Today’s reading is Psalm 35.
Without cause, they hid a net to trap the psalmist. Without cause, they dug a pit for the psalmist to fall in. Why? Because without cause, they hated the psalmist. But who is it they really hate without cause?
John 15:25 explains they really hate Jesus without cause. Once again, while this psalm is about David, it is ultimately about Jesus.
Did you notice the connection to Psalm 22, a psalm everyone agrees is about Jesus because He quotes it on the cross? In Psalm 22:21-22, the big shift in the psalm happens. The speaker is saved from the mouth of the lion. Then He will praise God in the midst of the congregation. In Psalm 35:17, He asks to be rescued from the lions. In vs. 18, He promises to thank God in the congregation.
Psalm 35 is not a foretelling of the Messiah, of Jesus. However, when Jesus is falsely accused and the enemies put Him on trial, threatening His life, we say, “Hmmmm…that sounds kind of like a guy who would pray, ‘Contend for those who contend with me.'” When we hear about Jesus facing traps, false accusers, malicious witnesses, folks who rejoice at His death, we say, “I think I’ve read about something like this before.” When we hear about people testifying to the things they saw from Jesus, but they are lies, we think about those who cry, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!” And, of course, did you read what I shared with your kids yesterday? When we hear specifically about a Jesus whose bones were unbroken, we can’t help but come back to this psalm and the previous to read of one whose bones are unbroken (Psalm 34:20) and those same bones rejoice (Psalm 35:9-10). When we witness Jesus praying three times in Gethsemane, we are reminded of the triple prayer of request for deliverance in Psalm 35.
As with other psalms, the point is not so much reading a foretelling prophecy and seeing its fulfillment in Jesus as if it is proof that Jesus really is the Messiah. Rather, its about recognizing that Jesus did more than fulfill foretelling prophecies. Rather, He reiterated David. He reiterated Israel. He fulfilled the entire Old Testament story, walking in the footsteps of so many of God’s servants, but doing so perfectly and without mistake.
After all, as we say again and again, David can only claim that there was no cause to hate him in a modified sense. For instance, I think Ahithophel had all kind of cause to hate David (see 2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34). But there was absolutely no reason to hate Jesus. Even Pilate knew he was innocent.
The psalm divides the world into two groups: those who deny the righteousness of Jesus and those who delight in the righteousness of Jesus. Let us be those who delight in it. Let us be those who shout for joy and are glad that the Lord delighted in the welfare of Jesus, His Servant, and delivered His soul from the grave.
Next week’s reading is Psalm 36.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, do you remember Psalm 1? That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
Do you remember the difference between the blessed and the wicked? The blessed were like a tree planted by streams of water. The wicked were like chaff that the wind drives away. The Lord knows the way of the righteous. But the way of the wicked perishes.
Now, go back and read Psalm 35:5-6:
The wicked of Psalm 35 are the same as the wicked of Psalm 1. There the dividing line was the relationship to God’s law. Here, the dividing line is Jesus. Psalm 35 is about the Lord’s servant (vs. 27), which here actually refers to the Lord’s King. Some people rejoice to see the King suffer and fall. Others rejoice to see Him vindicated.
Jesus is the Lord’s King. Many today don’t exactly rejoice at Jesus’s death. They simply ignore it. It doesn’t mean anything to them. They dismiss it. Though they don’t realize it, they actually testify about it falsely. That is, they don’t say about that death what God says about it. But the bigger problem is they also ignore the resurrection. They don’t rejoice at Jesus’s vindication.
We need to be different. We need to be people who mourn and lament at Jesus’s death, but who rejoice at His resurrection and vindication. When He calls us to, we need to shout for joy and be glad. He is our King. He is victorious. We need to listen to His praise and His testimony of the Lord’s righteousness, and we need to follow Him. We are only blessed if we do.
Praise the Lord!