Seventeen-year-old Shareef Cousin found himself the youngest person in the United States on death row. Shareef had been convicted of murder even though he had what seemed like an airtight alibi. Afterward it was determined that the detective on the case lied to obtain an arrest warrant. The only actual eyewitness to the crime had mistakenly identified Shareef as guilty. Shareef served four years in prison before the verdict was overturned, and he was set free.
In this psalm, David laments that a certain Cush had falsely accused him of crimes. We do not know any specifics about this situation from the Bible, but based on this psalm it is clear that David was being accused of betraying a friend and of robbery (v. 4). This puts David in a precarious position. He describes his accuser as a lion who wanted to “rip me to pieces” (v. 2). In this stressful situation, David pleads for God’s help.
David appealed to God’s justice. He knew that God is perfectly righteous and that no secret was hidden from Him. God is able to probe the “minds and hearts” of any person (v. 9). David asked God to be true to His character and vindicate him from the injustice and rage of his enemies (v. 6). David put his hope in God as his “shield” and protector (v. 10).
David also expressed his trust in the moral structure of the world God created. He proclaimed, “Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made” (vv. 14–15). David knew that, in general, we reap what we sow. Because of this, he gives thanks to the Lord and says he will “sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High” (v. 17), even while facing injustice.
It may seem like the wicked get away with their crimes. However, as David proclaimed, we know our God is just. One day every person will face the final judgment before God. This is cause for us to thank the Lord for the salvation he has achieved for us in Christ. It also assures us that God cares about justice and will act to right all wrongs.