Psalm 35:20
For they do not speak peace, but devise deceitful schemes against those who live quietly in the land.
Sermons
Sin Approaching the UnsuspectingThe Preacher's Lantern.Psalm 35:20
A Hard Case - a Very Hard One - Laid Before GodC. Clemance Psalm 35:1-28
The Flesh and the SpiritW. Forsyth Psalm 35:1-28
Pleas for TriumphC. Short Psalm 35:19-28


The substance of this third division is a continuous prayer that God would give him to triumph over his enemies; and the plans on which the prayer is grounded.

I. HE PRAYS THAT THE CAUSE OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS MAY NOT TRIUMPH.

1. The enmity of his enemies was without just cause. (Ver. 19.) To be unjustly accused wounds a good man very deeply.

2. He was the champion of public order and peace: and therefore they opposed him. (Ver. 20.) Employed deceitful words and schemes to disturb and overthrow the public peace. Bad men therefore.

3. God himself was the witness of their injustice and wickedness. (Ver. 21.) And cannot but interpose of his own righteous will.

4. He appeals to God on the ground of his personal righteousness. (Vers. 23, 24.) Not on the ground of his perfection; but he appeals to his upright aim and just purpose and general rectitude. The righteous God must therefore overthrow his enemies. God's righteousness, and his own could not both be defeated. Their just retribution was to be clothed with confusion and dishonour. The psalmist is so sure that his prayer will be answered and his enemies punished, that we have next. -

II. A GRATEFUL ANTICIPATION OF THE VICTORY.

1. He calls upon all who love righteousness to magnify the work of God. (Ver. 27, "who have pleasure in my justification, or righteousness.") The victory of the psalmist over his wicked enemies.

2. He himself will sing of the righteousness of God for ever. (Ver. 28, "all the day long.") We should praise God for ever as the Author of all our moral and spiritual victories. "Not unto us, but unto thy Name, O Lord," etc. - S.







They devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
"There is no temptation," said John of Wesel, one of the greatest of the pre-Lutheran reformers, "so great as not to be tempted at all." We have a vivid illustration of this in a picture given us by a late writer on natural history. When the wild horses of Mexico, he tells us, are grazing unconsciously in a prairie, there may sometimes be seen gathering in the distance a troop of wolves, whom hunger has driven out after food. At first the horses snuff up the scent and become alarmed, and as long as they continue so all is safe; for their fleetness puts a barrier between themselves and their assailants, which the latter are wholly unable to surmount. But so grave and innocent do the wolves look — so solely graminivorous and gentle — that their intended victims soon become relieved from all fear, and begin again quietly to graze upon the same spot. Presently, two of the older and more wary of the wolves stroll forth, as it were listlessly, and apparently for the mere purpose of pastime, sometimes advancing, sometimes retreating, and every now and then stopping to gambol with each other, as if to show their disengaged simplicity and buoyancy of heart. Again the horses become alarmed; but again, observing how very innocent and friendly their visitors appear, they fall once more to grazing secure on the fields. But the fatal moment has now come; and with an unerring spring, the nearest of the victims finds the fangs of one of his gaunt and wily pursuers fastened in his haunches, and those of another in his neck, and in a moment he is covered by the whole of the greedy pack that has been thus waiting till this moment to dash upon his prostrate frame. So it is that sin presents itself to the incautious soul. First it lounges listlessly in the distance, as if to show its harmlessness and disengagedness of purpose. Then, when suspicion is disarmed, it comes nearer still, gambolling about as if it was mere pastime. It is not till the soul feels its fangs that it discovers that it is now the victim and slave of a master whose bitter and cruel yoke must be borne, not only through time, but through eternity.

(The Preacher's Lantern.)

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