Psalm 56:1-4 ESV
“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?”
Who is it that is trying to swallow us up or that is trampling on us day and night, every day of the week, all year long? Satan! He is our primary attacker, our adversary, who is trying to oppress us and to make us afraid. He is the one who wants to bring us down, and he never quits.
But he uses other humans against us to do his dirty work for him. And who are these humans who are trying to swallow us up and who are attacking us on a consistent basis? They are those who are listening to Satan over God, and so they are believing his lies.
Some of them may even believe that they are doing good by coming against us, because they have believed lies against us. And it may not be lies that are specific just to us individually, but to us collectively who are sincere in our devotion to the Lord and who are walking in obedience to his commands.
And some of our opposition and attackers may also be those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and some may even be pastors and elders of church fellowships who are part of this modern market-driven and flesh-driven church which is marketing the church to the world via worldly methods.
Our opposition and attackers could even be members of our own families, or our friends or neighbors or other professing Christians with whom we gather on a weekly basis. And they can be people in the government or in high up positions in religious organizations.
The point is that there are many people out there who are listening to Satan’s lies and who are following the lies, knowingly or not, who are being used as weapons, whether knowingly or not, against us who are following Jesus with our lives. And sometimes it can get very fierce and oppressive.
When I Am Afraid
Fear is a natural human emotional response to danger or to a sense of danger. I jump when I hear sudden loud noises I did not expect or when someone sneaks up on me and I did not hear him or her coming, or if I hear what sounds like someone trying to break into our home/apartment.
But then I have a choice. I can let the fear overtake me and give in to it, or I can pray it through, trusting the Lord with my circumstances, trusting him to protect me from harm and/or to carry me through all difficulties. I can give in to the fear of man, or I can trust God with my life.
I used to be afraid of people, in particular those in authoritative positions, like teachers, pastors, elders, and parents, etc. I used to think they had control over me, and that God could not rescue me from their grasp. I used to fear what they might do to me, like I feared my father’s abuse of me.
So, the Lord allowed me to go through much in the way of persecution from people in such positions, and from people who were forceful in personality who attacked me fiercely when they did not agree with me, even accusing me falsely of what I did not do or think or say.
And the Lord allowed this in my life so I would learn to trust him and to not fear humans, and so I would do whatever the Lord asked me to do, or say whatever it is he asked me to say without fear of how humans might respond to me in return.
Some people think I am a strong person naturally, that this is my personality, but it isn’t. My boldness for the Lord and for the truth of his word does not come from me, but from Him! In my flesh I would retreat. I would run away. But in the Spirit I must be bold and speak the truth.
Psalm 56:5-7 ESV
“All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!”
As followers of Jesus Christ who are walking in obedience to his commands and who are on the front lines sharing the truth of the gospel, we are going to be opposed. And there are literally people out there whose goal it is to injure our cause, for our cause is to present the truth of the gospel to all who will hear so that they can turn from their sins and be saved.
Some of our opposition might hound us like the Pharisees did Jesus and not ever relent until we give up and run away. And some of them are professing Christians and they can be downright hateful and nasty, too. For, their goal is to destroy us and to stop us from obeying the Lord.
I had a man (a friend of ours) one day come to our house and end up yelling and screaming at me because I would not join them in following false teachers and false teaching. He was irate with me because I would not bend. He told me that the majority is right and since I am in the minority, that means I am wrong. His thinking doesn’t agree with Scripture, though.
I have had so many people over my life time oppose me, attack me fiercely with their words, accuse me falsely, try to shame me into compromise, try to trip me up with my words, reject me, persecute me, slander me, etc. and the Lord would keep sending me back to get attacked more.
But through it all the Lord strengthened me. He made me determined to keep speaking the truth despite all opposition and all slander and all attacks against me, and to keep trusting him to give me the strength to endure all opposition and to keep on speaking the truth.
I have cried many tears through it all, though, for I am not naturally a strong person. But the Lord comforts me with his love. For, the Lord is on my side because I am on his side, doing his bidding.
So, I put my trust in him and I am not afraid. What can man do to me? God will prevail! So, I must obey my Lord no matter what happens to me.
Awaken the Dawn
An Original Work / January 15, 2013
Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)
O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.
I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.
Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.