Scripture: Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” Psalm 35:1-3 ESV
Observation: In this prayer of deliverance, David petitions Yahweh to take up his cause and fight against his enemies. Using battle imagery, he calls on the Lord to take up his weapons of warfare and press into the conflict with the raging battle cry: “I am your salvation” (above verses). Israel’s king then turns his attention to his enemies and requests that his mighty God would reverse their evil machinations to their demise (verses 4-8). He then promises to exalt Yahwel’s strong arm of salvation (verse 9-10). Next, David revisits the evil intent of his enemies, asking how long the Lord will permit such unjust oppression, and again cries out for retribution (verses 11-26). Finally, he reiterates his promise to praise God “all the day long” (verse 28).
Takeaway: The imagery of warfare and our warrior God points us to the Cross of Christ. The Son of God took up his weapon, his very life, on a cross and conversely submitted to the enemy’s spear that pierced his side. Resultantly, Jesus reversed Satan’s evil plot to condemn us. For the Son of God, as he took his last breath, shouted his battle cry of salvation that caused the devil to shutter: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
So how do we respond to such good news? When we grow weary of life circumstances that weigh us down with feelings of defeat, we refocus on the Cross of Christ, reminding ourselves of our ultimate victory over unforgiven sin (the only enemy who could destroy our souls). Then, like David, we praise the Lord “all the day long.” For our great “I AM,” is our salvation and is enthroned on our praises (Psalm 22:3).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who brandished the supreme weapon of warfare in offering his life to bring us victory over our enemy, sin. Would you please help us refocus on the Cross when consumed with the temporal matters of life that distress us, that you might transform our fears of defeat into praises of triumph? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling