1 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid.
3 Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
4 May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay.
5 May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away;
6 may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me,
8 may ruin overtake them by surprise may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.
10 My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O 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 my soul forlorn.
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; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.
17 O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you.
19 Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not 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 gape at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.”
22 O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, O 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 speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.
The more I read the psalms the more I see Jesus. As I am studying the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry on this earth (starting in Jericho and making the fourteen mile trip to Jerusalem) I can see Jesus praying to God this psalm. Knowing that this trip would end in his death Jesus still made the journey. To set the stage for this journey we see Christ in Matthew chapter nineteen giving us the true meaning of a relationship with God which is different than trying to be religious. The first was in reply to the Pharisees question “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” Marriage is the foundation of the most basic building block of our society (the family). Therefore I believe the question they ask challenged Jesus to give a black or white answer on this issue. Christ answer was simple. He answered them by using Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 and stating have not you read “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”. He finished his answer with this phase “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”.
But this answer did not address the issue that the Pharisee’s wanted answered. Their next question to him was really a challenge to God on why God’s purpose was changed. This is seen in their reply to his answer. “Why then, did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” In other words Moses had to make provisions so that if a marriage did not work out the relationship could be ended. Man had to intervene, because God’s way did not always work. However, Jesus replied the problem was not God, but man. He stated “Moses permitted divorce because your heart was hard, but that was not the way from the beginning.” which not only revealed issues about divorce, but all areas of living in society. The way of the Pharisee’s differed from the way of the Lord as pictured in Psalms 1 because of their harden hearts. We need to be careful therefore when asking the “Why then” questions concerning the basic truths found in God’s Word. As we study and look deeper into the issues of all the questions we have we will usually find the answer to be in our own hardness of our hearts.
The second example that was given to us in Matthew chapter nineteen that help picture the true meaning of a relationship with God was that of a little child. Children trust their parents and depend upon them completely. This stands in contrast to the old saying “God takes care of those who take care of themselves”. It seems today that a lot of believers have traded their trust and dependence on God in for the trust and dependence on their own abilities. When reading a Psalm like this I realize that to be Christ-like is to surrender all your burdens and worries to Him. Like a child looks to their parents to take care of everything so must we look to God to take care of all our issues.
The third example that was given to us in Matthew chapter nineteen that help picture the true meaning of a relationship with God was that of the rich young man. The question was simple “Teacher what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” The rich man was living a good life, but still felt he was missing or lacking something. That something was following God. Sometimes it hard to give up everything that you have worked for and achieved and to take the path to follow God. It is only after you lose what you considered the most precious thing to you that you learn that the most precious thing to you is your relationship to God. Once you realize this then the words “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace” from the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus will start to take place in your life. You will then become one of those who in verse twenty seven of this psalm will delight in God’s vindication and shout for joy and gladness; we will always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.