Those Who Work Evil
Psalm 59:1-5 (ESV)
“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
and save me from bloodthirsty men.
“For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah”
Who are the enemies of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives? Well, our primary enemy, who is behind all other enemies, is Satan. For, he opposes God, and he opposes Jesus Christ. And, he is against the scriptures, and he is hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to our salvation from slavery to sin, and to our walks of obedience to Christ.
So, he is out to destroy the true gospel of our salvation, to destroy Jesus Christ and his messengers (followers, servants), and to destroy the impact that Jesus and his gospel of grace might have on the lives of those who would submit to the Lordship of Christ, leave their lifestyles of sin behind them, and who would follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.
So, Satan has his own army of followers, some of whom probably don’t even realize they are following Satan. They might even be convinced they are following God, because they have been deceived. And, they are rising up against the true gospel of grace, as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it, and thus they are also rising up against those who are teaching the true gospel.
And, how are they accomplishing this? By introducing a false grace, a cheap grace substitute for the true gospel of grace, and by passing it off as the genuine thing while attacking the true gospel of grace as false, and by calling it works-based salvation, which is not to be adhered to. So, they convince people that what is false is true and that what is true is false to deceive them into accepting the lie over the truth, which is Satan’s plan.
What is cheap grace?
So, what is this cheap grace substitute that is sieging and supplanting the true gospel of grace? Where does it come from? Well, it literally comes from Satan and from hell, for it is modeled after pride, foolishness, self-indulgence, and all that is worthless. Thus, it is the byproduct, i.e. the fruit of all that is of the flesh of man.
And that fruit is shown in the works of the flesh, which are sexual immorality, depravity, maliciousness, corruptness, pride and lust, etc. And, it is revealed in the lives of those who have bought into the cheap grace substitute, who are living in immorality and depravity apart from God.
Not only that, but this false grace is a false protector of those who call themselves Christians, because it promises them heaven and freedom while leaving them still in bondage to sin, and while sending them straight to hell, which is Satan’s plan.
So, this cheap grace will never go after a lost sheep to bring him to God or back to fellowship with God, for the purpose of this cheap grace is to deliver no one from their slavery to sin so that they won’t end up in heaven, but in hell.
And, it will bring no followers into submission to Christ, and in surrender to his will, and to leaving their sinful lifestyles behind them, and into walks of obedience to their Lord resulting in eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 2:24).
But, many people are buying into this cheap grace substitute to soothe what ails them. Thus, they are putting the working of God’s grace, of the Holy Spirit of God, to death in their lives, instead of putting sin to death in their lives. And, this is going to cost them their lives for eternity, for it puts them in trouble with God. For, they will not die to sin, submit to his Lordship over their lives or follow the Lord in obedience to his commands, and thus they will die in their sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 6:7-8).
Thus, the followers of this cheap grace feel at liberty to continue in their sinful practices without guilt and without remorse. Their minds are puffed up with pride, and they are filled with the lusts of the flesh, and thus there is not fruit of the Spirit evident in their lives. They may be able to alter some things in their lives via behavioral modification, but the heart never changes and thus they aren’t truly transformed of heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and thus they don’t have eternal life with God or salvation from sin.
So, this is a prayer for deliverance and for protection from those who would come against the Lord’s servants and witnesses, who would malign them, and who would malign the gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of a cheap grace, and who would lead people straight to hell while promising them heaven.
Bring Them Down
Psalm 59:11-13 (ESV)
“Kill them not, lest my people forget;
make them totter by your power and bring them down,
O Lord, our shield!
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,
consume them in wrath;
consume them till they are no more,
that they may know that God rules over Jacob
to the ends of the earth. Selah”
This is also a prayer for God to bring down those who are promoting this cheap grace gospel and who are leading many people astray, and/or who are opposed to the Lord’s servants and witnesses, and who are attacking them, and/or who are plotting evil against them to bring them down.
This is a prayer that the Lord would make them totter (shake, tremble), i.e. that they would lose their power over the people, that they would lose their influence, and that they would not be able to continue in their deception, for they would be found out, and their lies exposed and the truth revealed.
There are so many liars and deceivers – so many wolves in sheep’s clothing who are leading people astray to a false gospel and/or who are bent on attacking the Lord’s servants in order to destroy them. The prayer is that they would be caught in their lies, their sins exposed, and that they would be put to shame and would no longer be a threat to the true gospel or to its messengers. And, I pray God would save them from their sins, too.
But I Will Sing
Psalm 59:16-17 (ESV)
“But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.”
It can be overwhelming, at times, to be opposed on a regular basis, and to have people fighting against you because you share the truth of what God’s Word teaches for the salvation of their souls. And, they may oppose you in many different ways, such as just rejecting you, giving you the silent treatment, lying to you, gossiping about you, and/or pretending to like you or to even agree with you while stabbing you in the back, etc.
But, the Lord gives strength, help and perseverance to his followers so that they can continue in the work to which he has called them, and so that they can be bold in their witness for Christ without fear of what might happen to them or without fear of what their enemies might say about them to others.
If this is where we are, being opposed, then we need to rely on the strength of the Lord and we need to keep doing what God has called us to do, for it means the salvation of human lives. We just have to continue to seek and to save those who are lost, which also involves exposing the lies of the enemy and expounding the truth in opposition to the lies, in order to rescue people from the gates of hell.
The Ninety and Nine
Lyrics by Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868
Music by Ira D. Sankey, 1874
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare;
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me.
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry;
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”
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