Have you cried out while singing?
Many times, people sing with joy. Songs are for festivals and parties. However, there are songs for sad occasions: Songs to express our sorrows or desperation likes blues or jazz.
In the psalms there are also sad songs. Psalm 7 has also the title, “A Shiggaion of David,” in other words, a sad song expressed in David’s suffering. The musical instrument for Shiggaion is also a dithyrambic one like cello.
Just imagine: At night, David sits still alone and sing a low key sad song! He could not find any friend. He is a king and there was nobody around to be a friend. He had gone through many troubles in life but it seemed that the life trouble had never ending. In times like this, David had only God by him. As usual, he took out his harp and started a sad song:
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me, or like a lion they will tear me apart; they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.
However, there is one difference between secular sad songs and David’s psalm. David has God who listens to his song. His song is his prayer. He had faith in God’s fairness. David asks God to examine his life:
O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my ally with harm or plundered my foe without cause, then let the enemy pursue and overtake me, trample my life to the ground, and lay my soul in the dust.
David had confidence in God’s fairness. He had also conviction that he had had an honest life. He made many mistakes for sure but not any horrible one that deserved such horrible suffering. Every pain should be balanced with fair punishment. He prayed continuously.
Rise up, O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
Awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you, and over it take your seat on high. The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.
David did not want a windfall of blessing. He just wanted fair trial. He knew that fair trial would lead to a just outcome. David did not want God to be his side but him to be on God’s side. Let justice prevail:
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God.
Once we are on God’s side, we can be sure that God is also on our side:
God is my shield, who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
God’s judgment is not an air bullet. It has real impact. It will bring about the consequence that every deed deserves. It will reveal all the hidden secrets.
If one does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil, and are pregnant with mischief, and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out, and fall into the hole that they have made. Their mischief returns upon their own heads, and on their own heads their violence descends.
That is the reason why David ends his sad song with praise. We cannot just stay in sadness. As long as a fair judge is alive, we can have confidence that our life is worth living and worth trying. Shall we join to David’s praise?
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.