What Does Psalm 35:17 Mean?

Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, My only life from the lions.

Psalm 35:17(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

We live in a world where truth is often twisted and justice frequently remains undone, and this is often reflected in the Book of Psalms. Many of David's writings bewail the injustices of life, where the innocent are hounded or persecuted, while the guilty appear to prosper and go unpunished.

The first few verses of Psalm 35 reveal David's heartfelt lament over the unjustified opposition of his mean-spirited persecutors - causing David to cry out to the Lord to avenge him and deliver him from his oppressors. In his distress, David pleads with the Lord to, "Let those who seek to kill me be disgraced and humiliated, and let those who plan to harm me be turned back and ashamed." 

While the psalm opens with his plaintive lament for the injustices of his adversaries, the middle section finds David crying out for deliverance. He asks the Lord to plead his case, champion his cause, rout his enemies, and save Him from those who hate him without a cause and desire his downfall and death.

Being unjustly accused is of great distress to those that are innocent of any crime and repaying good with evil or receiving malice for kindness caused David to mourn over his condition and fast and pray for God's intervention. "Lord, how long will You look on?" was David's pitiful cry to the Lord. "Rescue my soul from their ravages. Save my life from the lions."

He may have been in deep distress, but David did not question God's faithfulness, nor did he doubt His goodness and mercy. David may have lamented his plight, but he never denied the God of his salvation... he simply cried out to Him to act on his behalf. He cried to the Lord to delay no further in rescuing him, but to take action on his behalf, without delay.

David acknowledged his faith in God when he called on the Lord to avenge him, rescue his soul from the bitter raging of his enemies, and save his life from his adversaries who were baying for his downfall and clamouring for his defeat. No wonder this man cried out, "LORD, how long will You look on? LORD, rescue my soul from their ravages and LORD, save My only life from the lions."

Despite his distress and cries for vindication, David finished his lament with a rejoicing song of praise and thanksgiving, "Let them shout for joy and rejoice," he cried out in the final verse, "Let them say continually, 'The LORD be magnified, because He delights in the prosperity of His servant. My tongue shall declare Your righteousness and my voice will sing Your praise all day long.'"  

No matter what difficulties and dangers God's people are going through, we have an assurance that He will hear and answer our prayers. When being falsely accused or when facing great danger, the Lord has promised to vindicate His people and rescue us from the ravages of those that hate us, "He will save us from the lion's mouth and the horns of the wild oxen," because we are His children and He is our God. We can declare with authority, "What can man do to us?" when we are in Christ.

Today we live in an increasingly disturbing environment - a topsy-turvy world where right is called wrong and evil is considered to be good, and the people of God are calling out to the Lord with increasing concern and in deepening distress. We wonder how long the Lord can allow the evils of this world system and the disgusting acts of fallen man to continue. Many of His children grieve to witness the injustice that is taking place today, in the mighty corridors of world powers and in the secret shadows of dark places.

It seems that for too long believers have cried out to the Lord for vengeance on those that perpetrate evil and for justice to be meted out to evil-doers and respite for those that are abused by them. But God is still in control, and every day is one more day of grace, when men and women are saved through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord... but a day is coming when He will return to put all wrongs right and judge the world in righteousness.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise and thank You that You are in control of this world, and will one day be moved to bring in Your rule of righteousness, and vindicate those that have been unjustly accused or abused. Thank You, Father, that You are the One Who places men in power and brings down rulers, in order to forward Your perfect plan of salvation for the redemption of the world. Thank You for men like David, who have gone before us, but have set an example in trusting You to rescue their soul from the ravages of this world system. I pray that no matter what I face in the days ahead I will trust You in all things and bring glory to Your holy name, AMEN.

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