Lord, help me to trust You when I feel others are against me.
Read Psalm 35
1 Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take up shield and armor;
arise and come to my aid.
3 Brandish spear and javelin[a]
against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
“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, 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 me like one bereaved.
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;
assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b]
they gnashed their teeth at me.
17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their ravages,
my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among the throngs I will praise you.
19 Do not let those gloat over me
who are my enemies without cause;
do not let 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 sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we have seen it.”
22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
Do not be far from me, Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, 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 proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long.
a Psalm 35:3 Or and block the way
b Psalm 35:16 Septuagint; Hebrew may mean Like an ungodly circle of mockers,
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink about a difficult situation currently affecting your city or nation and the difference that Christians can make.
When Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), I’m not sure this psalm is what he had in mind. David is definitely praying for his persecutors here, but not in a way that seems very loving! Jesus’ command is extremely challenging, especially when you’re under attack.
Psalm 35 was written when David was fleeing from Saul. He had gone from being a favorite in the royal household to a fugitive and outcast. And this without David himself having done anything wrong or changing his behavior in any way. It simply was not fair! To say that he was feeling down and under pressure is to put it mildly. David himself describes the feeling as bereavement (12,14).
When it seems that people are against us, our natural response is usually revenge. David had a band of men with him who were ready for a fight (1 Sam. 22:2). He could very easily have taken matters into his own hands. But David chose instead to pray; he asked God to fight for him (1–3). This is an important lesson for us all. When we are angry at someone or feel betrayed or under attack, we should take it to God in prayer. Like David, we can pour out to him our anger, bitterness and pain. And like David, we can trust that God will fight for us.
Are you feeling angry or bitter towards someone? Talk to God about it.
Lord, strengthen us to do Your will and to love our enemies as You have taught us to do.