The Bible’s Song Book
A Study of the Psalms
Pastor Robert Soverall
Lesson 6: Psalm 35
Some songs reflect bitter emotions, recall sad memories, rehash tragic circumstances or recount stories of violence, injustice or unfortunate happenings. Some songs serve as a vehicle for the writer to vent after enduring an unpleasant situation.
In the Bible’s Song Book, there are 21 Psalms that are categorized as Imprecatory Psalms. These songs are those that invoke judgment, calamity or curses upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God. Although these Psalms are dark and graphic in their emotional expression, they are more about a call for divine judgment as opposed to human revenge. The call is for GOD to avenge the one who prays these prayers—not for GOD to give the speaker an opportunity to avenge himself.
Another thing to keep in mind when reading this particular Psalm is that the psalmist, believed to be David, actually tried to be a blessing to his enemies. In verses 12-14 he shares how he reacted with mourning when his enemies were sick. If you remember his encounters with King Saul (could the disgraced king be the inspiration for this song?) David had a couple of chances to kill Saul and refused to do so. He was following the same godly standards that Christ would proclaim during His earthly ministry (see Matthew 5:43-48).
Truthfully, it is a significant challenge to our Christian witness to deal with people who fight against us (vs.1), intend to destroy us (vs.4), repay our good with evil (vs.12), rejoice when we stumble (vs.15) or hate us for no reason (vs.19). But we must not descend to their level and soil our garments for the sake of “self-defense” or “self-preservation”. Can/should we defend ourselves? ABSOLUTELY! We can and we should—but we follow the example of David (and of Christ). We take the matter to our Heavenly Father. Here is how we should pray in those circumstances:
Lord, oppose my opponents! (Psalm 35:1).
Come to my aid! (Vs.2)
Turn them back in shame. (Vs.4)
Send angels after them! (Vs.6)
Rescue me! (Vs.17)
Don’t be silent, Lord; rise to my defense! (vs.23)
Let them be disgraced. (Vs.26)
Listen: GOD fights for us. I’ve seen it in my life and I know He’s come to your aid in times past. You are within your rights as a child of GOD to hand your enemies over to Him. And when He deals with them, don’t gloat over them. Praise GOD (see verses 9-11 & 27) and pray that they too will turn from their wicked ways and praise the LORD as well!