6. Our Plea for Protection! Psalm 35:22-25

Text:  “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.”
                                                                                                                Psalm 35:23-24.

Good morning, protected Christian!  The Lord God Who has sent His only begotten Jesus to suffer so infinitely in your place and mine is not about to give up on us; leave us destitute; or without His Divine protection when enemies beset themselves against us.  No!  The Spirit of God within us guides us to cry out a plea for much needed Divine protection, which is always given.  Praise God for His protecting hand!

Our Plea:  “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.  Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O Thou Most High.”  (Psalm 56:1-2)

Our Guidance:  “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.  In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh (earthly enemies) can do unto me.”  (Psalm 56:3-4)   

Verse 23.  “Stir up Thyself, and awake to my judgement.  The Psalmist David, in his alarm at the opposition he is facing, seems to be speaking both to himself and to the Lord God.  He seems to be saying to himself, ‘Stir up thyself!  Call out immediately to the Lord God for His Divine help!’  At the same time he is asking the Lord to ‘Awake to my judgement.’, or in other words, ‘Lord, You have chosen me to be your servant and anointed me to be king of Israel – if You have thus saw fit to do so, and have already judged my sins, and declared me not guilty, then hear my plea and send me Your help in my time of need.’

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (all God’s chosen people.), how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”  (Romans 8:32)

Verse 23.  “My God and My Lord”  David, in the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost, is here setting forth a great mystery that would be repeated by the disciple Thomas when the Lord Jesus appeared to those gathered together in fear in the Upper Room.  Both David and Thomas are stating a profound theological fact concerning the dual nature of the incarnated Jesus Christ: Jesus was born at Bethlehem, but the Christ, the Word of God, has always been, always will be, and always is Eternal Son of the Living Lord God.  He is in fact, ‘the God-man', Jesus Christ; my Lord and my God.

“Then said He (Christ Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”                    (John 20:26-29)   

Verse 24.  “Judge me, O lord my God, according to Thy righteousness; and let them (his enemies) not rejoice over me.”  If believers are imputed the very righteousness of Christ by faith, then when the Lord God ‘judges’ us, He must judge us ‘…according to Thy righteousness…’, NOT GUILTY!

In other words, the Psalmist is here claiming, by faith and belief, the fact that God has chosen him to receive the righteousness of Christ Himself, and having such a gift of imputed (put to his account) righteousness, he cannot fail to come up to the standard God has ordained. This is pure Divine logic!

The enemies of Christ and of Christians will never understand this great fact: that the Lord God has chosen to make ‘His people’ righteous, in the very righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself, and all through the great Atonement Sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus, at Calvary’s Cross.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!  We are justified in Christ!

“For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we (God’s elect people) might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”    (2 Corinthians 5:21)

It is because of this imputed righteousness as a believer, that David can make this reasoned plea to the Lord God for His Divine help.  He is here saying, ‘Lord, you have made me righteous by granting me faith to believe and receive Your Salvation.  Therefore, judge the righteousness You have put to my account, and if it be genuine, please send me your help against my enemies, let them not rejoice in victory over me.’

“And the Blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the Blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”  (Exodus 12:13)

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: but with the precious (sinless) Blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  Who verily (truly) was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”  (1 Peter 1:18-20)

Verse 25.  “Let them (God’s enemies) not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it.”  If God be Sovereign, and His will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven – then God’s enemies, and as such our enemies also, cannot cause their will to overcome us.  It is God’s will, revealed in His inspired Word, illuminated by His Holy Spirit, that was, is, and always shall be, done.  Glory to His Sovereign Name!  Hallelujah!

Thought:  In Christ’s Sovereign Victory – the Christian shall always prevail! All glory to the Lord God Jehovah: our Sovereign, our Saviour, and our Lord!

5.   A List of Causeless Persecutions!   Psalm 35:11-21

Text:  “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2 Corinthians 2:11. 

Good morning, educated and aware Christian!  Having been blessed with a desire to obey the Lord your God, and to walk in continual obedience to His written revelations in Holy Scriptures – you and I are consistently found in the serious study of His Word.  His Word, in turn, instructs to ‘Study to show (ourselves) approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Being in this obedient manner instructed/educated, you and I are made very aware of the devices which the Devil and his agents employ in their ruthless intent to mar the work that Christ has wrought in us.  He employs heinous tactics to torment us, and inspires the reprobate (rejected of God) all around us to try to break down our testimonies of imputed righteousness in Christ, and thus spoil our effectiveness to be witnesses for Him.

