Cover to Cover
Reading: Psalms 35-38
Focus: Psalm 35
Nowadays, it seems almost sacrilegious to consider that we would ask God to get involved in our fights. The notion of God fighting our battles almost seems foreign to us, rather we often, instead, ask for strength and wisdom to deal with our own situation and problems. However, as we look through the Old Testament, and here in this psalm (Psalm 35), the notion that we would simply ask God for strength doesn’t appear. The picture painted throughout the Old Testament and this psalm is that God plays an active role in our battles. In fact, for most of the ancients, life was seen through the will of the heavens.
The psalmist begins with a petition for God to rise up in battle, followed by details of the situation that he finds himself in. In short, the psalmist asks God to take care of his enemies. However, none of this is a selfish endeavour; in fact, remembering that life is seen through the will of the heavens, the psalmist desires that God be honoured and glorified. This is a fight for God’s name! As God is victorious, the psalmist will praise Him in the audience of all and God is exalted. The last line of the psalm says it all: “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.”
Where is this sort of attitude today? Where is the perspective that our God doesn’t only seek that we are victorious but that He is the cause and means of our victory? God doesn’t just want to be the supporting regiment in life’s battle, He desires to be on the front line of battle! Look through the Exodus, every battle that the Israelites gave to God, there was victory! Every battle they sought to fight on their own, there was defeat! Why have we suddenly decided that we need to take up the sword in our hands, when God desires to go before us and claim the victory? Is it pride? Is it arrogance? Where have we gone wrong?
What is more, this is not for our own benefit, nor is it for our own glory when God is victorious. When God fights the battle, He receives all the glory! When we fight, whether we like it or not, as those who stand for His name, we dishonour Him and we bring shame to His name because we fail. I know I’m guilty, I’ve failed to step aside and allow my God to fight my fights. Instead, I’ve taken up sword and shield, His sword and shield, and sought to gain victory, albeit for Him, but utterly and miserably failed.
Next Reading: Psalms 39-44