10/2 – Who is Like You? (Psalm 35)
Introduction — Here David offers praise mingled with lament. He is in a tough, tough place. Evil men seek to shame and dishonor him. They devise wicked schemes against him. They set traps for him. David’s despair is intense and personal. Yet, even though these malicious witness rise up against him, David trusts in the Lord. His soul rejoices in the Lord, exulting in His salvation. With every part of who he is (all my bones), David says, “LORD, who is like You, who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, and the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” David sees that the Lord fights His battles. David is certain that the Lord is his rescue. There is no other like the Lord. David magnifies the Lord. David cries out to the Lord. David knows that there is no one like the Lord. How about us? Do we consider the majesty and glory of the Lord? Do we seek Him in our desperate times? Do we seek Him in our delightful times? Do we praise Him at all times? Do we bolster one another’s faith or do we take jabs at each other? Do we seek the Lord’s protection from evil? Do we thank Him for His salvation? With every fiber of our bodies, do we magnify the Lord? Do we unite in honoring the Lord? Do we declare that there is no one like the Lord?
From the depth of my soul I will rejoice in the Lord. From the depth of my soul I will cry out to the Lord. From the depth of my soul I will say that there is no one like the Lord. I will believe the Lord no matter what.
You are a mighty warrior, Lord; there is no one like You. (1-8)
Comments: David urgently pleads with the Lord to fight for him. David is not seeking his own vengeance on these enemies. Rather, he is asking the Lord, the mighty warrior, and perfect lawyer to contend with these former friends. These individuals fight against the king, but also against the King of kings. They fight against the Lord Himself. Through their evil plots, these enemies hurt innocent people. These enemies ignore justice and mercy. These enemies threaten the stability of the nation. And David’s seen enough. He asks the Lord to move quickly against these wicked men. “Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me,” he urges. But lest he believes that he won the victory, David asks the LORD to remind him, to say to his soul, “I am your salvation.” David wants and seeks this assurance: the LORD is both his victor and victory. When the battle rages, David runs to the Lord. David cries out to the Lord. David pleads with the Lord.
Questions: How about me? Do I run to the Lord? Do I cry out to Him in the midst of turmoil? Do I ask Him to fight my battles? Do I trust that He is a mighty warrior? Do I believe there is no one like Him? Illustration: But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” ~ Exodus 14:13-14
Application: From the depth of my soul I will cry out to the Lord. I will seek Him in my deepest trials. I will trust Him in my darkest nights. I will hold to Him. I will believe Him for He is my victory. I will declare, “Lord, You are a mighty warrior. There is no one like You.”
You are a wondrous savior, Lord; there is no one like You. (9-21)
Comments: David directs His full praise to the Lord in spite of the full onslaught of his enemies’ wicked schemes. David sings, “My soul shall rejoice in the LORD; it shall exult in His salvation. With all that he has, David rejoices. With all of his bones, David rejoices. From the depth of his soul, David rejoices. His current circumstance is grave, but David knows that the Lord is great. David knows that the Lord is faithful. David knows that the Lord is His savior. So, David pledges to give thanks to the Lord in the great congregation, to praise Him among a vast group of godly people. The total depravity of these enemies underscores David’s need for a total rescue from a perfect savior. And so, David looks to the Lord, his perfect and wondrous savior. He cries out to the Lord for deliverance. “Rescue my soul from their ravages,” David asks.
Questions: How about me? Do I look to the Lord for deliverance? Do I seek His rescue? Do I praise Him in my most desperate moments? Do I rejoice in His salvation? Do I thank Him for His rescue? Do I praise Him from the depth of my soul? Do I see the wonder of who He is?
Illustration: The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him. ~ Exodus 15:2
Application: From the depth of my soul I will rejoice in the Lord. I will seek Him in my deepest trials. I will trust Him in my darkest nights. I will hold to Him. I will believe Him for He is my salvation. I will declare, “Lord, You are a wondrous Savior. There is no one like You.”
