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Psalm 35 is a prayer that is aimed against the enemies of King David. I feel the best way to pray this Psalm is to ask God for victory over three enemies we all face: the world’s system, our own self-centered will, and the devil.
The first two blog articles on Psalm 35 examined the devil and our self-will as enemies. Today’s article will focus on the world’s system.
Jesus and the World
One of the most famous verses in the Bible declares God’s profound love for the world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3.16).
The greatest news of all time declares that God loves every person on earth with a personal and redeeming love. However, that does not mean that God loves the world’s system.
In fact, John writes: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world — the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches — comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever” (1 John 2.15-17).
Let’s examine what John has to say about the world’s system.
(1) The world’s system is characterized by the desire of humankind’s self-will that lives in opposition to God.
(2) The pride of human self-sufficiency is at the root of this system. The world’s system remains separate from God’s will, so it can pursue greed and materialism that is at its heart.
(3) The world’s system will not be redeemed, but will be replaced by the kingdom of God.
Once again, John wrote, “We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5.19).
Since the world’s system lies under the power and direction of the devil, we are instructed by Jesus to live contrary to this evil system.
He taught us to pray,
“Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6.10).
He also taught us to seek his kingdom, rather than to be controlled by the present day world system.
He said, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6.33).
It’s Hard to Escape the World
The night before his crucifixion Jesus prayed and said, “I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me . . . And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me so that they may be one, as we are one” (John 17.9-11).
Notice, Jesus did not pray for the world’s system, but he prayed for his followers who must live in this system that is under the influence of the evil one. He prayed for our protection and unity.
Even the greatest Christians are influenced by the environment in which they live. The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once met the equally famous American minister, Dwight L. Moody.
As the story goes, Spurgeon welcomed Moody to his home smoking a big cigar. Moody’s response was, “Ha! What are you, a man of God, doing smoking such a vile thing!”
Spurgeon’s response was to poke Moody’s rather large stomach and say, “Ha! What are you, a man of God, sporting such a large stomach!”
We can laugh at this story, but the influence of the world’s system colors all of our lives in every generation, often to our regret. It weaves itself into the fabric of our lives, just as polyester is woven into cotton.
Prayer for Clarity
I considered providing examples of how the world’s system colors our lives, from migrant workers providing us inexpensive vegetables to child slaves mining minerals that are used in our smart phones.
However, I think the best way to approach this subject is for us to pray about the world’s system by using the remaining verses of Psalm 35. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to show us what he wants us to know, as we seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness.
As in previous articles, there will be suggested prayers from Psalm 35 for victory over the world’s system.
Verse 19 – Don’t let my enemies, those liars,
gloat over my defeat.
Don’t let those who hate me for no reason
smirk with delight over my sorrow.
Dear God, the world’s system lies to me. Advertising and social media seeks to capture my mind with the pride and self-will of the evil one. Show me their lies and don’t let them control my mind and behavior.
Verse 20 – They do not speak in a friendly way;
instead they invent all kinds of lies about peace-loving people.
Dear God, the world’s system is under the rule of the thief who want so steal, kill and destroy life. Just as Jesus prayed for our unity, I pray that you reveal to me the lies that seek to divide us. Please protect me from this deception.
Verse 23 – Rouse yourself, O Lord, and defend me;
rise up, my God, and plead my cause.
Dear God, I am thankful that you will defend me from the influence of the world’s system. Please protect me from being swallowed up by the greed and pride of this world.
Verse 26 – May those who gloat over my suffering
be completely defeated and confused;
may those who claim to be better than I am
be covered with shame and disgrace.
Dear God, the world’s system is destined for defeat. Your kingdom will rule in glory. I pray that you deliver us from the shame and disgrace that comes when we join forces with the world’s system. Give us the grace to seek your kingdom today.
Verse 28 – Then I will proclaim your righteousness,
and I will praise you all day long.
Dear God, I praise you that you have given me insight about the way the world’s system controls our lives. I seek your kingdom and your righteousness today, and I will praise you all day today.
May We Pray for You?
Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team, who is honored to pray for you. Email me at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for you.