The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language, and the two words translated “justice” and “righteousness” often appear together. We often associate them with punishment for wrongdoing, but this doesn’t capture the entirety of these biblical words. Righteousness and justice are also about “being right, doing right, and putting things right” relationally, socially, and politically. According to one Bible scholar, righteousness is about “God re–establishing right order in the fallen world.” These words occur in today’s passage as we continue contemplating God’s character.
As seen before, God is our refuge, shield, savior, and deliverer (vv. 1, 10). The middle of Psalm 7 is saturated with words like “justice,” “judge,” “righteousness,” and “righteous” (vv. 6–11), revealing more dimensions of who God is. He is both ruler and righteous judge; He decrees justice and expresses His wrath daily. Psalm 7 teaches that the LORD judges all people righteously according to the integrity of their minds, hearts, and actions (vv. 3–5, 8–10). The outcome includes eliminating the violence of the wicked and establishing the righteous (v. 9).
Psalm 7 emphasizes God’s righteousness as the measure of evaluating our own righteousness (vv. 8, 9). God’s people are to live in a way that exemplifies the justice and righteousness of God in their relationships with other people. For example, in verse 5, the psalmist says if I have treated another person unjustly, then let the victim be vindicated. Yet, the psalmist argues that he has acted with righteousness (v. 8). He beseeches God to confirm that he has imitated God’s righteousness in his own relationships.
The fulcrum of Psalm 7 is the declaration of God as righteous judge (v. 11). The beginning of Psalm 7 affirms that precisely because God is not capricious or unjust, He is able to be a trusted shelter and redeemer (v. 1). The psalm ends with thanksgiving and praise in response to His righteous judgment.