Reflections of the Psalms – Psalm 35

Posted on: November 9th, 2014

If any psalm could be called relevant today in our troubled and hectic times, it would be Psalm 35. Every Christian has echoed the theme of David’s psalm many times in the past, and will echo it many more times in the future. The reason that this is true is because David’s purpose for writing the psalm can be described in just one word – “HELP!” In the first verse David wrote, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” David was in trouble and he knew it. Therefore, he turned to the only sure source of aid that he had – the Lord.

The reason why David’s cry for help can be seen so clearly today is that the attacks leveled against David were not physical in nature. Often people picture David facing Goliath or leading his army in battle. Many times David did face physical danger. But in Psalm 35, David was facing devious and equally deadly slander and character assassination.

David was the source of many “political” attacks. In several verses David wrote, “Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn…..But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing”. Yes, David was facing the attacks of his enemies and he felt himself falling back. He needed strength to stand before them, and that strength was the Lord.

The court of David was no different than any seat of power. There were men that were jealous of David. There was ambition, intrigue, plots, different groups with differing positions (today they would be called political parties), and even hatred. David was loved by God, and he had been chosen by the Lord, but when David’s son Absalom revolted, many in David’s court jumped at the chance to support him in his revolt.

Today, meanness and slander can be seen all around. Too often it seems like people are just waiting to find something wrong. “He’s a real back-stabber” is a common phrase in the working world of today. On news programs, people of differing opinions don’t carry on a conversation, they try to out shout one another. Words are twisted or deliberately misunderstood. The new source of such attacks is the “social media”. Cyber Bullying is just one more avenue that people can use to attack another person. Many Christians often want to pull away from the world, because verbal abuse and attacks do happen, and too often they are directed at Christians!.

How is a Christian to react when a situation arises such as that faced by David? Granted, Jesus said “Love your enemies”, and we may want to do that, but it is hard to remember that when we feel like we are battling for our lives, our beliefs, and our reputations! Sometimes, the work place, the classroom, the home can become almost unbearable because of the hostility that has to be faced. This is when, like David, we need to cry out to our Lord and Father and say “HELP!!”

Situations may come up where there seems to be no solution. We struggle, think, and plan to find a way out; but nothing seems to work. Possibly we go to others seeking advice that doesn’t seem to work. Finally, as a “last resort” we turn to prayer. After the prayer is over, we “hope” it will work.

But David did not waste time trying to deal with problems on his own. Instead, he turned to His Lord and God, and laid the problems he faced before Him. He knew his Lord would help him. In verses 2 and 3, David wrote, “Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation’.”

Today, Christians despair because they truly don’t seem to believe that God will find a way. Sometimes the solution is something we never thought of, and sometimes the solution is something that we thought was impossible. The Christians of the early church probably never thought that the Lord would end the first persecution by converting its leader! Yet the church’s mortal enemy – Saul of Tarsus, became the greatest voice of the Gospel in the Gentile world!

Notice that David gave no Indication that the Lord had come up with an immediate solution to his problem. David knew that the Lord had heard, and he knew that he would find a way. Many sleepless nights and upset stomachs could be avoided today if Christians would only follow the example of David! Remember all things are possible with God.

Next time trouble looms on the horizon and you wonder what to do, remember Psalm 35. Pray to the Lord and TRUST in His goodwill. David had great faith without the clear knowledge of the Gospel. In fact, his last verse states, “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long”. How much more should our faith in our Heavenly Father sustain us?

Jim Shelburn