Psalms 59:1-2 NIV
“Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from those who are after my blood.”
Who are our enemies? Primarily our enemy is Satan and his evil forces, but we have human enemies, too, some of whom work for Satan and some of whom Satan is able to influence to do his dirty work, with or without them realizing they are being used of Satan.
For example, Peter was one of the Lord’s disciples. He was a follower of Jesus Christ, in truth. But he was human, too. After Peter had just proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and after Jesus had just pronounced that Peter was blessed, for God had revealed that to Peter, then Peter failed.
Jesus had just finished telling his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. But then Peter took him aside and rebuked him. He said, “Never, Lord!”
But Jesus then turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” True! Peter was thinking like a human and not with the mind of God like when he declared Jesus to be the Messiah.
So, was Peter Satan? No! But Peter fell prey to Satan’s influence, and Satan did use Peter to try to get at Jesus, even though Peter was not aware he was being used of Satan. So, the point here is that Satan will use other humans to come against us and to attack us and some of them may be followers of Jesus who were listening to the flesh more than they were listening to God.
Psalms 59:3-4 NIV
“See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!”
Let me give you an example of this from my own life. I believed in Jesus early on in my life, and I had been following him closely for at least ten years (this was the early 1980s). I was not perfect, but I was walking in obedience to my Lord. And my heart’s desire was to serve him.
Our pastor had been preaching on Spiritual gifts and how we need to use our gifts in the church. So, he distributed some type of form for the people of the congregation to fill out (paper only back then) where we listed what we believed were our spiritual gifts and our desired areas of ministry.
The implication was that if we turned in these forms that someone from the church staff would contact us and would plug us into some area of ministry within the church. My heart hungered to use the gifts I knew God had given me because I wanted to obey my Lord, and for no illegitimate reason.
Six months, at least, went by, with no word from anyone. The Lord was filling me to the brim with his word and what he was teaching me through it, and I hungered to share it with other Christians to encourage them in their walks of faith with the Lord. But no word. Nothing!
So, I finally got up the courage to call the pastor. He came over to our house. I think I asked him why I had not heard from anyone. And then he blurted out a whole list of objections he had against me, which were not true, and none of which I remember, only that they were mean and hateful.
When I tried to tell him that what he was saying was not true about me, he said, “Would you say you have been crucified with Christ?” I said, “Yes!” Then he said, “I would say you haven’t!” And that crushed me in my spirit, and from that point on I ran away and just pretended I was ok. Until…
I was reading the story of Jonah to my kids one day and the Lord spoke clearly to me that I was running away like Jonah did and that I was to get back in there and fight this through. But I said to God, “But God, you don’t understand!” I believed God didn’t, and that this man had power over me, because God had not delivered me from the abuses of my father.
To make a long story shorter, my next visitors were the elders of the church who I had invited there, for that was recommended to me. They judged me falsely, too, for they were comparing me to themselves. When they wanted to serve God, it was for selfish reasons, to be seen of men, so they decided that was my intention, too, and if I just prayed about it, I would see it.
So, I told them that I had prayed about it, and that the Lord had told me that I was innocent in this matter, not that I was perfect, but that I was not guilty of what they were accusing me. But they wouldn’t listen to me, either, for their minds were made up. They had decided who I was, period!
Eventually, through a friend of mine and her talking with the pastor, the pastor called me and he apologized to me. He said that as my pastor that he was to be my spiritual father but that he hadn’t been a very good one, but that he wanted to be. So, he began to work with me instead of against me. And God grew us both through it.
Psalms 59:9-10 NIV
“You are my strength, I watch for you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.”
Were these men all enemies of God? Some of them may have been, but the pastor didn’t stay opposed to me. I believe some of them were genuine believers in Jesus, but like Peter, they were listening to their flesh and they were thinking like humans instead of with the mind of God.
And if we are following our Lord in surrender to his will, and if we are listening to him, and if we are following him wherever he leads us, those Christians who are thinking more like humans rather than with the mind of Christ may serve Satan’s purposes in attacking us for no offense of ours.
But the Lord is our strength through it all. He is our fortress. We can’t rely on man, but we can rely on God. But we can’t run away from God when people attack us. We can’t retreat just because people in positions of authority over us don’t love us but treat us unkindly and judge us unfairly.
God allows such situations in our lives to strengthen us in our faith. We must persevere. We must move forward. We must keep doing what God says and we must listen to his voice above all other voices which may be lying to us or accusing us falsely. And we must go forward in the strength of the Lord.
What the Lord Says
An Original Work / February 24, 2014
Based off Isaiah 43:1-44:5
This is what the Lord says to you:
Fear not, for I have chosen you.
I have summoned you by your name.
You are mine. I died, you to save.
When you go through your trials, so deep,
I will be with you; you will not sink.
You are so precious always to me.
Trust in your Lord, Savior and King.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who gave salvation to you;
Who delivered you from your sin;
Takes your burdens now upon Him:
Forget the former things of your life.
Give of your heart not now up to strife.
See all the new things I have for you.
Walk in vict’ry. Trust in what’s true.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who made you; who will help you:
Do not fear what humans may do.
Walk in freedom. Follow what’s true.
Drink of my Spirit given for you.
Trust in my mercy, for I love you.
I have a plan for all of your life.
Follow my ways. Do what is right.