Intro: Psalm 35 asks for the Lord to be a warrior for his people. It ask for the Lord to be our rescuer, and ultimately it asks for the Lord to be our righteous Judge who punishes those who falsely accuse His saints. It asks the Lord’s protection over his people. Enjoy the read.
35:1 Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
2 Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
3 Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation!”
4 Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me!
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them!
7 For without cause they hid their net for me;
without cause they dug a pit for my life.
8 Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
let him fall into it—to his destruction!
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say,
“O Lord, who is like you,
delivering the poor
from him who is too strong for him,
the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
13 But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
14 I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.
15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
they gathered together against me;
wretches whom I did not know
tore at me without ceasing;
16 like profane mockers at a feast,
they gnash at me with their teeth.
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their destruction,
my precious life from the lions!
18 I will thank you in the great congregation;
in the mighty throng I will praise you.
19 Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.
20 For they do not speak peace,
but against those who are quiet in the land
they devise words of deceit.
21 They open wide their mouths against me;
they say, “Aha, Aha!
Our eyes have seen it!”
22 You have seen, O Lord; be not silent!
O Lord, be not far from me!
23 Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!
24 Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
25 Let them not say in their hearts,
“Aha, our heart’s desire!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
who magnify themselves against me!
27 Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.
Main Point: The meaning of this psalm is not subtle. The psalmist clearly ask for the Lord to be a warrior for his cause (1-6). In verses 7-21 David lodges his complaint with his attackers. In these verses he also pledges that he will praise the Lord upon his deliverance (9,10, 18). David then again calls the Lord to action. He asks for the Great King, the Lord, to arise from his throne and give him justice from his false accusers(22-26). David then closes by asking for the righteous in Israel to praise the Lord with him (27, 28).
The message is that the Lord is our deliverer and warrior. We can trust in him and know that He alone is our salvation.
Interesting Points: The imagery in this Psalm helps the imagination. In my mind, I see God like Maximus in The Gladiator. I imagine him to be like a soldier on the battlefield who moves quickly to fend of the enemy and has confidence in his stride. It is an image of strength. It is an image of one who knows his power, strength and ability to defeat the enemy.
I love how David asks for the Lord to speak to his soul in the opening lines. Our souls need to take comfort knowing that our salvation, both physical and spiritual are in the Lord’s hands not ours.
I think it is helpful too for us to sit and think of the significance of the Lord uttering those words to us. He is the salvation of those souls who come to Him in faith. The Word of the Lord is not like the words we utter. His words are not idle. When he speaks worlds are created and sinners are justified. In His words we can rest. When He speaks to our souls, it is absolute truth. His words are true and can never be false. If He has spoken it, it will be.
I think I have brought this up in other places, but I find it interesting that much of what has David up in arms is lying and false accusations. It should be a reminder for us that our truthfulness is important. David was a man after God’s own heart, and lying lips set him off more than many other things. Lying is one of the big ten so it shouldn’t be a big surprise for us. However, in our day we tend to over look someone who has a problem properly describing reality. The new testament gives us no quarter here either though when it comes to our tongues. Just look at James 3:1-12. We would do well to remember the importance of our speech.
As I have pointed out elsewhere, David again is unafraid in bringing reasons why the Lord should answer his prayer. David gives at least 2 reasons. 1) Because He is righteous and should defend David’s righteous cause and 2) because David will praise him and glorify him upon his deliverance. We should learn from David and not shy away from offering prayers in this way.
Emotional Reactions: The strength with which this psalm portrays the Lord gives me great comfort and peace. It helps me to realize that it is the Lord who fights my battles, and will ultimately vindicate me. This allows me to relax because I know He is here.The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Quotation information. Purchase an ESV.