Psalms 57:1-3 ESV
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!”
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, Satan is your archenemy. He is extremely hostile and opposed to you and to what you believe in and to what you stand for. And the closer you walk with the Lord Jesus in fellowship with him, and the greater your walk of faith and your obedience to the Lord in all things, the greater will be the hostility and the opposition against you and your walk of faith and your testimony for Jesus and for his gospel.
Now Satan doesn’t work alone. He has demons who serve him, and he will use other humans against you, too. Even people of your own family, of your own household, and of your same belief system, who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, too, may be your fiercest opponents. And you may get your greatest persecution from within the gatherings of what is called “church” rather than from people who are not professers of faith in Jesus Christ.
If you are like me at all, you can take the opposition much easier from strangers than from the people closest to you, and from others who claim to have the same faith as you who you may meet with on a weekly basis for the purpose of Christian fellowship and the teaching of the word and for corporate (group, communal) worship of God. It is in these settings when it hurts the most where it will bring you to cry it all out to God.
Now, the Lord may or may not rescue you from the persecution. Sometimes he takes us out of those situations, or he removes certain people from our lives, or he will instruct us to brush the dust off our sandals (an expression) and to move on to another place. And sometimes he leaves us right where we are and he gives us the strength and the grace to endure unjust suffering and to keep on serving him despite all opposition and persecution.
Psalms 57:4 ESV
“My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.”
Every time I read this where it says that my soul is in the midst of “lions,” my mind automatically translates that to “liars.” Their teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp and accusing. They are those whose practice it is to deceive, to manipulate, and to twist your words and the words of Scripture for their own evil advantage. For they serve Satan, and their goal is to destroy you and your faith and your testimony for Jesus.
They are the kind usually who are morally unclean, who are opportunists, who are not trustworthy at all, who are full of pride, and who fake their Christianity in order to deceive and to manipulate the minds of the naïve and the trusting and those caught in sin who want to keep on in their sin. They take advantage of the weak and the vulnerable. And they lead them astray to follow after a false gospel which will land them in hell, not in heaven.
So they contrive a gospel message which appeals to human flesh and which does not put sin and the flesh to death, but which allows them to live and to thrive. It requires no obedience to the Lord Jesus, no honoring of him as Lord (Owner-Master), and no forsaking of our sins. Yet, even if it does speak of repentance, it is usually nothing more than a verbal confession of sin but not the forsaking of sin, and if it does mention obedience, it is optional.
Mostly what these liars and deceivers do is convince the people that they can believe in Jesus and have their sins all forgiven and be guaranteed heaven as their eternal destiny, but that they don’t have to change how they live, or they only need to clean up a little bit. And then they convince them that if anyone is teaching the necessity of obedience and repentance and submission to Christ as Lord that they are to reject their words as wrong.
Psalms 57:6-10,5 ESV
“They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.”
“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!”
Yes, some of those who are opposed to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ – the truth as Jesus and as his New Testament apostles taught it – they will set a net for our steps and will set traps for us to fall into, just like Jesus’ enemies did to him. And who were his greatest opponents? They were the rulers in the temple of God who knew the Scriptures and who taught the Scriptures and who were in positions of rule and authority over the people of God.
So don’t be surprised if those in positions of religious leadership and authority within the gatherings of what is called “church” are your greatest opponents, and if they are those who lay traps for you to fall into in order to discredit you or to get you to move away from the truth of the gospel, or to get you to leave their presence so that you are not a bother to them, so that you are not a hindrance to their lies and to their deceptions being accepted.
So, pray for wisdom and discernment so that you recognize these traps so that you don’t fall into them, for believe me there are many of them and they are not all that obvious. And also pray for steadfastness of faith and for endurance, and don’t let the opposition take you out. And yes, sing! Sing to the Lord, and sing out loud, and praise the Lord and don’t let Satan discourage and dishearten you.
And then know that the Lord Jesus will be exalted above everything he created, and his glory will be over all the earth, for Satan will not be able to stop God and his work. For God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – is completely sovereign and in control over all that he has made, and nothing happens but what God allows it for a purpose. And God will bring good out of it for his glory and praise. We just have to keep trusting him with our life situations and then rest in him and let him lead.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
Under His Wings
By William Orcutt Cushing and Ira David Sankey, 1896
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
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