Psalm 35: The Lord in Battle

How can God “plead our case” with those who are against us?

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Psalm 35:1 A song of David.
Lord, plead my case with those who are against me. Make war against those who are fighting me.
King James
Psalm 35:1 <A Psalm of David.> Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

What does it mean for God to “stand with us”?

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Psalm 35:2–3 With your sword and shield, stand with me in formation. Extend your spear against the assault and reassure me with your battle cry: “I will save you!”
King James
Psalm 35:2–3 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

What reasons might David have for believing God would destroy his enemies? Why might he have doubted?

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Psalm 35:4–6 Let those who seek my death lose heart. Confuse their plotting for my destruction and cause them to retreat. Let the angel of the Lord chase them like chaff driven by the wind. Let the angel of the Lord pursue them on a dark, slippery path.
King James
Psalm 35:4–6 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.

What kinds of traps did David have to be concerned about?

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Psalm 35:7–8 My enemies had no justifiable reason to dig a pit and hide a net to trap and kill me. Let them be surprised when they are caught and killed by the trap they set for me.
King James
Psalm 35:7–8 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

Why should knowing the Lord thrill us beyond words?

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Psalm 35:9–10 Knowing the Lord fills my heart with joy, I rejoice because of his deliverance.
My whole being says, No one compares to you Lord, who rescues the weak from the strong, who protects the poor and needy from those who would take advantage of them.
King James
Psalm 35:9–10 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

Why should we be concerned about the testimony of false witnesses? Why should we not be concerned?

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Psalm 35:11 False witnesses accused me of crimes I knew nothing about.
King James
Psalm 35:11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

After treating others with kindness, should we expect a similar response from them? Why?

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Psalm 35:12 After all the good I did for them, I am grieved over their evil done to me.
King James
Psalm 35:12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

What reasons might we have for grieving for our enemies, fasting and praying for them?

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Psalm 35:13–14 When they were sick, I grieved for them. I fasted, but my prayers went unanswered. I grieved with them like a best friend consoles the loss of a mother.
King James
Psalm 35:13–14 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

Why do people rejoice when their enemies fail? When should we not celebrate someone’s failure?

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Psalm 35:15–16 When I faltered, they rejoiced and secretly joined forces against me. They cut me down continually. At feasts, they mocked me like they had done no wrong and I could do no right.
King James
Psalm 35:15–16 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

What reasons might God have for standing back and not immediately rescuing us?

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Psalm 35:17 Lord, how long will you stand back as an observer? Save me from their attacks, or I’ll be eaten by these lions.
King James
Psalm 35:17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? Rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

What do we gain by praising God in the presence of others?

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Psalm 35:18 In the great gathering of your people, everyone will hear my praise for you.
Matthew 10:32 If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven.
King James
Psalm 35:18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

How should we feel about defeat?

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Psalm 35:19 Do not let my enemies rejoice at my defeat. Do not let those who hate me for no reason smirk with delight.
2 Corinthians 4:8–9 Troubles press us from every direction, but we aren’t crushed. We may not know what to do, yet we’re confident that everything will work out. Enemies may attack us, but God stands with us. We may be knocked to the ground, but God will raise us up.
King James
Psalm 35:19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
2 Corinthians 4:8–9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Should false accusations bother us more than being guilty? Why?

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Psalm 35:20–25 With their false accusations, they stir discontent among the peaceful. They sneer at me and say, “It’s true. We’ve seen it with our own eyes.” But you’ve seen the truth, Lord. Come speak in my defense.
Wake up and fight for me, Lord God. Set the record straight. By your righteous standards, declare me not guilty and silence my enemies who would rejoice over me. Don’t let them say, “That’s it, just what we wanted. We have wiped him out.”
King James
Psalm 35:20–25 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land. Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it. This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

What will bring shame to those who lie, cheat, and steal?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 35:26 Confuse those who rejoice over my pain and let them be ashamed. Bring down those who exalt themselves against me and clothe them with disgrace.
King James
Psalm 35:26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

With so many tragedies in life and the possibility of future problems, how can we praise the Lord for always doing what is right?

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Psalm 35:27–28 May my supporters shout for joy, delighted in my righteous cause, saying continually, “Praise the Lord, who is well pleased with his servant and has prospered him.”
Every moment of the day, I will praise the Lord, saying he always does what is right.
Romans 8:28 All those who love God and are working to fulfill his purpose should know that all things will work together for good.
King James
Psalm 35:27–28 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.