“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays His wrath every day.”
Psalms 7:10-11 NIVUK
“I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”
Psalms 7:17 NLT
We so often think of God as our loving Heavenly Father. As our Creator God, the Lord Almighty, who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us at Calvary. But we sometimes forget that God is also a righteous Judge, who cannot turn His back on sin and sinful people. Sooner or later there will have to be a time of judgement. The Psalmist sees God at work in the courts of Heaven deliberating on the affairs of man on a daily basis, dispensing judgements as He thinks fit. It could be argued that perhaps the Psalmist was making a connection between local catastrophes, illnesses and accidents, and what he assumed was the judgement of God. But that would describe a capricious God that we know is not true because he is a righteous judge. So we never have to fear an outcome that is unjust in His displays of wrath.
God has our best interests at heart. In the first part of this verse the Psalmist sees God as His protector, saving him and everyone else who is righteous, saving those who are “upright in heart”. What a lovely phrase! So many situations in which we find ourselves boil down to the conditions of our hearts, and particular what we call the “issues of heart”. The “heart” is where our control room, our CPU, is located. It’s where our thoughts and emotions are processed to produce actions and attitudes. It’s where our lives, our characters, our personalities are shaped. It’s where the things that we allow into our hearts through our senses will be processed to produce responses that can be good or bad.
Back in my early IT days, a common phrase often quoted when computers behaved in unpredictable ways, was “garbage in, garbage out”. It also applies to our minds. If we constantly fill our minds with garbage then that is what will come out. In our minds our thoughts, if we let them, can get out of control and produce an emotional or mental meltdown that will not end well. We need to allow God to shine a light into the deepest corners of our hearts and help us throw out the festering junk that lurks there. Some of it has been there for so long that it has even shaped our hearts into entities that God never intended. But for hearts that are misshapen, deformed and malfunctioning, or just needing a spring clean, we can call upon our Heavenly “Heart Surgeon” who can put things right. No heart condition is too difficult for Doctor Jesus to heal.
God knew about our propensity to allow garbage into our hearts, which is why we can find verses such as Proverbs 4:34, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Note that God won’t guard our hearts. It’s a personal thing. About personal responsibilities. He will help of course, but the choices we make will prevail in the end. We have to be sensitive to the good and bad in our information overloaded society, filtering out all those things that will cause damage to our hearts. Not forgetting that sin constantly lurks at the doors to our hearts, waiting for an opportunity to gain entry and create a foothold.
So we need to pray that we will always be “upright of heart” asking God to help us process all the information that bombards us daily. Asking God to forgive us when we err, and cleanse us from our sins. And by doing so we will be, as the Psalmist said, “saved”. In a safe place. Secure in the knowledge that God is protecting us. How amazing He is! He is so aware of our humanity that He sent Jesus to die for us and take on board our sins at Calvary, so that we can be “upright of heart”, righteous before God. And just to make sure, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our constant Helper and Counsellor, always there for us 24/7. Too good to be true? It’s too good not to be true!
The Psalmist ends the Psalm thanking God. It was important to him that God is just and he finishes in an attitude of praise. Perhaps that is an indication for how we should end our prayers. Always in a place that acknowledges our amazing Heavenly Father, lost in praise and wonder, overwhelmed with a grateful heart.