Briefing: We live in a culture that likes to imagine heroes with superpowers who can swoop in and save the day. The theater is full of superhero movies.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 35.
On the Street: When I read verse 1, I immediately remembered something a good friend would tell me years ago. He would say, “Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.” In this verse, David is asking God to step in on his behalf when he has trouble. My friend would probably say it like this, “When trouble troubles you, ask God to trouble your trouble.”
Whenever we see David in trouble he is usually seeking God’s help. This is where we should all be in our relationship with God. God should always be our focus and our default response in any situation. Although David trusts God and believes He will be there for him, he still needs some reassurance. I often find, during low spots in my life when I cry out to God, I am really asking for His encouragement and confirmation that He is still on my side. I cannot think of a time when He did not give me some kind of boost to let me know He was there.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson used the phrase “all men are created equal”. I believe that is part of God’s design and His desire is for us to treat each other like this is true. Human beings are not this honorable. We spend our life in competition with each other, trying to get ahead by putting others down. This is the natural way of things, survival of the fittest.
God has not called mankind to live the natural way, His plan is for us to believe on His Son, repent of our sins and live a life dedicated to Him. This is not natural, it is supernatural. God wants us to be supernatural people, not relying on the old ways of giving in to the human nature. The only way men and women can treat each other in a loving and dignified way is to love the way Christ loved. In verse 10, David is asking for God to step in on behalf of the poor and needy because human nature is oppressing, abusing and taking advantage of them.
While we are on this earth in this human flesh, we must carry out the works God has for us. One of those works is to act supernaturally towards the people of our community. Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said all men are created equal. God created men to be loved and treated equal by each other. This is the Christian’s calling and, more importantly, the Christian peace officer’s calling.
Do you know who is responsible for the safety and security of your town or jurisdiction? It is your Chief, Sheriff, or boss. They are ultimately responsible. The officer may carry out his/her orders and may do the job but the boss is ultimately responsible. You are his/her deputy who is on the front lines of the community doing the work. It is the same with the Christian officer. We work for God. We are assigned the duty to carry out His laws, protecting and providing security for His people. We are also called to love them and treat them the way God desires.
When we love the way God calls us to love, it requires praying for your enemies. This is another example of being called to be supernatural. My nature does not want to pray for my enemies. My nature wants to see vengeance and revenge brought on them. When this inner struggle begins to play “tug of war” in my head, I have to take that thought captive to the obedience of Christ and act according to His will, not mine. David speaks to this in verse 13-14, “Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.”
David ends this Psalm in a way that became his trademark. No matter how bad things got, no matter how hard his enemies tried to do him harm, David always ended with praising God. He finishes Psalm 35 with, “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.”
Investigational Resources: Matthew 5:44.
Officer Safety Principle: When you find yourself in a battle with your human nature, be supernatural.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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