God’s Vindication: Chapter 35
David had a lot of adversaries. In fact, he was such a warrior, God would not allow him to build the temple, because David was a “man of war” (1 Chronicles 28:3). When he prayed for God to fight against those who fought against him, it was a worthy plea… David knew he was living in God’s will but his enemies were against God.
The second verse here looks pretty sketchy at first, doesn’t it? God, taking on armor? What? Well, if you look at Isaiah 59:17, you’ll see that He actually does!
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.Isaiah 59:17
Then, further, to imagine God drawing out a spear on David’s behalf… THAT is awe-inspiring! But instead of experiencing calm and security by the defeat of his enemies, David’s plea is that God would remind him… “I am thy salvation.”
Destroy My Enemies, Lord!
It wasn’t so much that David wanted the simple annihilation of his enemies. He wanted more than anything, vindication. In addition to God’s protection, he asked that those who had wanted to dishonor and kill him would be put to shame. It’s one thing to wish a sinner, saved. It’s quite another to see God’s enemies and not desire that they would be shamed in their sinful paths.
David especially wanted release from those who had chased him “without cause”. Now, any person in this position even today would be quick to speak of their innocence. However, to pray to the One True God, Who knows and sees all, you’d have to think that David knew that God would know whether that was true. Having said that (and knowing the behinds the scenes footage from the text of the Word), we can assume that David was, in fact, as guiltless as he claimed to be. After all, this was a man who prayed for forgiveness for sins he might not even have known he committed!
Praise for Deliverance
As Charles Spurgeon so eloquently put it, we aren’t to triumph when others are destroyed… but rather that God’s salvation belongs to us. That He has saved us. THAT is worthy of ALL the joy! And David spoke that not only his soul would be joyful, but even his bones would praise the Lord!
Caring for Adversaries
David could remember that he had been good to those who wished evil against him now, and it sorrowed him to the point of sackcloth and ashes, a sorrow frequently reserved for the deepest emotional pain and turmoil.
These days, it is the “good” that are most often hated for the good that they believe, or God forbid, that they DO. When we do not get in line with the moral depravity rising up in this country, we are chided first, as they attempt to embarrass us for our code of conduct and belief. Then they belittle, turning to lies and finally, spewing hatred simply because we ARE.
It might even be from someone you love and have cared for. And David knew this well. Even his own son, who was eventually killed after his hair trapped him in a tree, turned against him and went further to turn others against him too. Yes, he knew this feeling and mourned it deeply.
Betrayal Still Comes
It’s one thing to treat someone badly when they have treated you well. It’s another to surprise them with that bad treatment. And that’s what David had to deal with here. Looking at it from another standpoint, we can see a scenario much like this one when they arrested Jesus and brought Him to trial, with nothing really to stand on. In fact, Jesus had to condemn HIMSELF in order for the plan of salvation to begin!
David got real honest with God in asking how long God was going to watch before doing something. He admitted his feelings about how God seemed quite indifferent by allowing his reproach to go on, especially since he was living, to the best of his ability, for God, in righteousness. So he did the only thing he knew to do. He cried out for a rescue and planned his thanksgiving in the assembly, in public. What a testimony it would be!
Reasons David Prayed for Vindication
David continues to ask for vindication, but now he speaks about why. They had mocked him, or “winked with their eye”, insulted him, hated him for no reason at all, and worst of all, had plotted against his God.
The term “the quiet ones in the land” (vs. 20), has been used by believers down through many years. It was a term taken on by the quietest believers. Those that have always been “quiet ones” for God. They remove themselves from the trouble around them. They purposely set themselves away from the jealousness and strife, the bad news and alarm, entering in, instead, to a life that is secret and quiet and completely hidden away in God.
Instead of falling prey to the rage of others, take it to Jesus in prayer. Run into that secret place, under the shelter of His Wings. Pray in your closet with the door shut and simply… be quiet.
Continuing the Plea
David’s confidence in being in right standing with God was echoed when he called for God to stir Himself up and wake up. Furthermore, that those who had falsely accused him and wished for his death would be put to shame, confusion, and dishonor.
At the same time, his joy isn’t for the destruction of those that were against him, but reasonably, for his own deliverance and life. That’s where the joy comes into play.
Mercy, Mercy: Chapter 36
The fact that sin is an outward appearance of an evil within should be enough to make anyone who counts themselves “holy” to stand up and take notice. David notes a few things about the “wicked”: they flatter themselves TO themselves, their words are deceitful, they are not wise, and don’t do good. While they’re laying in bed, they think about all the bad things they can do and then set out to do it. But most of all, they don’t hate evil!
Not hating evil is a point that a body gets to after rationalizing their sin for far too long. They seem to be past repenting and might even take great joy in that evil. It doesn’t seem wrong anymore and as a person falls deeper and deeper into this level, they will even defend it as a way of life, or “just who they are”.
God is Good and Righteous
Having spent enough time meditating on the ways of the ungodly, he turns his thoughts to the good and righteous God in whom he finds his wholeness. He is merciful and faithful, a God of covenant. His righteousness is monumental and His righteous judgment is deeper than we can imagine.
The God of Mercy is Our Help
David knew that, while God was merciful to all His people and creation, He was also personally merciful. The shadow of His Wings is a place of refuge, much like the cover of the ark of the covenant, which was Cherubim’s wings. A representation of God’s own Throne. Just think of how a mother hen puffs up to cover her young in protection, hiding and sheltering them from everything, whether rain or predator.
He is a fountain of life, alluded to many more times throughout Scripture. Even Jesus spoke of it. It represents everything we need, and all of it, derived from God. The abundance. The excellency. An abundance and source that flows into every part of our life. Not a bit is left out, uncovered, uncared for, or unseen by this loving and merciful Father.
A Closing Prayer
David closes out this chapter with a prayer that pride nor the hand of the wickedness would come against him. He talks of the fall of the workers of iniquity, and that once they are cast down, they cannot rise. We can think of this as David speaking of those he’s been fighting against and that have been fighting against him. But we can also think about it in terms of Satan’s fall, and those evil angels that fell with him. They ARE fallen. Yet today. And they SHALL NOT rise!
Have you ever felt like there are people who are “against you” for no reason? Have you cried out to God from deliverance from such? I think we all have. Let’s just remember that we are crying out to the One who as much knows about the state of our OWN heart as the one that we are seeking respite from!
Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are truly merciful, loving, faithful, and always ready to put on Your Own armor and fight for us. Help us to see our own need for a calm spirit and hinder us from becoming the one that makes someone else cry out to You! God forbid that WE would be in error, but that You, Oh Lord, would keep us mindful and always under the shelter of Your Wings instead of what we perceive to be our own righteousness, and we ask it in the mighty Name of Jesus!