been great hearing some thoughts from my friends and may have some more at a later stage but back to me for now… with psalm 35:
as i was reading this psalm [of david once again calling besmitement upon his enemies for all the nasty things they are doing or plotting against him] i had the thought that david’s only reference was the old testament God… now one of the big contentions of the Bible for a lot of people who don’t follow Jesus [and believe me, a whole lot of those who do as well] is that the God of the old testament seems to be different from the God of the new testament… old testament God = angry and violent and vindictive and new testament God = loving and full of grace and mercy – and a quick reading of the whole bible may help give you this opinion as there is a lot more killing in the old testament and appears to be a lot more forgiving and teaching on it in the new testament…
but a deeper reading will show that while God may change the way He interacts with people or reveals Himself to them, He doesn’t change in character… i assume this psalm is another of the pre-bathsheba stories of david’s life as he is once again appearing innocent while wanting all the ‘guilty’ around him to be taken down – and i imagine after that whole episode where he has received the punishment of his sin [loses the child conceived in sin] but also the forgiveness, grace and mercy of a loving God who will one day come Himself to bring release from the pain, sin and suffering of the world and bring the message of His heart of Love, Grace, Mercy and Freedom to us personally, that david would have had a different understanding of who God is and also chosen to be a lot more lenient on his enemies.
in the old testament we see a lot of God’s Grace, Mercy and Love shown in the way He holds back from destroying His people when they do the equivalent of showing Him the finger in disobedience time and time again and after every punishment He allows them to go through He always ends up rushing back with forgiveness and the next plan and opportunity for kingdom growth. and in the new testament we witness in the Acts 5 story of ananias and sapphira how God is still able to step in and say “enough is enough” – I am Loving, Gracious and Merciful but also I am a Holy God and will not just sit back and watch my name and character be mocked without ever intervening… so two examples of which there are more of the old testament God suddenly seeming very new testament and vice versa – God doesn’t change – His character and heart are consistent throughout Scripture even if His methods, style and ways of communication and even being followed might.
so the psalm made me want to introduce David to the new testament understanding of God as we see Him portrayed in Jesus Christ with the words and life on Love and Forgiveness and cheek-turning and enemy-Loving and so on…
and then i really loved verse ten which says, ‘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.”’
Both the question of “who is like You, Love?” with the obvious answer of “No-one!” And the heart for the poor and needy, the least of these, who are shown to be on God’s heart all the way through the story of the bible… and the strength of the statement coming from the exclamation of the writer’s whole being. definitely words to live by.