Vindication In His Righteousness – Psalm 35

This imprecatory Psalms of David motivates people to ask God to take revenge on their enemies. It persuades people to rejoice in the fall of their enemies more than they enjoy their salvation. While choosing an advocate, one should go by their experience because experience makes the advocate understand the client’s case and the opponent’s weakness. In this Psalm, David pleaded with God to vindicate him and prove his actions as just in the eyes of the people. Justifying our stand makes our enemies blameworthy. When we pray as David prayed, we often forget that our God is their advocate too.

Brandish Spear Against My Enemies

Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.

Take up shield and armor;
arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin
against those who pursue me.
Say to me, I am your salvation.

Psalms 35:1-3 (NIV)

In the Old Testament, we see God from a different perspective, who exacted revenge on the enemies of His people. But it is a lesson for the people of God to realize that if they go against the will of God, He will deal with them in the same way that He dealt with their enemies. Unfortunately, the people of God are misunderstanding his protection and are failing to return back to Him. Even during the time of Jesus, people falsely took themselves as privileged ones when they reported the matter of Pilate mixing the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices. But Jesus replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish (Luke 13:2-3 (NIV)).

Asking God to contend with those who support us and fight with those who fight with us is against God’s character. God caters to the wicked and the righteous with the same provisions (Matthew 5:45 (NIV)). Who are we to ask God to act based on our limited experiences? David would have learned to ask God to take up His shields and armour from his own experience of gaining victory because of the presence of the ark of God on the battlefield. The presence of God protected their lives from the hands of their enemies. God saved us from the clutches of eternal death and taught us to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:16-17). Not applying His teaching and expecting Him to fight for us, would not serve His purpose in our lives. 

May Enemies Fall Into The Pit

May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the LORD driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,
may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD
and delight in his salvation.

Psalms 35:4-9 (NIV)

David asked God to take revenge on his enemies, underestimating God’s kindness. Our human mind cannot understand the amount of grace God shows to all people because His ways are higher than ours. David is asking God to pull up His socks and give him protection. David was not happy in his safety but found happiness at the fall of his enemies. David wanted his enemies to fall into the pit and perish.

Harming others or taking revenge should not give us satisfaction or happiness. The scripture says, as it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil (James 4:16). Considering the fall of our enemies as victory and salvation shows our ignorance of the love of God.

Whenever David spoke like this and wanted God to avenge his enemies, the presence of God brought forth change in his mind, as God did not allow him to ruin himself by ruining others. For onlookers, it appeared that David was not doing what he spoke. People speak sugar-quoted words and act with wickedness, but David uttered cursing words and ended up doing good. This trend misleads people to ask God to vindicate their stand by destroying their enemies.

Transforming our Life Situations to Scripture

Ruthless witnesses come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.
They repay me evil for good
and leave me like one bereaved.
Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers 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 when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
They slandered me without ceasing.
Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
they gnashed their teeth at me.
How long, Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me 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.
Do not let those gloat over me
who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
maliciously wink the eye.

Psalms 35:11-19 (NIV)

With the life situation of David, God made him prophesize the path the Son of God would go through, and every word that came out from the mouth of David exactly portrayed the sufferings that Jesus had experienced step by step. We can visualise the scene where Jesus carried the cross, as the events foretold here mirrored the way Jesus carried the cross to Calvary.

The lamentations of David transformed into scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit, and even Jesus referred to the Psalms of David when people hated Him for nothing “but this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: They hated me without reason (John 15:25).” While we tell others our agonies to gain sympathy from our fellow believers, it remains the same. While we place ourselves with the people who do not know God by telling them that we are also suffering as they suffer, our agonies increase. But when we make it known to our Father in heaven, it transforms into scripture and becomes a testimony to others. Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples. Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:18 &16).

If we take refuge under the wings of God, when we face the challenges of this world, God writes His scripture over our lives. When we rely on the influence of this world to tackle the challenges, we make history. People misunderstood fellowship for socialization and gaining friends and fame. But the scripture tells us that the world will hate us without a valid reason. Even Jesus is praying for this cause to His Father. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world (John 17:14).

Vindicate Me In Your Righteousness

They do not speak peaceably,
but devise false accusations
against those who live quietly in the land.
They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we have seen it.”
LORD, you have seen this; do not be silent.
Do not be far from me, Lord.
Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
Vindicate me in your righteousness, 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.”
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.

Psalms 35:20-26 (NIV)

This Psalm portrayed the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus more vividly. The people gathered to see Jesus crucified, mocked Him mercilessly by saying that the one who saved the sinners is not able to save Himself now. Moreover, they challenged Jesus that if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross to prove it. Those slogans that were raised and the commotion that occurred are perfectly penned in this Psalm way before it happened. Even satan would have been satisfied when Jesus died on the cross.

Throughout his lifetime, David wanted God to punish his enemies to prove him righteous. The usual prayer of David asking God to vindicate him in front of his enemies turned into an unusual prayer of asking God to vindicate him because of His righteousness. No human would dare to ask God to punish His Son to make us righteous. Asking God to make us righteous through His sufferings is a prayer lifted by the Holy Spirit within David, and he could not have asked God to make His Son obedient to set right his disobedience.

For this reason, Paul asked us to fix our eyes not on what is visible but on what is unseen since what we can see is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)). How can we see the invisible things? Unless and until we have the Spirit of God within us, we cannot see the unseen things of His Kingdom. The Holy Spirit would be able to see it all because the Father has sent His Spirit into this world to reveal His Kingdom to us and to help us accomplish His will on this earth as it in His Kingdom.

God Delights In Our Well-being

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.”
My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long.

Psalms 35:27-28

The Psalmist expected people to rejoice at the fall of his enemies. We anticipate our near and dear ones to rejoice in our victory over our enemies. Would our wellwishers be happy over our success? Perhaps they really would not, but God always delights in our well-being. Only when we stop expecting help and appreciation from people; we will be able to understand how God delights in our well-being.

With this revelation, we will proclaim His righteousness and praise His name. Let us stop asking God to punish our enemies and ask Him to pardon our enemies as Jesus pardoned His enemies on the cross. We became righteous because God has vindicated us by punishing His Son. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8)!

To delight in our vindication, Jesus prayed to our Father in heaven, for them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (John 17:19). If Jesus has to sanctify Himself to sanctify us, how much more do we ought to cleanse ourselves with His truth? Hereafter, let us not ask God to vindicate us by punishing our enemies but ask God to make us holy so that we would pray for the salvation of our enemies.

Father God, vindicate us in your righteousness.


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