Psalms 35

Psalm 35

Great Is the Lord

Of David.

35   Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me!
  Take hold of shield and buckler
    and rise for my help!
  Draw the spear and javelin
    against my pursuers!
  Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation!”
  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!
  Let them be like chaff before the wind,
    with the angel of the LORD driving them away!
  Let their way be dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!
  For without cause they hid their net for me;
    without cause they dug a pit for my life.
  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!
  Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD,
    exulting in his salvation.
  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?”
  Malicious witnesses rise up;
    they ask me of things that I do not know.
  They repay me evil for good;
    my soul is bereft.
  But I, when they were sick—
    I wore sackcloth;
    I afflicted myself with fasting;
  I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
    I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
  as one who laments his mother,
    I bowed down in mourning.
  But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
    they gathered together against me;
  wretches whom I did not know
    tore at me without ceasing;
  like profane mockers at a feast,
    they gnash at me with their teeth.
  How long, O Lord, will you look on?
    Rescue me from their destruction,
    my precious life from the lions!
  I will thank you in the great congregation;
    in the mighty throng I will praise you.
  Let not those rejoice over me
    who are wrongfully my foes,
  and let not those wink the eye
    who hate me without cause.
  For they do not speak peace,
    but against those who are quiet in the land
    they devise words of deceit.
  They open wide their mouths against me;
    they say, “Aha, Aha!
    Our eyes have seen it!”
  You have seen, O LORD; be not silent!
    O Lord, be not far from me!
  Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
    for my cause, my God and my Lord!
  Vindicate me, O LORD, my God,
    according to your righteousness,
    and let them not rejoice over me!
  Let them not say in their hearts,
    “Aha, our heart’s desire!”
  Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
  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!
  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!”
  Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
    and of your praise all the day long.

(ESV)


Psalm 35 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Years ago, while working for Youth for Christ, my wife and I become close friends with a young teenage girl. She was a paradox of sorts because her appearance was “tough as nails” but her heart was soft and gentle. She often talked about the dark aspects of her life. She would battle hearing and seeing what she described as scary figures. She claimed that she could see mythological creatures in the school and in her room at night. Though this girl was raised in a “spiritual” home, there was no foundation of Jesus.

At the time, it was hard to determine what exactly was causing this. I’m not one who’s quick to over-spiritualize everything as demonic as I believe this diminishes the value of certain realities and leads to misinterpretations of God’s Word. Sometimes “seeing or hearing things” is a result of the reality that our bodies are not perfect and are prone to all kinds of mental and hormonal imbalances. However, as I prayed over the situation and explored more of the details, I felt convinced that this was, indeed, a spiritual issue. This became more apparent with the timing of events that took place.

In the fall, she decided to go on our annual Go MAD trip. This was an event where directors would take a group of teenagers to downtown Fort Wayne and stay at a hotel for several nights. Each day was filled with activities that culminated with a guest speaker laying out the Gospel over several nights.

I will never forget the first night there. This girl we had brought along was continuing to battle seeing a demonic figure that tormented her day and night. According to her, his appearance was beautiful but the things he spoke of were pure evil. To say that she looked awful that first night was an understatement. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept through the night without suffering some kind of torment. A few other students and I prayed for her that evening. I prayed Jesus would come with absolute authority and reveal Himself in a way she had never before seen. I prayed for relief. I prayed that He would protect her heart and her mind. I prayed she would see truth.

The next morning, as I stood outside waiting for the students to gather, I saw her sprinting toward me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She looked like a completely different person! Her face lit up like the sun. She looked healthy as she grinned from ear to ear. I had never seen her like this before. As she came up to me she said, “I slept the whole night last night! I’ve never felt like this before!” Jesus had answered my prayer. He had protected her through the night. He had given relief.

Though Psalm 35 was written before Jesus’ time on Earth, it speaks to His absolute authority.

“Oppose those who oppose me, LORD, and fight those who fight against me! 2 Take your shield and armor and come to my rescue. 3 Lift up your spear and war ax against those who pursue me. Promise that you will save me.”

Psalms 35:1-3 GNB

Jesus is our Advocate and Champion. When He speaks, the evil powers of darkness are silenced. The forces of nature stand still. Kings and rulers shudder in fear. The temptation that we have as God’s children is to order Jesus around and use that authority to bring comfort to our lives. While there’s some truth to that, we must remember that Jesus is not a genie that waits on our every command. He is, however, a loving Savior who puts us in situations where we cooperate with His authority to proclaim truth over the schemes of the enemy. The closer we are to Him, the more clearly we will see those circumstances and the more boldly we will be able to rattle the forces that seek to deceive humanity.

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