Question submitted via Formspring
“What does Psalms 35 mean to you?”
Psalms 35 is a rather lengthy passage, so I have pasted it down below.
Like any passage from any scripture, there are many ways to interpret this.
First and foremost, it has to be seen in context; David wrote this around the time he ran from Saul the first time, and he had just faked like he was insane in front of Abimelech, who drove him away.
So, he was writing this at a particularly low time in his life.
The number one thing I take from it, is that people had the same sort of problems we have today, over 3,000 years ago when this was written!
Even David, the giant-slayer, was worried about his enemies and what people thought of him!
In this Psalm, he is praying to God to deliver him from the hands of his enemies, which God in turn did. So, a happy ending, right?
First, recognize that David took that deliverance and allowed his newfound power as king to corrupt him. He went on to murder a man (Uriah) so that he could have his wife (Bathsheba). Despite David being punished for this, the child born of this union was Solomon, the wisest man of all time!
From this, you can see both how 1. God will deliver us, but 2. it doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want; but 3. even from the worst situations, God can create blessings for the whole world, but 4. it doesn’t mean we escape responsibility.
What I REALLY take from this, is the thing no one wants to hear: responsibility.
Note, David’s story begins when he is chosen by God to be the king; but he still has to fight Goliath, a task no one else is even willing to consider. His faith in God is greater than literally everyone else’s in the land of Israel.
He stood up to do the seeming impossible, and God delivered victory into his hands.
However, this victory was not the end of his problems, it was really only the beginning!
What this means is just because you are being prayerful and faithful, it doesn’t mean you won’t have problems, in fact it means quite the opposite!
And, once David was king, he still had to take responsibility for his actions regarding Bathsheba, which lead to a civil war in his own household.
That means that just because you are delivered, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want and assume you’ll get away with it!
The final thing, is passages like this make it easy for people to think they can sit back and wait for God’s intervention in their lives, but you can’t get that if you read it in the context of David’s life.
He fought Goliath, fled Saul, and fought literally for years before he became king. We don’t know how old he is when he is chosen; the Bible only says he was ‘young’, and he was around 37 years old when he finally became king.
Even though he had faith, even though God had promised him a certain destiny, he TOOK ACTION to make his goals become a reality.
That’s what I take from the passage: faith, action and responsibility are the keys achieving our goals and our destiny.
You can find Psalm 35 down below my signature!
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B. Dave Walters
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1 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 [a]
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 [b] ;
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.