No psalm better illustrates the observation that “God has not promised us smooth sailing, just safe passage” than does Psalm 35. David is in stormy waters up to his eyes. His ship of faith is sailing among those who: strive with him (v. 1), fight against him (v. 1), pursue him (v. 3), seek his life (v. 4), plot his hurt (v. 4), hide a net for him in a pit for no good reason (v. 7), are fierce witnesses against him (v. 11), reward evil for good (v. 12), rejoice in his adversity (v. 15), attack him (v. 15), tear at him without ceasing (v. 15), gnash their teeth at him (v. 16), hate him without a cause (v. 19), and open their mouths wide against him as false witnesses (v. 21).
David’s response is to pray for Jehovah’s deliverance (vv. 1-8) and to anticipate his joyous response to God’s forthcoming answer to his prayer (vv. 9-10). What beautiful trust is expressed in: “Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler and stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear and stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation. Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them. For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall. 9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, ‘Lord, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?’”
Pseudo hope is wishful thinking of pie-in-the-sky that is eclipsed behind the first dark cloud of an approaching storm; genuine hope is an anchor of the soul that is sure and steadfast during the worst of life’s troublesome storms. Which do you have?