The 35th Psalm is a puzzling and then encouraging.
The Psalmist is describing the present narrative of his life. It is difficult. People make it difficult to be him. They contend with him and fight with him (v.1), devise evil for him (v.4) and dig a pit for his life (v.7). The opposition persistently opposes him.
If you read through the Psalm and begin interrogating it, you will find one of your key questions left unanswered. Why? Why are they opposing him like this? What did he do to them? He seems to have been quite nice and considerate to them actually (v.13-14). So why all of this scornful opposition?
It is puzzling but it is not incomplete. The point of the Psalm is not to simply highlight presence and power of the opponents but the presence and power of God! Throughout the Psalmist’s tearful narrative there is a thread of covenant faithfulness, sovereign power, and divine purpose in the midst of it. In other words, God is fully aware of this and in control of it.
This is of utmost importance whenever Christians face difficulty. It may be spiritual persecution, social pinching, physical suffering, or just the chaffing of life in a fallen world. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our present realities are neither a surprise to God nor a subversion to his plan. What’s more, we can be assured that since he is our Father, by means of gospel adoption, then every station of life is a station ordained by love. Difficulty does not mean desertion. If there was a better situation to be in at the present moment then divine love and wisdom would have put you there. All things are good for your soul and abound for God’s glory.
This is where the encouragement comes in. The Psalmist knows that God sees (v.22) therefore he calls upon God for deliverance. He knows also that God promises to rescue, vindicate, and protect his people. He runs through the orchard of God’s Word and picks off promises like apples to nourish his weary soul!
Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. (Psalms 35:27, 28)
Sometimes we get frustrated when we lose mobile coverage in densly populated areas. It is difficult to communicate and get information. We can be assured however, that we are never out of range from God’s promise and power! Whatever season blows into our lives, whether blessing or trial, God is behind it for his glory and our good (James 1:3-5; Romans 8:28ff). This is an occasion not for despair but for delight!