Sunday Psalms 35: pray for justice

Psalm 35: Pray to the Lord for Justice Every Time You’re in Trouble

Have you ever been a victim of injustice? We all have at one point or another. We can respond in one of 3 ways: strike back in anger, bottle up our feelings or take our desire for justice to Almighty God. Psalm 35 is an imprecatory psalm. To imprecate means to “invoke evil”. In other words, the psalmist — in this case it’s David — asks God to curse his enemies. Should we? Let’s dig in…

Psalm 35

A psalm of David

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord.
    I will be glad because he rescues me.
10 With every bone in my body I will praise him:
    “Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
    Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.
    They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good.
    I am sick with despair.
13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.
    I denied myself by fasting for them,
    but my prayers returned unanswered.
14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family,
    as if I were grieving for my own mother.
15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble;
    they gleefully join together against me.
I am attacked by people I don’t even know;
    they slander me constantly.
16 They mock me and call me names;
    they snarl at me.

17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
    Rescue me from their fierce attacks.
    Protect my life from these lions!
18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
    I will praise you before all the people.
19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
20 They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
21 They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

22 O Lord, you know all about this.
    Do not stay silent.
    Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!
    Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
    Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
    Now we will eat him alive!”

26 May those who rejoice at my troubles
    be humiliated and disgraced.
May those who triumph over me
    be covered with shame and dishonor.
27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense.
    Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,
    who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
28 Then I will proclaim your justice,
    and I will praise you all day long.

Psalm 35 NLT

Points to Ponder

“Instinctively, we want to ‘clean up’ our feelings in our prayers, but perhaps we have it all backwards… We should strive to take all our worst feelings to God.”

Philip Yancy

It’s OK to tell God your true feelings… Pastor Sandy Adams comments…

Better to pray it than to say it or do it… Remember, “Rage belongs before God.” Our desire for vindication and justice is often righteous, but only God can and should bring it to pass.

Sandy Adams

Take your feelings to God.

What is chaff in the wind?

Jesus threshing removing the chaff
Image by GnpiUSA – Justice with a winnowing fork – separating the wheat from the chaff — the good from the bad.

Back in the days before farm equipment, wheat farmers had to thresh the wheat to remove the chaff — the inedible part of the plant — and leave the wheat grain. The wheat grain was heavier and it fell to the threshing floor while the chaff, which was very light, blew away in the wind.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all our troubles were blown away like chaff in the wind?

Speaking of what Jesus will do when He comes back to judge the world, John the Baptist used the analogy of the threshing floor…

12 “He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

John the Baptist, Matthew 3:12 NLT

Let’s face it, there are evil people out there who have nothing better to do than to make other peoples’ lives miserable. Take computer hackers. Some do it for fun — just to see if they can break through a security firewall. I’ve been a victim several times of credit card fraud, and social security fraud, and I’ve been hacked twice. The problem is as soon as you build a bigger security wall, they come up with a bigger cannon.

Jesus has His Justice in the End!

One of my favorite chapters is Revelation 21. It’s our confident hope that this world is not all there is! There will be a new Heaven and a new earth. However, there are certain people who will not be allowed there. Furthermore, Jesus clearly describes where they will end up…

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8 NLT Related: Hell is for Real! | Does Purgatory Exist?

The folks at Spoken Gospel sum up the Gospel message in this psalm…

It’s not difficult to identify with David. Bullies humiliate us, friends betray us, jokes are made at our expense—and social media publicizes it. In our deepest moments of shame, sometimes people tell us we need to “love our enemies” (Luke 6:27). That’s true and we must do it, but David shows us that we must also passionately pray for God’s justice. 

It’s not wrong to ask God to set things right. It’s not wrong to want guilty parties called to account. That’s not revenge, that’s allowing God to avenge the innocent (Romans 12:19). Praying for our enemies to be exposed and to experience the shame they’ve wrongly caused us is not repaying evil with more evil. it’s asking God to allow his perfect goodness to do battle with evil and win (Romans 12:21).

Ultimately, David was praying for Jesus’ resurrection. The Apostle Paul says that on the cross Jesus defeated every enemy power, authority, and legal accusation. Jesus rising from the dead is a definitive shaming of the forces of malice and injustice that rule the world (Colossians 2:15). 

Jesus now sits at God’s right hand and defends us against our enemies’ accusations of shame. He calls us honored (Psalm 35:23). And Jesus will vindicate us publicly when he announces from the heavens that he is pleased with us, his good and faithful servants (Matthew 25:23). 

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who defeats our enemies. And may you see Jesus as the one who shames every accusation, power, and person who comes against those who trust in him. 

Spoken Gospel

What’s nice about having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus is that you can feel free to call on HIM 24/7 with your prayers. Whether they are prayers of praise or anguish, He is there to listen! You don’t need to go through a priest and you certainly don’t need a dead person — a saint or Mary — to mediate for you. You can talk to Jesus directly! He’s listening!

Jesus knocking at the door of your heart.
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart.
Isn’t it about time you let Him in?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

Firm Foundation

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