Being Misunderstood

Peter Barnes: Psalm 35

(9 September 2018)


We are all prone rather too readily to sing the ‘I am so misunderstood’ song. Tremper Longman says that David is being falsely accused of a capital crime. This is an imprecatory Psalm, like Psalms 7, 69, 109 and others.
1. Suffering unfair attacks in life.

– 35:1-10. David’s life is being threatened, and probably during the days of Saul. He is also getting slandered – 35:11-12. This points to the yet more malice directed against the sinless son of David – Matt.26:59-61.

2. Making sure we have integrity.

– 35:7, 19, 11-14. Calvin cites Cicero’s saying that ‘There is no theatre more beautiful than a good conscience.’ These people are after David, but he had borne them no ill-will. Prov.24:17-18.

– David’s empathy for his enemies was not reciprocated – 35:15. Calvin understands the ‘stumbling’ to refer to sickness. David prayed for them when they were sick, but they rejoiced at his illness. People whom he did not know were hostile to him.

– John 15:25. How could people hate the Saviour? But they did, and they do!
3. Responding with prayer and praise.

(a) David prays to be rescued – 35:17, 22-25.

(b) David prays that God would put his enemies to shame – 35:1-6, 8, 26; note Rev.18:20. Even in 1 Peter 2:21-23 Christ entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly (cf. Gen.18:25).

(c) David finds peace and joy in praise – 35:27-28. Augustine: ‘Remain steadfastly humble in God, and you will not greatly care what is said about you.’