By Eric Taylor
Pastor, Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Cedar Hill
Focal Passage: Psalm 35:1-3, 13-18
There is no denying we live in a day and age filled with anger. You might even say some people are filled with rage. Which is even more reason for God’s people to resist the temptation toward anger, malice, rage, and wrath. In our lesson, we see that while David was facing the wrath and anger of his enemies (likely Saul), he chose to take the high road and not respond to his enemies in kind.
Matter of fact, there are four things we see in this verse that we can learn when facing or dealing with trials and troubles brought on by the enemies of God and His people.
First, we call on God to defeat the foe (Psalm 35:1-3a). In other words, David did not take the matter in his own hands. He called in the Lord to “Oppose” his “opponents.” Nor did he fight against them. He said, “Lord; fight those who fight me.” The normal human tendency is to retaliate, instead of calling on God to deal with the enemy. Make no mistake, David wanted the destruction of his enemies, he just knew that God had to be the one to do it.
Instead of taking up arms against his enemy David left that up to God, as he says, “Take Your shields … Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers.” Which makes sense, because David never once used his power to punish or destroy his enemies, even Saul.
It would do us well, to take the lead of David and let God defeat and bring down our enemies and those who would oppose Christ and His Church. In Psalm 37:1, David wrote. “Fret not because of evildoers.”
Second, we see that David kept his anger in check because he knew his deliverance was from the LORD. At the end of verse 3, David cried out to God to deliver him, because he saw the LORD as his “salvation.” He even asked God that as He defeated his foes, David wanted to hear God say to his “soul,” “I am your deliverance.”
Third, equipped by God’s grace, David was able to show deference to his enemies (vv. 13-14). David humbled himself and even genuinely prayed for his enemies.
He grieved over them and mourned over their evil ways, even though the moment he “stumbled” or made a mistake, they were quick to join their voices in attack. Even those he “did not know” (v. 15), mercilessly attacked, and with “godless mockery gnashed their teeth” at him (v. 16).
Again, the fleshly response to those who mock us and gnash their teeth at us is to fight back; to curse them and hurt them just as they do to us. Yet, we know Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies bless those who curse you, do good to those hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” This verse may become even more prevalent in the years to come, as we see the world growing hostile to the church.
Finally, verse 18 teaches us that in the end our lives are in God’s hands. The LORD will “rescue” you from the “ravages” of the enemy because God sees your life as “precious” to Him. Therefore, we can “praise” him in the “great assembly” of the people of God, and “exalt” Him “among many people.” Amen!