Is it not wonderful indeed to realize that our Lord God in His Word has shown us the means Satan will use to try to pull us down?  In this mid-section of  Psalm 35, we are given a list of causeless persecutions that will be employed by our enemies, and, educated to know our enemy’s devices – we are, therefore, more able to wage war with him and maintain a credible Christian witness and testimony of Christ’s saving grace.

False Witnesses: (vs11-15)  These false witnesses were not only ruthless but they were also secretive in the manner they employed their slander and ridicule of God’s servant, David.

It is often true that such false accusers are privately so ashamed of what they falsely accuse Christian neighbours, that they speak behind-backs, in secrecy, being, to some small degree, privately ashamed of speaking out in public.

Verse 11.  “False witnesses did rise up.  This is the old device of the ungodly, and we must not wonder if it be used against us as against our Master.  To please Saul, there were always men to be found mean enough to impeach David. 

“They laid to my charge things I knew not.  He had not even a thought of sedition; he was loyal even to excess; yet they accused him of conspiring against the Lord’s anointed.  He was not only innocent but ignorant of the fault alleged.  It is well when our hands are so clean that no trace of dirt is upon them.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 171)

How often the world gladly receives help, comfort, and encouragements from Christians, then, when their master, Satan, stirs up their unregenerate souls to do so, repays us evil for our intended good!  Such betrayals hurt us as Christian believers – but one day soon those who wounded us in this manner will be faced with the guilt of their betrayals.  God is not mocked.

Verse 12.  “They rewarded me evil for good.   For the good David did in killing Goliath, and slaying his ten thousands of Philistines, and thereby saving his king and country, Saul and his courtiers envied him and sought to slay him; so our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the good he did to the Jews, by healing their bodies and diseases and preaching the Gospel to them for the benefit of their souls, was rewarded with reproaches and persecutions, and at last with the shameful death of the Cross; and in like manner are His people used, but this is an evil that shall not go unpunished. (See Proverbs 17:13).  (John Gill 1697-1771)

The strange thing about unsaved enemies is, that they often do not even know WHY they hate the Redeemed of Christ; they often do not even know that they are doing so!  Their master Satan says ‘Go and persecute, slander, falsely accuse!’, and off they go to do his bidding – they are like putty in the Evil One’s hands!

Verse 15.  “But in mine adversity they rejoiced.  In my halting, they were delighted.  My lameness was sport to them.  Danger was near, and they sang songs over my expected defeat.  How glad are the wicked to see a good man limp!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 172)  

Verse 16.  “With hypocritical mockers…they gnashed upon me with their teeth.  Very forcibly might our Lord have used the words of these verses!  Let us not forget to see the Despised and Rejected of men here painted to the life.  Calvary and the ribald crew around the Cross seem brought before our eyes.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 173)

Television programme writers today take a special perverted interest in writing anti-Christian material; soap operas that flaunt homosexual sin and seek to normalize it in the minds of viewers; the constant use of the very Name of the Holy Lord Jesus Christ as a foul expletive!  They disregard the 3rd Commandment to their Eternal peril!

“Some cannot be merry, but it must be with Scripture; if they want a little diversion, the saints must be the subject of their discourse!  They can vent their profane jests upon the Word of God; this is their pastime over their cups upon the ale-bench.  How ready they are with their contumelious reflections; they have learnt their father’s dialect, they are accusers of the brethren, their speech betrays them to be Hellians.”  (Oliver Heywood 1629-1702)  

Fault-Finding: V21: “Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.  Glad to find out a fault or a misfortune or to swear they had seen evil where there was none.  Malice has but one eye; it is blind to all virtue in its enemy.”  C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 173)

Thought:  Satan’s devices are here listed – pray against them, Christian!

4. Blessed Midst the Cursing! Psalm 35:9-10

Text:  “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His Salvation.” 
Psalm 35:9.

Good morning, eye-of-the-storm Christian!  In the midst of all the curses of opposition to your Christian faith – the world, the flesh, and the Devil’s hindrances – you find yourself still, at peace, in the eye-of-the-storms of life.  Hallelujah!  Christ has promised you and I ‘His peace’, and because the mouth of the Lord God Jehovah has spoken it, you are I find a haven of His peace, even in the very thick of life’s turbulent storms. 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

“These things have I (Jesus the Christ) spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

In this world, as genuine committed, born again, Bible-believing Christians, we can have much trouble, many oppositions; hard hindrances – yet our souls continue to be joyful in Christ Jesus our risen Lord.  We rejoice, not in ourselves, nor in anything that we are or can do in this world – but in Christ Jesus and in the Eternal Salvation that He alone gives us through His sufferings on Calvary’s Cross. 

