Psalm 69:4-8 ESV
“More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
“Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.”
Jesus Christ was hated in this way. And, he said that if we follow him with our lives, doing the things he did and saying the things he said, that we would be hated as he was hated.
But the hatred is not always outright. It isn’t always that people’s fists are up in the air and that they are screaming, “Crucify him!” Sometimes the hatred comes through in very subtle ways. Sometimes it comes in forms of manipulation, trickery, and subtle insults or distractions to draw our attention away from the Lord, and away from what he has called us to do.
For, Satan is very clever. He doesn’t always (or usually) attack us in very outward and obvious ways, for his goal is to deceive us. His goal is to lead us away from our pure devotion to Christ. So, he is more likely to try to “gaslight” us in ways that can’t be proven than he is to outright attack us where everyone can see what he is up to.
And, in this way many people are being led astray, and they are falling for the lies of the enemy, because the lies are so clever, and because the lies are masked to appear as something else. So, the unsuspecting and the naïve may easily be taken in by the enemy because they don’t know his tricks.
And, the enemy may lead them to turn against the righteous, too, thinking that they are rejecting what is wrong, because they are deceived.
Psalm 69:9-12 ESV
“For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.”
The house of the Lord is not a building called “church.” It is not a church denomination or an institution of human origin. We who believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior are God’s house, which is spiritual, not physical. And, Jesus Christ is our chief cornerstone.
So, if zeal for God’s house consumes us, we are not being consumed by anything related to a building or to a church denomination. We are passionate about holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, and purity being lived out in the lives of those who profess the name of Jesus.
Zeal for God’s house is like what Paul expressed when he told the church that he was jealous for them with a godly jealousy, for although he had promised them to one husband, Jesus Christ, he was deeply concerned that their hearts were being led astray to “another Jesus” and to a “different gospel.”
But if you have this kind of zeal for the body of Christ today, you will probably face much opposition from many within the church, even from those in leadership positions. They may accuse you of being overly sensitive or of overreacting, for they have been blinded by the enemy’s lies and they don’t see what you are seeing.
And, they may well mock you and laugh at you, perhaps even thinking you are crazy. And, they may whisper about you behind your back. And, they may even turn others against you. For they may convince them that you are “hyper-religious” or that you are “legalistic,” and that they don’t need to listen to you.
But we must not let their attacks against us unsettle us or deter us from what we know is the right way, the narrow way that leads to eternal life with God. We must continue on the right path, and we must continue to speak the truth in love, in hopes that people will listen and that they will turn from their sins to obedient faith in Jesus Christ as their only Lord.
Psalm 69:13-15 ESV
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.”
The Lord delivers us from our enemies in many different ways. Sometimes it is through physical deliverance, but not always. For, he promised us a life of suffering for righteousness’ sake. He promised us we would be hated and persecuted as he was. But he also promised us that good would come out of our suffering, and that we would grow to maturity in Christ through it all.
So, if the Lord Jesus doesn’t rescue you physically from your enemies and from your persecutors, don’t let it unsettle you. Believe in the sovereignty of God over your life. Believe that God is in control. And, believe that God is working all things for good in your life if you love (obey) him and if you are called according to his purpose.
But that doesn’t mean that God is just leaving you to “hang out there to dry,” i.e. to abandon you to danger. Yes, he will allow us to go through some tough stuff sometimes. But that doesn’t mean he has deserted us or that he has left us to our own resources to “figure it out” for ourselves. He is still with us, and he will carry us through it all. We just need to trust him.
But if we lean on him for support, and if we trust in his sovereignty, and if we listen to what he wants to teach us through it all, and if we walk in obedience to him, and if we do what he says to do, he will keep us from sinking. He will keep us from failing in our hearts. He will uphold us, and he will sustain us. And, we will be filled with his joy and with his purpose.
And, we will continue in what he has called us to do, more mature, stronger in our faith, and more determined than ever to get out the truth of his gospel so that many will turn away from their sins, and so that they will turn their hearts to Jesus Christ in submission to him as Lord of their lives. And, all this will be for the praise of God’s glory!
Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer
Lyrics by Margaret Becker
Music by Keith Getty
“Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I’ll follow, though I’m worn.
May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.
*Caution: This link may contain ads