A Christian Perspective from Psalm 35

v1-3, Learning that God can be viewed as having shields, a lance and a spear, may seem unsettling for some people, but David was at ease with the idea. Where did he get this idea? Perhaps it was from his miraculous defeat of Goliath with a single shot. Would David attribute the sling’s accuracy to God, or was the sling itself a weapon of God? However David came to believe in God’s activity in war, it is essential that we understand God has a sword, see Ephesians 6:17. 

v8. Let his net that he has hidden catch himself: David prayed that the guilty one would truly be caught in his own trap. David prayed that destruction would come upon his adversary unexpectedly. We can pray on the same principle against our spiritual adversaries, the principalities and powers that battle against us in the spiritual realm. The devil has “snares” or traps,(1 Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 2:26) and he has strategies or plans, (2 Corinthians 2:11) that are set against us. We may rightly pray that the devil’s children are caught in and by his own snares and strategies. Do you believe Jesus was correct in calling some people “children of satan”? See John 8:44, Matthew 13:38 & 1st John 3:8.

v11-12, They reward me evil for good: “This was never more literally true of King David, than it was for the divine Christ Jesus, when, standing before Pontius Pilate, he received no other reply from the Jews, for all the gracious words which he had spoken, and all the powerful works of mercy which he had done among them, than that of being slandered, and put to death.

v19,  Who hate me without a cause: “Jesus identified with those who suffer without apparent cause, because he applies the words of Psalm 35:19 (Psalm 69:4) to himself (John 15:25).”

They devise deceitful matters against the quiet ones in the land: David prayed for vindication against his enemies because they plotted against God’s humble, simple people.The German Lutheran Bible translates the phrase the quiet ones in the land as die Stillen im Lande. It later became a phrase to describe believers in Germany, especially those from the Pietistic tradition. They emphasized living a quiet, devoted life of peace before God and man, and trusting God to defend them. It seems in every age of history, God has had his “quiet ones”, ignoring the noise & strife of the world and withdrawn from godless ambitions, they are unshaken by worldly headlines, because they have entered into the secret of an abundant life hidden in Christ Jesus, Jn. 10:10. Remember the command of Christ, “from the rooftops”! (Matthew 10:27). There was a time in the ministry of Jesus, when he needed to keep his Messiahship quiet, but towards the latter, he mandated public proclamation and then sent disciples out throughout the entire world to SHOUT.  Should Christians remain quiet?

A Christian Perspective on Psalm 34

There are at least seven lessons in this Psalm. It is an acrostic (Alphabetic) Psalm where in Hebrew each line begins with the successive Hebrew letter. However, it is irregular. One letter (vau) is missing and another (pe) is repeated. There are only a few Psalms written in this style, many Rabbis say they are primarily used for teaching children, as well as praise. The title says, “A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech (King Achish) who drove him away, and he departed.” This refers to the events of 1 Samuel 21:10-15 where David, because he was afraid, acted like he was crazy before Achish, the king of Gath. The Psalm does not indicate any attempt to vindicate David’s action. In fact, in the Psalm, David makes no comment about his conduct. He merely recalls his feelings at the time of his deliverance. 

A. The point of the Psalm is to praise Jehovah as our provider, protector, and deliverer. God gives us in this Psalm many good reasons for trusting Him while in trouble, so that we grow courageous for the next trial that comes our way, to see how God helps us.

B.  Fear must be taught (v. 11). If we fear God, we have been taught to fear God. If we want our children to fear God, we must teach them to fear God. When we wonder why some of our children have no use for God or his word, we would do well to consider that maybe we didn’t teach them to fear God.

C. What it means to fear God. The term “fear” is equated with several other expressions. These terms serve as a commentary on what is involved in fearing God, v. 8 describes one who “trusts in him.” v10 says “seek the Lord.”  v15 calls this one “righteous.” v22 says he is a servant.

D. The Lord protects those who fear him (v. 7, 15, 17, 19). The Lord cares about his people. He delivers them from their troubles.

E. The Lord blesses those who fear him (v. 8-10). God gives us all that we need (2 Pet. 1:3). There is no promise that the Lord will give us all we want. He did promise that he would grant all we need. While the young lion may hunger, his people will not lack any good thing (v. 10).

