Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Scripture reading – Psalms 33-35
Psalm 35:1-9 is an inspiring psalm of praise for any believer who has ever been the object of unwarranted verbal threats and personal attacks. This psalm is an encouraging reminder that the LORD hears our cry, comes to our defense, and avenges His sons and daughters with the fury of a father coming to save a child from a predator.
We note in Psalm 35:1 David’s cry for the LORD to come to his defense against an enemy determined to destroy him.
Psalm 35:1 – “Plead [Strive; contend; Argue in a legal sense] my cause, O LORD, with them that strive [contend; are contentious; an opponent or adversary] with me: fight [make war; i.e. go to battle] against them that fight [make war; i.e. go to battle] against me.
We find two battle arenas in verse 1, the first a courtroom where an enemy has assailed him moving David to pray for the LORD to “plead” on his behalf “with them that strive” (35:1a). David’s prayer is for the LORD to be his Advocate and defend him against those who attack his character and slandered his name. The second arena is a battlefield: “fight against them that fight with me” (35:1b). Facing a formidable enemy, David prays, Lord, go to battle with me; fight against those who are my enemies.
Psalm 35:2-3 – “Take hold [fasten upon; seize] of shield [small shield] and buckler [large shield], and stand up [rise; endure] for mine help [aid; support; assistance]. 3 Draw out [pour out; make empty] also the spear [lance; javelin], and stop [shut; deliver; close] the way against [meet; oppose] them that persecute [pursue; chase; i.e. follow with hostile intent] me: say [command; speak] unto my soul [life; person; heart], I am thy salvation [help; deliverance; prosperity].”
Two strategies for the battlefield are found in these verses, the first defensive. David prays for the LORD to come to his defense with two shields, the first a small “shield” used in hand to hand combat; the second a “buckler”, a large shield that protects the body, often in the shape of a door and capable of interlocking with the same shield of fellow soldiers and forming a wall of defense.
The second plan is offensive (35:2b-3). David not only prayed for the LORD to defend him and be his shield, but also to deliver him from his enemy with sword (“stand up for mine help” means literally to draw the sword out of its sheath) and spear (35:2b-3a). David also prayed for the LORD to drive out his enemy (35:3b).
Psalm 35:4-6 – “Let them be confounded [ashamed; confused; disappointed] and put to shame that seek [enquire; strive after] after my soul: let them be turned [turned away; go back] back and brought to confusion [shame; confounded] that devise [purpose; plot; plan] my hurt [evil; wickedness; injury]. 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel [messenger] of the LORD chase [overthrow; drive out] them. 6 Let their way [journey; path] be dark [misery; slippery] and slippery [treacherous]: and let the angel of the LORD persecute [pursue; put to flight] them.
David prays specifically for the LORD to overcome his enemy by confusing, shaming, chasing, overthrowing and driving him down a dark and treacherous path.
Psalm 35:7 – “For without cause [devoid of reason; in vain; i.e. without provocation] have they hid [lay in secret; concealed] for me their net [used in catching animals] in a pit [trap; hole], which without cause [devoid of reason; in vain; i.e. without provocation] they have digged for my soul [life; person].”
Having examined his heart for sin that would warrant the chastening of the LORD, David pleads his innocence (“without cause”) and reveals the wicked nature of his enemy; an enemy who, without provocation, plotted to provoke him to disgrace his name and lure him into a trap like a beast lured into a hunter’s net. Failing to covertly entrap him, the enemy brazenly and figuratively dug a pit hoping David would fall out of favor with the people.
Psalm 35:8 – “Let destruction [desolation; ruin] come upon him at unaware; and let his net that he hath hid [concealed] catch [take; capture; seize] himself: into that very destruction [desolation; ruin] let him fall [fail; cast down].”
David has prayed for the LORD to defend, deliver and drive away his enemy and, having declared his innocence, prays for God to avenge him against his enemy. Here we see a spiritual reality: The plots and plans of an enemy against God’s servant is often the very destiny of those who oppose the LORD and His people.
Psalm 35:9 – “And my soul [life; person] shall be joyful [rejoice; be glad] in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation [deliverance; aid; help].”
With faith in the LORD and a steadfast heart, David declares his plan to celebrate his victory over the enemy before the battle has been won!
What a great challenge for believers facing trials, disappointments and critics. Rather than groveling in despondency and depression, cry out to the LORD when assailed by an enemy, knowing God hears and answers prayers, and “be joyful in the LORD”!
Psalm 104:35 – “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith