Psalm 35:24, 25 “Vindicate me in your righteousness, O LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, ‘Aha, just what we wanted!’ or say, ‘We have swallowed him up.’”
[A number of years ago, when I first wrote this devotional on Psalm 35, I was involved in trying to help a group resolve a conflict. The group’s leader, who had been confronted by his teammates on abusive leadership, maintained that he was blameless and everyone else, including those he asked to help him, like me, were wrong. He thought he’d “swallowed us up” as he steamrolled us with his logical arguments, not realizing that he was demonstrating exactly what his team mates objected to!
Lord, protect us from having such blind pride, such self-righteousness, such selfish ambition and self-deception. I am certainly capable of these, too. Expose such sins of ours to us quickly so we can, unlike this leader, immediately repent and avoid bringing dishonor to your name.
I thank you, Lord God, that your wisdom is much higher than ours: you are always firm and clear in what is best. I give you glory and honor for what you are doing in our lives.]
Psalm 35:26 “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.”
[Lord, may Satan and his hordes all be brought to shame in their attempts to bring disunity and distress. Even years later this leader I mentioned has not accepted his fault and continues to hold a bitter grudge against those who tried to help him; this is distressing to all involved and dishonoring to you.
Thank you for leading us all to forgive him as you have forgiven us. In faith I give you praise now for what you are doing in the turmoil this man has caused, for you, Lord, are good and gracious, loving and wise.]
Psalm 35:27 “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.’”
[Yes, may YOU win, Lord, vindicating your servants as you see best; may you be exalted as we obey you in humility; may you be the One who is lifted up in our joy and gladness at your goodness. We can trust you in all things, knowing that you lead us through the dark valleys, on difficult paths like the one in this picture, so that you can eventually bring us out into wider, greener pastures.]