“Big Brother, Part 1” – One Year Bible Reading (Psalms/Proverbs) – February 15

Psalm 35:1-16   A Lament by David

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Psalm 35:1-16   Big Brother, Part 1

1 John 2:9-11  says, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.  The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  If that is true, what can anyone do with Psalm 35?

Psalm 35 is asking God to whack someone else in the head.  I’m imagining there are more Christians out there that would like to whack me in the head than vice versa.  And the Scripture is clear, if someone harms us, Christian or non-Christian, we are to let God do His thing and we’re are to get out of the way.  The exception is that I believe we are allowed to defend ourselves against those that would harm us.  Jesus allowed his disciples to bring swords with them when they went out on mission trips and when He knew He would not be there to protect them (cf. Luke 22:36, 38).

In general, we should allow the Lord to execute vengeances, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).

One author, who writes primarily about spiritual warfare, believes Psalm 35 is a good example of a prayer to pray against demons when they strike.  I think it is a good prayer to pray when we are attacked by others, leaving vengeance to the Lord.  But it is also a good venting mechanism.  It allows us to get our feelings out.

David most likely penned this one while being relentlessly pursued by King Saul.  David had Saul trapped twice and could have offed him but backed out of the way.  He did not want to be responsible for being outside of God’s will (1 Sam. 24; 26).  Are you willing to allow others out of their predicaments so that God can deal with them directly?  David let Saul go twice.  It is possible that David was praying a prayer like the one in Ps. 35 against those who stirred up Saul’s anger against David.  I think it is likely that David was just venting.

The New Testament is clear that we need to allow God to protect us (Rom. 12:19) but we are also allowed to protect ourselves (cf. 2 Corinthians, a defense by Paul against those who attacked his ministry).

David asked that the Lord fight those who attack us (v. 1).  Jesus is our older brother (cf. Heb. 2:11).  If you can’t rely on your older brother to come to your defense, who can you rely on?

We should rely on God to defend us with His armor, a small buckler shield, a spear, and a battle axe (vv. 2-3).  That should be enough to destroy anyone who’s bothering you!  He will turn them to “dust in the wind” (v. 5).

Would you want Jesus chasing you?  In verse 6, David calls for “the angel of the Lord,” often a reference to Jesus Himself in the OT, to follow after his enemies.  There’s the big brother thing again.

I always wondered why bullies just seem to randomly pick on people.  They seem to attack without cause (v. 7).  Of course, the reason could be that Satan sent them.  Bullies always pick on people they think they can easily defeat.  That’s why big brothers are so effective.  They’re usually bigger than your enemies.

I don’t think David is praying anything unfair.  He just asked that they trip over their own nets (v. 8, cf. Ps. 64, it’s called talionic justice).  That seems fair.  And it’s also kind of funny, too, when you think of it.  I used to get bullied when I was a kid.  Then eventually, after a growth spurt, the bullies were caught in their own trap.  Or, as we used to say back then in New Jersey, “You started it, we’re going to finish it.”

Ever watch those movies where you get really sick of the bad guy and then the bad guy gets his “comeuppance” at the end of the movie?  Don’t you love it?  Inevitably, that happens when you trust the Lord (vv. 9-10).

The crazy thing is when people you thought were your friends start attacking you (vv. 11-16).  How does that happen?  Again, perhaps a time to pray against the demons that are influencing your friends.  If you are thinking about going into the ministry, think again.  You’ll run into this sort of thing a lot, if you are really trying to serve the Lord (cf. 2 Tim. 3:12).

At our church in the country, we understood verse 16, “Like godless jesters at a feast, they gnashed at me with their teeth.”  We called it the business meeting.

Proverbs 9:11-12    When Life Is No Party

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If you want to live a long life, the Bible tells us how to do that:  obey your parents.  It’s fifth in a list of ten commandments (cf. Exod. 20:12).

Here Wisdom agrees, listen to her and you will live a longer life (v. 11).  Wisdom is like a parent.

If you want to be a wise guy, you will be blessed (v. 12a).  If you want to be a mocker, you will suffer for it and people will ask you to leave their parties (v. 12b).  That is, unless the party is filled with mockers but then you will feel alone when you bear the brunt of their mockery.  You’ll wish you had left the party.

3 thoughts on ““Big Brother, Part 1” – One Year Bible Reading (Psalms/Proverbs) – February 15

  1. Rick the amazing thing is that Kerry Livgren wrote that before he was saved!

    Regina, funny now but not as funny then. 🙂

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