Today we look at a darker part of Psalm 35 where David lifts his soul to God in distress, seeking relief in the attacks coming against him.
Psalm 35:11-13 “Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.”
In the daily spiritual battle, Satan often uses those around us to attack and accuse us. Those we have done good to now stand and oppose us, accuse and blame us.
This can be disorienting, as two versions of the past collide, perhaps causing us to question our own sanity. David needed a touchstone of reality, so he remembered how he had been so kind and concerned for those who were now attacking him:
Psalm 35:13b, 14 “When my prayers [for them] returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.”
[But these same people had just the opposite response when David was down:]
Psalm 35:15,16 “But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked, they gnashed their teeth at me.”
[Note that these were “like the ungodly” meaning they were probably believers, people who had been close to David.
So we, too, can experience injustice and evil from fellow believers who are pursuing their own agendas rather than God’s. And, like David, we must look to Jesus for help.]
Psalm 35:17-18 “O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.”
[Your timing, O Lord, is right, but to us suffering always seems to go on too long. Thinking of my wife’s illness of depression, I cry out, “Act, Lord, and bring the changes, bring the deliverance that is needed.”
And then, “Lord, help us to wait through well, learning what is necessary, giving you glory in praise through it all. Answer for the sake of your Name, for the sake of your Glory, O Lord.
“I can and will praise you now, Lord, for how and when you will respond. For you are wise and good and gracious, making us lie down in the green pastures of depression so we can grow and be more useful instruments in your hands. May you be glorified in our lives.”]