Verse 9.  “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His Salvation.”         In this ever-increasing mire of 21st Century apostasy and the decline of true Bible-based Christian values, anyone who earnestly seeks to live life as God’s Word directs us to do comes immediately under a deluge of Satanic attack, carnal opposition; and worldly ridicule.  Fact!  It is not popular to be a genuine Bible-believing Christian today!

However, no matter how fierce the oppositions we face, we are always assured of Divine deliverance from them; or Eternal deliverance from out of the very world in which we are experiencing such gross persecutions.  Hallelujah!  God has spoken!

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  (Philippians 1:21)

Furthermore, anytime we are called to suffer some affliction or persecution, or illness and pain – all these become Spiritual school-teachers, teaching us to look all that deeper into the sufferings of our Lord and Saviour upon Calvary’s cruel Tree.

Verse 10.  “All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto Thee…?”    “Our own sufferings give us a partial insight into the sufferings of Christ Jesus.  In our prosperity we pass by the Cross. The story of Christ’s passion stirs our hearts for Him, but the pity and passion are quickly gone.  But let God pinch our flesh with some sore affliction, fill our bones with pain, and set us on fire with a burning fever; let our feet be hurt in stocks, and iron enters our souls.  We look upon Him they have pierced and say: ‘If the chips of the cross are this heavy, what was the Cross itself?  If my bodily pains are so bitter, what were the agonies the Lord sustained in His soul?  If the wrath of man is so piercing, what must the wrath of God be?’ 

“Is it a heart-piercing affliction to be deserted by friends?  What was it then for the Son of God’s love to be deserted by his Father?  Is a chain so heavy, a prison so loathsome, and the sentence of death so dreadful?  O what was it for Him Who made Heaven and earth to be bound, mocked, abused, spit upon, buffeted, reviled, cast into prison, arraigned, condemned, and executed in a most shameful and accursed manner!  O what was it for Him to endure all this contradiction of sinners, the rage of the Devil, and wrath of God, to cry out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’”  (Thomas Case 1598-1680, Select Works, A Treatise of Affliction, page 73-75)

Verse 10.  “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?”  “Blessed be God, my prison is not Hell, my burnings are not unquenchable flames, my cup is not filled with wrath, and I am delivered from the wrath to come!  By our sharing the remainders of His Cross, which He has bequeathed to us as a legacy, we may come in some measure to understand the sufferings of Christ, or at least by comparing our sufferings of such vast disproportion to His, we are able to guess at what we cannot understand.”  (Thomas Case 1598-1680, Select Works, A Treatise of Affliction, page 73-75)

Let me ask, dear reader, Are you afflicted in some grievous manner as you read this weekly Bible Lesson?  Are you facing ruthless oppositions in your family life; your business life; or concerning the practice of your Christian faith?  Then look up, beloved in Christ, your Lord God knows what you are going through for His dear sake, and will not leave you comfortless or without powerful support.  We possess Christ’s faithful promise on the matter:

“I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL come to you.”  (John 14:18)

Let the Divine Voice of the Living Lord God reverberate throughout your afflicted soul:  ‘I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.’  (Isaiah 41)10

Suffering and cruel afflictions are a real curse promised to every credible Christian, but such cruel oppositions and persecutions only serve to PROVE beyond a doubt that we are indeed the Eternal children of the Almighty Lord God, Jehovah.  Hallelujah!  Victory is ours in the Cross of Christ Jesus!  Stand fast, Blood-bought Christian!

Thought:  “Affliction teaches us to prize and long for Heaven.” (Thomas Case 1598-1680, Select Works, A Treatise of Affliction, quoted in Voices from the Past, edited by Richard Rushing, pages 188-189)

3. Powerful Christian Curses? Psalm 35:4-8

Text:  “Then shall He (the Lord) say also unto them on the left hand (unsaved, reprobates), Depart from Me, ye CURSED, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
                                                                                                               Matthew 25:41.

