How often do we wish to vindicate ourselves? Or that we take hold of our own shield and buckler and defend our own lives? That we draw our spear and javelin against our pursuers? Fight in our name, advancing our kingdom, progressing our cause?
David relies on none of that. “Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!” Say to my soul, “I am your salvation“! (Psalm 35:3) Indeed, there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by men, the builders, which has become the cornerstone (Acts 4:11-12).
Can we truly say these words and rely on the LORD as our Saviour? Not just of salvation, but of our well-being, our welfare, our security? David yearns in confidence – let the Angel of the LORD, let the Anointed One, drive away the evil who are but chaff before the wind (35:5), that it is not I who pursues them; it is the Angel who pursues them as they tread on dark and slippery paths (35:6). The enemy relies on discord, relies on confusion, relies on miscommunication, relies on deceit (35:20) – indeed, the enemy need not have a “cause” to persecute you, me or anybody (35:7). Yet, may he have a taste of his own wickedness; may he be ensnared by his own entrapment, that the death he bestows on man be the remedy towards a life of re-birth in Christ. May the curse be turned into a blessing – who is like You, O Lord, who delivers the poor from the strong man, the robber (35:10)?
Malicious witnesses rise up, and as we love our enemies they spit in our face (35:11); and though they spat in our face, we will still afflict ourselves with fasting for we are without excuse (35:13), as if they were our very friend or brother. What conviction – and how ashamed should we be that we wish to take up our own sword and defend our lives. God’s economy looks beyond personal vindication – His vindication is also one which blesses His children and the children’s neighbour – be that Pharisee, Sadducee, or indeed from themselves. The enemy may gnash but we will continue to pray for them (35:15-18). It is by His righteousness that they should be dealt with – “Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me!” (Romans 12:20-21). Let the LORD decide according to His righteousness to clothe the enemy with shame and dishonour, instead of robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). For those who bless us, who delight in our righteousness as His children (Matthew 6:14-15; John 20:23), let them shout for joy and be glad that this is our God who delights in the welfare of his servant, by His Name, His Angel, who is the right arm of vindication and the God who comes to us as Second Adam.