Psalms 55:1-3 ESV
“Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
and in anger they bear a grudge against me.”
…because of the noise of the enemy… because of the clamor, uproar, disturbance (trouble, intrusion, distraction), disorder (chaos, mess, mayhem), disruption (interference), commotion (tumult, upheaval) of the enemy.
…because of the oppression (tyranny, coercion, pressure, intimidation, bullying, cruelty, persecution, and harassment) of the wicked (the evil, depraved, immoral, sinful, impious, corrupt, tainted, perverted, and adulterated).
They (our enemies, the wicked) drop (release, let fall, trickle, ooze, pour out) trouble (distress, anxiety, misfortune, suffering, problems, difficulties, dilemmas, and tribulation) on us.
They (our enemies, the wicked) in anger (irritation, resentment, unforgiveness, wrath) bear (display, exhibit, convey, bring, hold on to) a grudge (bitterness, hatred, complaint, vindictiveness, meanness) against us.
When we are walking in faithful obedience to our Lord, not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, but in purity of devotion to the Lord, and not in sinful rebellion, and when we are giving testimony to God’s saving grace and to his deliverance from slavery (addiction) to sin and to the freedom he gives to walk in righteousness and holiness, by the grace of God, we will be opposed by some who are not walking in purity of devotion to the Lord.
They will not just oppose us, though. Many of them will attack, persecute, mock, betray, accuse falsely, lie to, and sin against us in many ways. Or they will try to bring us down with them, and they will attempt to tempt us to sin against the Lord, or they may throw up our pasts against us as a way to justify their own sinful rebellion. Or they will try to distract us with other things to attempt to keep us from obeying the Lord, etc.
Psalms 55:12-14 ESV
“For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God’s house we walked in the throng.”
The sad reality in all of this is that our “enemies” may not just be those we don’t know, or that we barely know, but they can be people who are very close to us emotionally and/or physically, and by birth, or by marriage, or via the family of God, including those who make a profession of faith in Jesus but who are not walking by faith, but who are still living in sinful rebellion against the Lord.
Those who oppose us, and who hold grudges against us, and who do evil to us, and who plot evil against us, or who try to distract us from obeying the Lord, or who use pressure tactics or bullying to try to get us to stop walking in purity of devotion to the Lord, or who try to sully our reputations so that others won’t listen to us, or who pour out suffering and tribulation upon us, in anger and in vindictiveness, may be people who are close to us.
I admit that it is a whole lot easier to take persecution or strong opposition and even unkind and mean remarks from strangers than it is to take them from people close to us. It is less personal when it is a stranger who comes against us than it is when a friend, or a neighbor, or a family member, or a fellow believer in Jesus (or by profession only) attacks us and comes against us because of our walk of faith and our testimony for Christ.
Psalms 55:19-21 ESV
“God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
and do not fear God.
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.”
There are many people today who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who do not honor him as Lord of their lives. Most of them never have because they believed they didn’t have to. For, they bought into a cheap grace gospel which convinced them that they could “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have their sins forgiven, be on their way to heaven, and yet never die with Christ to sin or repent of sin and walk in obedience to his commands.
Many of them have bought into this lie that their salvation is a one-time deal, and then they are in, and it can never be taken away from them no matter how much or how often they sin against God from that time forward. And/or they have believed the lie which tells them that Jesus does it all for them and thus nothing is required of them – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord of their lives.
These are people who have professed faith in Jesus Christ but their lifestyles never changed. They never died with Christ to sin, and they never lived to him and to his righteousness in purity of devotion to him. They never really changed, except maybe on a surface level, and this is because they do not fear God. For, if they feared God, they would humble themselves and turn from their sins, and they would walk in obedience to the Lord.
They are the self-indulgent, the immature, the childish, the irresponsible, the self-centered, the contemptible (despicable, disgraceful), the dishonorable, the corrupt, the immoral, the dishonest, the selfish, the cowardice, the malicious, the prideful, the rotten, the tainted and those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and who make a show of righteousness but it is all a façade, a front, a performance, and not the reality in their lives.
They are those who are convinced that God is okay with them living in sinful rebellion against him, and that they can occasionally confess their sins but then end up going right back to them, thinking that God will not judge them, that he will do nothing, and that his grace will always be there for them no matter how they live or how much they turn their nose up at God’s commands and refuse to obey them.
They are being taught all sorts of things, supposedly from the Scriptures, but taken out of context and misapplied in order to excuse away their own sinful rebellion against the Lord. As soon as people who I know are living in sin bring up Romans 7, I know they are usually using that chapter out of context to try to excuse away their own sinful lifestyles and to try to say that Paul regularly gave in to sin, too, or that this was his “thorn in the flesh.”
But that is because they fail to read Romans 7 in the context of Romans 6 and Romans 8 where Paul made it abundantly clear that we can’t go on living in sin and still be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. He said we either obey sin, which ends in death, or we obey obedience, which leads to righteousness, sanctification, and eternal life with God. But we can’t do both at the same time.
So, we have to watch out for those whose speech is “smooth as butter” who take Scriptures out of their context to justify their own sinful rebellion and/or to lead others into believing that they can be saved and have eternal life with God while they continue deliberately making sin their practice. For, if we walk in sin we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God no matter what we profess with our lips or think we believe in our hearts.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Matt 5:13-16]
All I Ask of You
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide-eyed fears;
I’m here, nothing can harm you,
My words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
Let daylight dry your tears;
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.
Let me be your shelter,
Let me be your light…
Love me, that’s all I ask of you
The above lyrics are taken from a secular song, “All I Ask of You,” but these quoted lyrics express God’s words to us, that we would let him be our freedom, that we would let him shelter us and be our light, and that we would find our hope, and our peace and safety in him and not in the things of this dark world. All he asks of us is that we love him, which means we submit to him as Lord, and we obey his commands.