Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 12 December 2022
Page 13

Priscilla's PageEditor's Note

Bible Wardrobes and the Christian
Woman’s Spiritual Clothing:
The Sackcloth Wardrobe

Beth Johnson

Beth Johnson“But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart” (Psalm 35:13 NKJV). Often in Scripture, we read of those who were clothed in sackcloth, humbling themselves before God so that their prayers would be heard. The city of Nineveh not only clothed the people in sackcloth but also the animals to show their contrite hearts (Jonah 3:8).

If David’s prayer in Psalm 35:1-28 were for Absalom and the traitors who conspired with him to remove David from the throne, then it has heavy implications. If it were for King Saul or some other enemy, we can only imagine its depth of meaning.

David contrasted the enemy’s conduct with his own. He talked of his past life and about the acts of kindness that he had shown in times of trouble, as more deeply marking the evils of his enemies’ conduct now. David begged the Lord to plead his cause and to fight against them that fight him. He said, ‘Stand for me! Confuse the enemy! Blow them away like chaff! (Psalm 35:2-5). He even begged the Lord to make their way dark and slippery; David pleaded that his enemies would fall into their own pit that they had dug to snare him (Psalm 35:6-8). David had given up on saving their souls though he apparently had tried many times in the past. These were men (or women) who were bound to David by the bands and ties of physical life – people he knew well.

David was brought low because of the false witnesses who laid things to his charge beyond that he never dreamed. Yet, those same people had been the object of his fasting and prayers in other days. When they had been in distress, he had put on sackcloth and afflicted his soul for their sakes. He had humbled himself before God to beg for their health or for their position before the Almighty. Surely in times past he had prayed for Absalom as he watched the turn of his character or as he had witnessed his misconduct. More than anything, he would have wanted his own son to be righteous before God, but now with the insurrection, he realized there was no hope for his soul or for the souls of the ones with him. David knew that Absalom and his companions hated him without a cause.

David’s final thoughts regarding the actions of his enemies as they contrasted with his own actions were that the Lord would clothe them with shame and dishonor because they had returned evil for his good. Our own hearts need to be humble to the point we would be willing to clothe ourselves in sackcloth to pray for our enemies, even if they do not respond well. They will be clothed in shame if they spurn our efforts at peace.

Will our clothing be sackcloth or shame (Job 8:22; Psalm 109:29; 132:18)? Will we humble ourselves before the Almighty, or will we proudly go our thankless way and return evil for the good others do for us?


  1. Define sackcloth and tell why it was worn.
  2. Sackcloth has always carried with it the idea of one of the Christian virtues. With what virtue should we be clothed (1 Peter 5:5)?
  3. How serious is the sin of ingratitude (Romans 1:21)?
  4. Under the Law of Moses, men were commanded to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is it right today to take vengeance or to pray for the destruction of our enemies (Matthew 5:38-42; Romans 12:19)?
  5. How many good deeds had David done for King Saul?
  6. How did Saul react?
  7. What good had David done for his son Absalom?
  8. How did Absalom respond?
  9. What is the higher law for Christians today (Luke 6:35)?
  10. King Ahab was one of the worst kings in the history of Israel. Why did God postpone His judgment against Ahab and give him another chance to live after he had determined to destroy him and his descendants (1 Kings 21:21-29)?

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