Opening Prayer

Father God, I really want to know you. It is my purpose and passion, my greatest need and most urgent desire.

Read PSALM 35

Psalm 35

Of David.

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor;
    arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin[a]
    against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
    “I am your salvation.”

May those who seek my life
    be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
    be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
    with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

Since they hid their net for me without cause
    and without cause dug a pit for me,
may ruin overtake them by surprise—
    may the net they hid entangle them,
    may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
    and delight in his salvation.
10 My whole being will exclaim,
    “Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
    the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
    they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good
    and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
    and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14     I went about mourning
    as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
    as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
    assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
    They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b]
    they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
    Rescue me from their ravages,
    my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
    among the throngs I will praise you.
19 Do not let those gloat over me
    who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
    maliciously wink the eye.
20 They do not speak peaceably,
    but devise false accusations
    against those who live quietly in the land.
21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we have seen it.”

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
    Do not be far from me, Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
    Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
    do not let them gloat over me.
25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
    or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 May all who gloat over my distress
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
    be clothed with shame and disgrace.
27 May those who delight in my vindication
    shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
    who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
    your praises all day long.


  1. Psalm 35:3 Or and block the way
  2. Psalm 35:16 Septuagint; Hebrew may mean Like an ungodly circle of mockers,

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


May we choose to be honest about our anger and pain, and find refuge in God.

Think Further

What makes the psalms so remarkable is their honesty and integrity in describing the many causes of the difficulties of the life of faith. In this psalm, we have an account of a desperate struggle resulting from the inexplicable behavior of former friends. The writer really wrestles with deep feelings of disappointment and resentment at the way he has been treated, reaching a temporary respite at verses 17 and 18, only for the conflict to be renewed before reaching equilibrium by the end. Is this ebb and flow, anger stilled by prayer, but then rising again in the wounded soul, not completely true to spiritual and psychological experience? The distress in this case is deepened by the memory of the passion with which the psalmist had once prayed for those who have turned upon him and accuse him unjustly.

Have you been wounded by the failure of former friends? When close and trusted colleagues become enemies and, perhaps in some internal power struggle, make false accusations, feelings like those in this psalm are neither surprising nor wrong. What matters is that we reach a point of resolution at which, with the psalmist, we take comfort in the support of people who stand with the truth and, together with them, discover refuge in the God who alone is the righteous judge. However, as the New Testament reminds us, we have a resource which was not available to the psalmist: ‘But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord … keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander’.1


Don’t be ashamed at righteous anger in the face of injustice; don’t allow that anger to take over your heart, which belongs to Christ.

Closing prayer

Lord, at times I do feel I am being picked on unfairly. Please keep me from being self-centered and bitter, and teach me lessons in my struggles.

Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by kingstar

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