The Will of My Adversaries

Psalm 27:1-3 ESV

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

“When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

“Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.”

We live in very troubled times right now. Fear is being promulgated daily in the news, and especially on social media, it would appear. And, it is causing panic in the hearts of many people, as well as it is igniting anger and hatred and violence.

So, we have to inquire of our God, and we must ask him to show us what is truly going on, what is at stake, what is the overall objective, and who is to gain by all of this. For, Satan, our true enemy, is the great liar and deceiver. And, he is a trickster, too, who is really good at sleight of hand, so that something that is one thing has the appearance of being something else.

So, when we come up against a situation that, on a surface level, appears to be one thing, we should not automatically assume that what we think we are seeing or hearing is the truth, even if it has the appearance of truth. Instead, we need to step back from the situation emotionally, and we need to take some deep breaths, and then we need to pray to God.

Then, we need to ask God: “Who are the evildoers in this situation?” Don’t assume who they are. “Who are the ones assailing us?” “Who is trying to “eat up our flesh”? “Who are our true adversaries and foes in this specific situation?” “What armies are encamping against us?” “What war is rising up against us?” For, if we don’t know who the real enemy is, we may fall into the devil’s trap, and we may assign blame in all the wrong places.

Now, it is true biblically that behind our flesh and blood enemies is our true enemy, who is Satan (the devil). And, the battle really is a spiritual battle, not a physical one. But this is not saying that we don’t have flesh and blood enemies. We do. It just reminds us that Satan is behind them all, and he is the one we are truly at war against, and that this is a spiritual battle which must be won with spiritual weapons, not physical ones (Eph. 6:10-20).

But, since we do have flesh and blood enemies, what I am saying is that we should not assume automatically who those enemies are just because of something we see in the news or that we see on social media. For, anything can be faked (think Hollywood). Anything can be staged to look like one thing while it is another. And, so we need to ask God and ourselves, “Who gains from this?” “Is there a bigger picture than what we are seeing?”

And, then the other part of this is, we must not fear our enemies or what they may do to us. But we are to love our enemies (or who we think are our enemies). We are to pray for them, do good to them, and say what is for their welfare to them and about them. And, that includes speaking the truth to them, in love, confronting them with their sin, and calling for repentance.

Since this is a spiritual battle, not a physical one, we must fight our enemy with spiritual weapons such as our faith, our salvation, prayer, truth, the Word of God, and the gospel. And, since our enemy is the great liar and deceiver, we must never assume that everything we hear and see is the truth. For, his goal is to deceive us, to get us afraid, to get us fighting each other, and to totally miss what is really going on while we are distracted.

Psalm 27:4-6 ESV

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

“For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

“And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”

When we are presented with situations in the news or on social media, or coming from the mouths of our government and/or church leaders, which trouble us in our spirits, we need to guard against reacting emotionally to the situations and doing what is not smart, and which may be harmful.

Instead, we need to take these situations immediately to the Lord in prayer, NOT TO SOCIAL MEDIA. And, we must inquire of our Lord as to what our response should be to what we have just seen and heard. And, we also need to pray for much discernment to recognize truth from lies, too, for even if we think we have seen it, it may not be what we think we saw or heard.

So, hide in the shelter of the Lord, not in the shelter of your government or a political party or social media or your friends, etc. Seek after the Lord and his righteousness, not after the opinions of other humans. Dwell in the house of the Lord, his body, his temple, not in the institutions of men. Seek His counsel, not the counsel of the ungodly.

Then, our minds will be lifted above our enemies, and they will have no real power over us. Yes, they can cause us physical harm. Yes, they can falsely accuse us and falsely imprison us, and they can take away our rights, and they can put undue restrictions upon us to make our lives miserable. But they can’t control our minds and our hearts unless we let them.

So, seek the counsel of the Lord. Go to him and to his word. Find your comfort and peace in God, and in God alone. Find your direction from him, too. Then, follow him and his lead. And, you will have peace, and you will have joy, even when the world is crashing all around you. You will mourn over the evil and the violence and the injuries of others, and you will call on God to intervene, but you won’t be taken out by these situations.

Psalm 27:11-14 ESV

“Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”

In all things that life throws at us, we need to know the way of the Lord. We need to have him teach us what to do, what to say, and how to respond. We need the wisdom of God just to survive the onslaughts of the enemy.

But we need to be led on a level (straight) path, which is the path of righteousness and holiness. We need to have godly responses to our situations, not human and emotional responses. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel the emotions, but we need to cry them out to God and pray that we will respond with his love, grace, and mercy.

The way in which we are not given up to our adversaries is when we, in the power of God, and according to his Word, resist the devil, flee temptation, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. It is when we, in the strength of the Lord, say “NO!” to Satan and to sin, and when we say “YES!” to God and to his righteousness.

We can’t control what people will say about us. We have control over what we do and what we say, but we have no control over what others do or say. So, we just have to give those situations over to the Lord and pray that we will have the grace to respond to them in the right way, in a godly manner.

Our hope in all of this is that this world is not our permanent home. We are just passing through. We are only here for a time, and for a purpose, but it doesn’t end here. We have a future home waiting for us in glory where there will be no more evil, no more pain, and no more sorrow. Amen!

So, we have to be those who wait for the Lord, who trust him to accomplish his purposes through all the stuff going on in the world. We have to surrender it all to him and believe that he is still in control. And, in the strength of the Lord, we must go on in our walks of faith, knowing we are going to be persecuted. It is here. Censorship is already in place. They are trying to silence us. But, commit it all to God. He is faithful!

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

William Whiting

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e’er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

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