Psalm 35 — God’s Good Justice — Reading the Psalms


A Psalm of David

1 Strive thou, O LORD, with them that strive with me:
Fight thou 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 pursue me:
Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be ashamed and brought to dishonour that seek after my soul:
Let them be turned back and confounded that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind,
And the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
And the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit,
Without cause have they digged a pit for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares;
And let his net that he hath hid catch himself:
With destruction let him fall therein.
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 Unrighteous witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I know not.
12 They reward me evil for good,
To the bereaving of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth:
I afflicted my soul with fasting;
And my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though it had been my friend or my brother:
I bowed down mourning, as one that bewaileth his mother.
15 But when I halted they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together:
The abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not;
They did tear me, and ceased not:
16 Like the profane 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.
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 words against them that are quiet in the land.
21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me;
They said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
22 Thou hast seen it, O LORD; keep not silence:
O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgement,
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 heart, Aha, so would we have it:
Let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and confounded 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, The LORD be magnified,
Which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall talk of thy righteousness,
And of thy praise all the day long.

In this psalm of indignation we find a voice for our feelings in the troubles and trials we face under troublesome people. What we suffer in life may occur by pure accident, the results of our own folly, or the consequences of another’s sin. We feel intimately connected to God during times & consequences of our own sin, but when we suffer unjustly for the sin of others, we need a good father indeed.

We are happy for our forgiveness and mercy we receive from God – we know we need it for our own sins. But to be pushed around by those with no regard for righteousness and goodness is a severe struggle. When others seek to bring us down, to harm our helps, to discourage our diligence, what do we have to hold us up? If not for God, how could we withstand their selfish pride?

It is thus that we go to God for judgment and help. We call on him to judge and condemn. We have little power in this life to accomplish such ends ourselves. Even if we had the power to do so, we dare not trust our own hearts which are so quick to revenge and zealous indignation. It is in prayers with a psalm like this that we may get the help and support we need. If God takes control of judgment we are freed to walk in liberty.

Oh God, let those who rejoice in our hurt be brought to dishonor. And let them shout for joy who favor your righteous cause.


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