[Today:] Psalm Thirty-Five: When God Fights for You. In this psalm David is fleeing from king Saul and cries out for deliverance. He asks God to act in his defense and refuses to take matters into his own hands. There will be times in your life when you will face brutal and unkind treatment at the hands of others. You will be lied on and misrepresented. You will be tempted to defend yourself and retaliate against your detractors. This psalm is an example in the life of David of how to traverse the treacherous landscape of personal strife and warfare that we all experience from time to time. Following David’s example we will be delivered from all the expectations of our critics.
[Psa 35:1-28 KJV] 1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Plead [my cause], O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. 2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. 3 Draw out also the spear, and stop [the way] against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I [am] thy salvation. 4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase [them]. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. 7 For without cause have they hid for me their net [in] a pit, [which] without cause they have digged for my soul.
This psalm seems to have been written by David when he was fleeing from Saul. There were many false accusations against David at this time and it was very uncertain who he could trust or where he could go for refuge. There are several references in this psalm that are messianic in nature. The Arabic version of the scriptures call this psalm a prophecy of the incarnation. There are 28 messianic psalms in the book of psalms that refer prophetically to the life of Jesus. These references are strikingly parallel at times between David and Jesus. From them we know that Jesus quotes directly from David’s life making statements applicable to Himself and also that David’s life at times seem uniquely orchestrated by God to mirror the life of Jesus as Messiah which was for to come.
In verse 1 David cries out for God to plead his case with Saul and to convince Saul apparently to cease from pursuing after him. There were several times that David could have dispatched Saul’s life but he refused and declined to touch the Lord’s anointed king. He asks God to change Saul’s heart toward him. Many times you will come under assault from others and we often wonder to what degree God will act upon the will of man to change their hearts toward us. Free will is an important doctrine in the scripture. God will not lobotomize a person to bend them to His will. At the same time there are many references referring to the influence of God over the decisions of men. God will always work to bring man into compliance with His divine will – at times going to lengths that strain our Evangelical understanding of the freely disposed will of man.
In verses 2-8 David asks that his enemies be destroyed and turned back by the angel of the Lord. Eph. 6:12 states that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but David clearly asks God to come to his defense in opposition to his enemies. Is this a contradiction in the scripture? We can refer to the book of Isaiah perhaps to shed light on this issue:
[Isa 54:17 KJV] 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.
If we do not wrestle against flesh and blood and are as Jesus exhorted to resist not evil (Matt. 5:39), then how do we reconcile this with Isa. 54:17? We are not to enter into fleshly striving. Man is not our enemy. Proverbs 13:10 says that contention only comes by pride and therefore we should be very conservative regarding our actions and attitudes when others come against us. However remember this – people are not just flesh and blood. People have human spirits. A spirit – even a human spirit can work against you and oppress you just like a demon. Therefore you are to refrain from social manipulation, backbiting, gossip mongering, etc., but rather in your prayer closet you repudiate the words of men and the thoughts of men toward you that are contrary to what God says about you. You ask the Father to occupy your enemies elsewhere without speaking curses upon them from an impure heart. As Lot did with Abraham – you are free to bless your enemy away from you and then leave it in God’s hands to change the situation and move them out of your life.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. 9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. 10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who [is] like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? 11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge [things] that I knew not. 12 They rewarded me evil for good [to] the spoiling of my soul. 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though [he had been] my friend [or] brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth [for his] mother. 15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: [yea], the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew [it] not; they did tear [me], and ceased not: 16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. 17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. 18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
When your enemies come against you and resist you – their plans and strategies become a measurement of what is about to happen to them. The important thing is for you not to respond in kind. When you respond in kind toward your detractors then God takes His hand off of both parties and the first one who decides to humble himself wins. When David was out of his depth he didn’t resort to desperate measures. He looked to God to act because he knew his own capacity for error. As in David’s case you may experience false witnesses misrepresenting your heart. They may reward you evil for good and commit many offenses against you. You have to decide where you are going to expend your personal energies. You are where your attention takes you. If you are preoccupied with your detractors then their thoughts toward you will become a towering stronghold that will derail your destiny. Rather to keep your thoughts upon the faithfulness of God and trust in the outcome that He has in mind for you. Forgive, release and bless. Keep walking in love and obeying God in all things.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: [neither] let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. 20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against [them that are] quiet in the land. 21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, [and] said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen [it]. 22 [This] thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. 23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, [even] unto my cause, my God and my Lord. 24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. 25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up. 26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify [themselves] against me. 27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. 28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness [and] of thy praise all the day long.
When others are lying in wait to find something against you – put your trust in the Lord. Let God be your defense. Know that God is near to you even in the hottest circumstance. Refuse to take matters into your own hands. David asks God to awake to righteous judgment in his situation. For us we are asking God to deal with us according to the merits of Christ and not our own sense of justice or right standing in a given circumstance. The fact of the matter is that on our best days we are deserving of punishment, therefore we must bow to the holiness of God and trust in His mercy. If you defend yourself or try to fight your own battle you will find yourself powerless and exhausted. Better to refrain from taking matters into your own hands. Keep your mouth shut. Make your case to God alone. Know that He is working in the midst of the situation and will bring about your deliverance and that right speedily.
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