F. Those who fear God are those who really enjoy life (v. 12). Those who seek pleasure from life without the fear of God, have no idea of what lasting joy is. 

G. God listens to those who fear him (v. 15-22). What a privilege to have God’s ear tuned to our request! Such an honor is not granted to just anyone. It is an honor bestowed only on those who fear God. (1st Peter 3:12)

John the disciple Jesus loved, was keen to show how in reality, Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God, fulfilled in David’s messianic prophecy, Psa. 34:20. Moses commanded that when a lamb was sacrificed, (Ex. 12:46) none of the bones should be broken, indeed the care taken in it’s death was shown through the careful guidance God had in giving his Son as The Lamb, ensuring not a bone was broken, John 19:36. How could this be achieved while undergoing all the savage inhumanity inflicted on Jesus’ body? God is in control, and is our Deliverer. The resurrection was in sight all the while, and indeed with perfect timing, a reality.

A Christian Perspective on Psalm 32

Historians have pointed out that from the 4th century AD, the famous theologian Augustine, had this Psalm inscribed on his bedroom wall to help him memorize it better. Augustine claimed it as one of his favorite Psalms. It is very much in tune with Psalm 51, where a soul can rejoice in the wonders of God’s grace & mercy dealing with sin, comforting sorrow and instructing the ignorant. The word “Maskil” in the title is sometimes translated by Rabbi’s to mean “instruction”, and there are at least a dozen Psalms that have this word as part of the title. So here we know God expects us to learn something from His praise, read Colossians 3:16, and anticipate The Teacher’s instruction!

v1. David had plenty of opportunities to know the blessed refreshment of forgiveness in his own life. Israel’s great King – a man after God’s heart – nevertheless had some significant seasons of sin and spiritual decline. Notable among these were David’s deceitful time at Ziklag (1 Samuel 27, 29, 30) and wrongful murders (27:8-12). It was when David had a lot of mouths to feed with his mighty men and running for his life while King Saul chased him, besides, there weren’t a lot of job openings in Ziklag. So they began making guerrilla raids on the pagan villages. There were times in Israel’s history when God ordered His men to wipe out certain pagan groups as judgment for their sin. But God didn’t command David to do that here. David was acting on his own. These villagers were apparently allies with Achish. David didn’t want them talking. So he slaughtered them all and then lied to Achish so that he thought David was attacking Jewish villages. He’s playing a dangerous con game. When wrong thinking leads you into wrong actions and wrong company, then you feel compelled to engage in more wrong actions to cover your tracks and to maintain your lifestyle. Whenever a person gets snared by sin, there is always deception, both the sinner deceiving others and deceiving himself by rationalizing his sin: But you are just digging yourself deeper!

Then there was David’s personal sin with Bathsheba and public sin against Uriah (2 Samuel 11). After these incidents, David came to confession, repentance, and felt forgiveness so real, that he was moved not only to fast, but by God’s Spirit, to sing about it. We are blessed to have his written lyrics maintained for millenia to enjoy.  David knew what it was like to be a guilty sinner. He knew the seriousness of sin and how good it is to be truly forgiven. He knew – as Paul would later state in Romans 4:6-8 – the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from our own works. If David were judged on works alone, then The Righteous God must condemn him; nevertheless he knew by experience, blessed is he whose trespasses are forgiven, whose sin is covered. The psalmist declares that the forgiveness of sin, of whatever kind of sin, whether against God or man, whether great or small, whether deliberate or accidental, or whether by omission or commission, real total forgiveness is to be found in our God, Jesus Christ. Our challenge is to emulate Him, Eph. 4:32-5:1-2

v5,  Real, deep, true confession of sin has been a feature of every genuine new birth as we awaken spiritually to be alive in Christ. As demonstrated by the revival in Ephesus recorded in Acts 19:17-20. But there are too many who make confession, having no broken hearts, no humbled spirits. Know this, that even if there be ten thousand confessions, if they are made by hardened hearts, if they do not spring from sorrowful spirits, they are only additions to our guilt as they are just deep hidden mockeries of the Almighty’s offer to forgive the repentant, not the unrepentant. Integrity is everything!