Psalms 31:1-5 ESV
“In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
“For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”
Who are our enemies? Well, as followers of Jesus Christ our main enemy is Satan, and also his demons. But they are all who serve him, too, who masquerade as servants of righteousness while they are servants of the devil, instead. Or they may be those who make no pretenses of Christianity at all but who are followers of Satan and not of God. And they may not be actively against us, plotting evil against us, but they are opposed to what we stand for. But we will also have those who plot evil against us, too.
The closer we are to Christ in daily fellowship with him, doing his will, going where he sends us and saying what he gives us to say, the greater will be the oppression from the enemy. The greater will be his attacks against us, which could be physically, or they could be just attacks against our minds, just trying to make us fearful. Or they could be verbal attacks from those who serve Satan and who are against those of us who serve the Lord Jesus with our lives. For Jesus said as they treated him we will be treated also.
But we should never fear Satan or opposition or persecution. But we should take refuge in the Lord Jesus and in the truths of his word. He is to be our delight no matter what we are up against. And although we should pray for his protection and for deliverance from the enemy, please know that deliverance may not always be physical. Jesus suffered much at the hands of his enemies, as did Paul and the other New Testament apostles. And we are promised that we will be hated and persecuted.
So, whether or not the Lord physically delivers us from our enemies, he will still deliver us from the impact of our enemies’ persecution against us. And if they are plotting our death, but the Lord wants us to still live, then the Lord will physically deliver us. No enemy can come against us unless God allows it, and if he does not allow it they can do nothing. But the main thing here is that the Lord is our refuge. He is our Rock and our fortress. And he will help us through every difficult circumstance in our lives if we let him.
I really like this part – “You take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.” Amen! So, into God’s hands we must commit our spirits, and we trust him to work all things together for good for us who love and obey him. And the Lord may choose to take us out of that net hidden for us through death, because it is our time, or he may choose to take us out of their net via stopping them from doing what they had plotted against us. But the important thing for us is to commit our lives into God’s hands.
Psalms 31:6, 11-16 ESV
“I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.”
“Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!”
Now, we should not hate people, but we should hate their evil deeds. And we should love our enemies and pray for them and do good to them and not harm. We should never trade “tit for tat,” i.e. we should never get even with those who do evil against us. And we are to forgive others continually for the evil that they do against us, even if we just perceive evil where evil does not truly exist. We should always forgive. But forgiveness is not permission to our enemies to continue sinning against us. But they may still continue.
Now, our enemies may be successful in turning others against us, for others may be prone to believe their lies and not the truth. We can do nothing about this. We have little to no control over what other people are going to do against us or what they might say against us. Now if someone tells us something that was told them, and if it is a lie, we can certainly kindly refute the lie and tell the truth, but people don’t always tell us what they have against us. It just may come out in how they treat us.
We just have to keep loving others despite how they may treat us. We always have to do what is right even if others do wrong. And we have to accept that not everyone is going to like us or approve of us or think well of us. But many will turn away from us and want nothing to do with us because of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and/or because of the lies that have been spread about us. Yet the Lord may lead us to speak to some people about their treatment of us, and sometimes things can be healed that way.
Yet, if we are following Jesus with our lives, and especially if we are spreading the truth of the gospel and if we are exposing the lies and the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are, Satan is going to be on the rampage against us. And there could well be plots against our lives. That is just the reality of the life we have chosen to follow Jesus. But we will continue to live as long as our Lord wants us to live. So, if they are successful in taking our lives, it must be our time to go home.
Now, I love this next part. “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand.” And that has to be our frame of mind. Daily we must commit our lives and our circumstances and our relationships with others into the hands of God. And we trust the Lord to work all things out the way he has planned, according to his will. But we can still pray for him to rescue us from our enemies and for him to make his face shine on us who serve him with our lives. And he may save us through death, too.
Dwelling In Beulah Land
By Miles C Austin (1911)
Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling;
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand;
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling;
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.
Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating,
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand;
Safe am I within the castle of God’s word retreating,
Nothing there can reach me, ’tis Beulah Land.
Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand;
Here the sun is always shining, nothing there can harm me;
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.
Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation;
Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned;
Dwelling in the Spirit, here I learn of full salvation,
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.
I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky,
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry;
Oh, yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.
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