February 03 2023
Today, Friday February 03
“Plead My Cause, O LORD”
Psalm 35:1-10 A Psalm of David
“Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, "I am your salvation." Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor Who seek after my life; Let those be turned back and brought to confusion Who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind, And let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, And let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, Which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, And let his net that he has hidden catch himself; Into that very destruction let him fall.
And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, "LORD, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?"
We know by the title that Psalm 35 was written by David. Remember he wrote at least 75 of the 150 Psalms. Many of his Psalms give us an indication of the circumstances behind them in their titles. This one doesn’t but most commentators believe that this is another one written during the time that David was fleeing from Saul. It is possible that the occasion can be found in 1 Samuel 22-23.
King Saul nurtured a deadly jealousy against David. If you think about it, in some ways it was natural enough for Saul. He was a giant of a fellow and a grown man whereas David was a youth, hardly more than a boy. Yet David had been willing to go down and fight Goliath, the giant of Gath. That must have been humiliating enough for Saul but, when the jubilant songs of the Hebrew women extolled David above Saul, the king's envy knew no bounds.
But there was more to it than that. Jonathan, the son of Saul, went out one day to where David was hiding in the hills and "strengthened his hand in God" (1 Samuel 23:16). It was only a brief visit, but it was long enough for Jonathan to fill in some of the missing pieces for David. Not only did Saul resent David but David had powerful enemies at court. There was Doeg the Edomite, for instance, and others.
We can picture the two young men sitting there together, the courtly Jonathan and the outlaw David. "David," says Jonathan, "you have other enemies." He names people that David had always counted as his friends. David had such a guileless, generous nature he could hardly believe such treachery. People he had thought were his friends, people he had helped, loved, and trusted were actually poisoning the mind of Saul with malicious lies about him.
This seems to be the background for this Psalm. This is classified as an imprecatory psalm. Imprecatory Psalms are those in which the author imprecates; that is, he calls down calamity, destruction, and God’s anger and judgment on his enemies. This type of psalm is found throughout the book. The major imprecatory psalms are Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, and 140. When studying the imprecatory psalms, it is important to note that these psalms were not written out of vindictiveness or a need for personal vengeance. Instead, they are prayers that keep God’s justice, sovereignty, and protection in mind. In writing the imprecatory psalms, the authors sought vindication on God’s behalf as much as they sought their own.
We need to remember that Jesus warned His disciples that in this world they would have tribulation (John 16:33). Jesus told them that “the world would hate them just like it hated Him” (John 15:18-19). He also said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you….” (Luke 6:26). Paul told Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). My friend, I believe that the time is already here in America where true believers are being mocked, ridiculed and even attacked, and sometimes unjustly prosecuted simply because they speak what is truth from the Bible.
Our real enemy though, is not the ungodly world, but Paul and Peter both reminds that it is spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places and our real adversary is the devil, who like a lion wants to destroy us (Ephesians 6:10-12; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
Like David, we better learn to pray and cry out to the LORD for His protection and His vindication!