You are a righteous judge, Lord; there is no one like You. (22-28)
Comments: David knows that the Lord knows what’s happening. David is aware that the Lord is aware of these enemies. So, he asks the Lord to bring swift, perfect justice to these enemies. And in a most personal way (my God and my Lord), David urges the Lord to clear his name. “Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me.” As David sees the Lord draw close to him, he draws close to the Lord. And as he sees the Lord judge according to His righteousness, David must declare his praise for the Lord. “My tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long.” David also asks the Lord to draw those godly people close who are ready and willing to praise the Lord with him. Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; and let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, who delights in the prosperity of His servant.” Questions: How about me? Do I long to see the Lord’s justice? Do I long for His righteousness to prevail? Do I desire to gather with those who praise Him? Do I praise Him always? Do I see that there is no one like the Lord?
Illustration: Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff. ~ Exodus 15:6-7
Application: From the depth of my soul I will draw near to the Lord. I will seek Him in my deepest trials. I will trust Him in my darkest nights. I will hold to Him. I will believe Him for He is my salvation. I will declare, “Lord, You are a righteous judge. There is no one like You.”
Word Study for Psalm 35
1 contend (rib—to strive; quarrel; bring legal charges; oppose; dispute)
1 fight (laham—to come to blows; to war; struggle; attack; do battle)
3 salvation (yesuah—help; victory; safety; rescue; deliverance; conquering; Savior)
4 turned (sug—to diverge; withdraw; shrink back; move away; retreat)
9 soul (nepes—neck; throat; breath; life; self; person; living being; heart)
9 rejoice (gil—to shout in exultation; shout with joy; shriek ecstatically; tremble)
10 bones (esem—skeleton; substance; essence; vigor; life; body)
10 delivers (nasal—to pull out; save; secure; deliver; rescue; take away; snatch away)
11 malicious (hamas—violence; wrong; oppression; that which is gained by violence; fierce; destruction)
12 bereavement (sekol—sadness; lonely; distress; loss of a child; left by all)
14 mourning (qadar—to become dark; dull; dirty; to be foul; turbid; to be ashy; sackcloth)
16 godless (hanep—profane; irreligious; polluted; defiled; to be perverted; corrupt; wicked)
16 jesters (laeg—mocking; stammering; speaking in a barbarous, foreign tongue; scoffer; ridicule)
20 deceitful (mirmah—trick; fraud; disillusionment; treachery; betrayal; riches gained by fraud)
23 stir up (ur—alert; rouse; be ready for action; awake; to be hot; watchful)
28 declare (hagah—growl; mutter; utter; speak; ponder; give serious thought to; muse; meditate)
28 righteousness (sedeq—accuracy; what is correct; the right thing; straight; just; honesty; fairness)
Application for Psalm 35
Let’s be honest in our prayers to the Lord.
Let’s be specific in our prayers to the Lord.
Let’s see the Lord as our help, our rescue.
Let’s remember that the Lord fights our battles.
Let’s rejoice in the Lord for His salvation.
Let’s know to our core that there is no other like the Lord.
Let’s refuse to do life with godless people.
Let’s seek the Lord’s protection from evil.
Let’s unite with those who also seek to please the Lord.
Let’s magnify the Lord together.
Gospel Connections for Psalm 35
Jesus is our champion. He is our shield. He is our salvation. Evil men pursued Him. They set traps for Him. They shamed and dishonored Him. They called malicious witnesses to testify against Him. They repaid His good for evil. But Jesus paid back their evil with good. He humbled Himself. He prayed for those who persecuted Him. Though they were like godless jesters, hurling insults at Him, Jesus forgave them. Though they placed Him in a tomb, thinking that death would swallow Him, Jesus rose in joyful victory. Jesus is Lord over all. Jesus is our champion.
Thoughts and Quotes for Psalm 35
What defines us as Christians is not most profoundly that we have come to know him but that he took note of us and made us his own. ~ John Piper
Our duty is found in the revealed will of God in the Scriptures. Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God as He works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for our good and His glory. ~ Jerry Bridges
What we do every time we pray is to confess our impotence and God's sovereignty. ~ J.I. Packer
Nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory. ~ Arthur W. Pink
Lukewarm living and claiming Christ's name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God. ~ Francis Chan