Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Week Twenty-Seven - Enemies

We tend to use the book of Psalms for encouragement and memorizing positive verses. But there is nearly an equal number of negative verses on persecution, vengeance, and enemies that we prefer to overlook. We avoid them because they remind us of serious truths: God is angry with the wicked every day, we will give an account of every word, or that God is an all-consuming fire and judgment is coming, etc. We want things sweet, but we live in the nasty now and now. We can’t bury our heads in the sand or think bad or sad things will ever happen.


God has never hidden the harsh reality of life. He is forthright when He says, “Yea, all that will live godly will suffer persecution.” Will…meaning there is no way to avoid it.


I’m not promoting an attitude of dejection or resignation, but one of acceptance that comes with a resolve that says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). We need not fear afflictions and enemies, but continue armed by faith.


Having said that, it still catches us off guard and hurts to the core when wounded by a friend or attacked by an enemy. Forgive me when I say, “That’s fine. It should hurt.” Hurting means we care. Hurting alerts us to action and places us on-point to make godly decisions.


To be honest, very few of us wield our spiritual sword first when we are attacked by an enemy. We usually let our hearts fall to our sleeve and sputter out some feeble response, or lash back with an equally verbal lunge and wind up in tears with a situation heightened and us rocking on our heels.


But it need not be that way. If we take off our rose-colored glasses, dawn our spiritual armor, and walk daily in the Spirit, we will most usually see the enemy’s advance. If he jumps out of the bushes, we are already prepared, and our responses will be purposeful and directed.


God is not afraid of our enemies. His word assures us of His understanding of their tactics, motivations, and goals. Armed with that knowledge, He uses the enemy’s efforts for His own purpose. He knows their end, and He’s already shared it with us.


God also knows our responses. He knows when we cry, when we hate, when we whine and complain, when we fear, and even when we fight back. As in every trial, God uses the enemy’s purpose to better equip us, help us grow, and learn to stand bringing glory to Himself. 

God is our shield and buckler, our defense, our strong tower. He is the lifter up of our heads, our safety, and our sure rock in the face of any enemy.


King David faced many enemies. He made many mistakes, but God still delivered him. Let’s list a few of his enemies.


1.     Enemies within the family – his brothers laughed at him

2.     Enemies out of proportion – The giant, Goliath

3.     Enemies in the workplace – King Saul

4.     Enemies from circumstances – Michal, his unhappy first wife

5.     Enemies in society – Shimei, the guy who publically taunted him

6.     Enemies in culture – the Philistines

7.     Enemies from within – his own sinful desires

8.     Enemies in politics – his son, Absalom

9.     Enemies in old age – his son, Adonijah


Enemies act the same way today, and God’s prescription for handling them still works.


In each instance, David kept himself before the Lord and behaved himself wisely. I love that phrase. It describes so many aspects, reactions, thoughts, decisions, awareness, alertness, consideration, and manners. David was aware of his surroundings and conscious that his responses influenced situations and people. He walked circumspectly. Because of that, he was able to navigate enemies and remain a man after God’s own heart.


So next time we face an enemy, let’s be aware of their tactics, motivations, and goals.  2 Corinthians 2:11, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 

Let’s examine our responses and behave ourselves wisely. As we look at the situation through the lens of God’s word, we know He will deliver us!


Finally, let’s grab hold of God’s promises, tighten the belts of our armor, and go out prepared to stand in the battle for the Lord.

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