Good morning, powerfully armed Christian!  A careful study of God’s Word – Old Testament and New – clearly reveals the God-given fact that we who are genuinely redeemed by the shedding of Christ’s sinless Blood at Calvary, are granted powerful Spiritual weapons with which to wage war with Satan and his vile, rebellious agents, both spiritual and temporal.  Too many today, in this increasingly apostate and Spiritually toothless 21st Century church, have no idea of the powerful Spiritual weapons the Lord has placed at our disposal to enable us to ‘confound’ the enemies of the Gospel, never mind willing to use them in the Cause of Christ Crucified. Fact.

It is time, beloved in Christ; it is time to unwrap our powerful Spiritual armoury and unleash God’s power upon those who would even dare to hinder and persecute those of us for whom Christ suffered, bled, and died.  Awake, and Christ shall give thee light!

Verse 4.  “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul.  There is nothing malicious here; the slandered man simply craves for justice, and the petition is natural and justifiable.  Guided by God’s good Spirit, the Psalmist foretells the everlasting confusion of all the haters of the righteous (Made righteous in Christ).  Shameful disappointments shall be the portion of the enemies of the Gospel, nor would the most tender-hearted Christian have it otherwise; viewing sinners as men, we love them and seek their good, but regarding them as enemies of God, we cannot think of them with anything but detestation and loyal desire for the confusion of their devices. 

No loyal subject can wish well to rebels.  Squeamish sentimentality may object to the strong language here used, but in their hearts all good men wish confusion to mischief-makers.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 170)

Christianity today seems, in many cases, to have slumped down into a cozy, lovey-dovey sentimentalism that is devoid of the Spiritual teeth necessary to engage in any serious contention for ‘…the faith once delivered unto the saints…’  (Jude 3)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against Spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

The power to call down God’s Divine curses against His enemies and, therefore, ours – is a powerful weapon indeed.  However, not all professing Christians are willing to even think of employing such a devastating Spiritual weapon – and thus, the church declines and is found reeling about in a politically correct confusion of its own.  Sad.

“Verses 4, 8, & 26. How are we to account for such prayers for vengeance?  We find them chiefly in four Psalms – the seventh, thirty-fifth, sixty-ninth, and one-hundred and ninth, and the imprecations (curses) in these form a terrible climax.  In the last, no less than thirty anathemas (curses) have been counted.  Are these the mere outbursts of passionate and unsanctified feeling or are they the legitimate expression of a righteous indignation?  An unobstructed fastidiousness, it is well known, has made many persons recoil from reading these Psalms at all.”  (J.J. Stewart Perowne 1868)

If our KJV Bibles are indeed, ‘God-breathed’, Spiritually inspired as Paul, inspired by God the Spirit, teaches us they are – then ‘the Imprecatory Psalms’ mentioned above, are also the inspired Word of God, and as such are God’s Authority to us for our use.

“All Scripture (Old Testament and New) is given by inspiration of God (breath of God), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man/woman of God may be perfect (mature in teaching), thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The souls of those placed on ‘the left hand’ by our Lord Christ in our text for today are the souls of the reprobate (those ‘passed over by God reference Eternal Salvation); these are the enemies of God and of us, ‘His people’ who are elected to Salvation from before the foundation of the world.  Therefore, the Lord Jesus is declaring the fact that those on ‘the left hand’ on His judgement day are in fact, left under God’s curse declared back in Eden’s Garden; and as such are the Eternal enemies of Christ and ‘His people’.  They are Eternally cursed of God, and as such have been, shall always be, and are, Eternally lost.  What an Eternally sad and devastating position to be in!

Divine Curses In Psalm 35.  Confusion (verse 4); Blown Away, as dust before the wind (verse 5); hounded by God’s angels (verse 5);  Unstable, set in slippery darkness, and persecuted by God’s Holy angels (verse 6);  Doomed, thrust into sudden destruction, caught up in God’s net of retribution (verses 7 & 8)

Imprecatory curses are not prayed lightly by Christians.  They are prayed against tyrants who, ‘without cause’, persecute, slander, hinder and harm Christ’s children.

Verse 7. “For without cause…without cause…  Twice does David assert in one verse that his adversaries plotted against him without cause.  Net-making and pit-digging requires time and labour, and both of these the wicked will expend cheerfully.  Men set traps and catch their own fingers.  They throw up stones, and they fall upon their own heads.  How often Satan outwits himself and burns his fingers with his own coals!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 171)

Thought:  “Maxentious built a false bridge to drown Constantine but was drowned himself.  Henry the Third of France was stabbed in the very same chamber where he had helped to contrive the cruel massacre of the French Protestants.” (Thomas Brooks 1608-1680)  Anti-Christians, beware God’s wrath!