ability to deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment (2nd Peter 2:9)!