Psalm 35

 

Dispute, contention, unfair treatment, hostility, and fighting seem to be the norm in this world. Haven’t we all felt as if we needed some help? Haven’t we all wished that somehow we could get even? Haven’t we all wished our troubles would simply vanish? That our enemies would experience what it was they had intended for us.

 

You knew you had done no wrong but you still were disliked, despised, and even hated. Yet you were without the means to strike back. You longed to glory in the misfortune of your enemy because misfortune would have represented justice. False, malicious, and ruthless witnesses joined against you so you were without a defender. You felt as if the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished” was actually true. Those you befriended turn against you.

 

This not simply a personal problem, it is communal, national, religious, and denominational. Perhaps it is the accumulation of many small wrongs. “Death by a thousand cuts,” as it is sometimes called. We call out and hear no answer. We look and cannot see a way out. We appeal to God and wonder why He isn’t there in our hour of need. We ask, “Why me?” We suffer the mocking of evil people. We make promises in hope of persuading God.

 

But it is the promise of God that is important. He will not forsake us nor allow us to be burdened beyond our limits. When the race is finished and the day of glory comes we will see our reward. With God we will rejoice with our true friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord. We will be vindicated in the end. We will rule and reign with our Savior. Our hope is not in this world but in the world to come. Let me read the 35th Psalm.

*   (Psa 35 NIV)  Of David. Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. {2} Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. {3} Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, "I am your salvation." {4} May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. {5} May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away; {6} may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them. {7} Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, {8} may ruin overtake them by surprise-- may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. {9} Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation. {10} My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them." {11} Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. {12} They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. {13} Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, {14} I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. {15} But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing. {16} Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked ; they gnashed their teeth at me. {17} O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. {18} I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you. {19} Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. {20} They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. {21} They gape at me and say, "Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it." {22} O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. {23} Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. {24} Vindicate me in your righteousness, O LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. {25} Do not let them think, "Aha, just what we wanted!" or say, "We have swallowed him up." {26} May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. {27} May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, "The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant." {28} My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

 

When in this life we see vindication or justice and all goes as we have hoped; it is then that we need to be on our guard. God is indeed on our side but we should not glory in the evil that besets another. God Himself desires that none should perish. Let us share that desire. Here are a few more scriptures I will share with you today.

*   (Eccl 9:11-12 NIV)  I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. {12} Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

*   (Rom 12:19 NIV)  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

*   (Eccl 12:14 NIV)  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

*   (1 Pet 4:11 NIV)  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

*   (Rev 21:3-4 NIV)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. {4} He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

 

All of our money, whether paper or coin, has this in common; they all say “IN GOD WE TRUST.” You will notice that it is written in capital letters for emphasis. In today’s world of email and text messaging, capital letters is considered to be loud, bold, or even shouting. Basically, capital letters are trying to make a strong statement. Let’s take that strong statement to heart. Let it be our motto and our philosophy. Let us live by faith and thereby proclaim, “IN GOD WE TRUST!”

*   (Rom 8:31 NIV)  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?