You have seen, O LORD; be not silent!
O Lord, be not far from me!
Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Vindicate me, O LORD, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
I couldn’t avoid sharing the observation that for today and yesterday, the Psalms I’ve been going through have themes of deliverance from enemies, salvation from those who think, speak and act in ill will against us. I’m reminded of a fact that remains true and valid while we are here in this world – we have enemies.
In The Office, Pam Beesly shares how she doesn’t like it if she knows that somebody doesn’t like her. She mentions that even if Osama Bin Laden just got the chance to know her, then she would like her. But let’s not insult our own intelligence. Again, while our beings still exist in this fallen and flawed reality, you can be sure of the fact the there are people out there who just don’t like you. It’s unfortunate, how some of us would take these sorts of thoughts of disliking another person to levels of actually taking action and causing all sorts of harm.
And even if no person intentionally hates you, you can be sure that all humanity has an enemy – one, whom Jesus Christ describes, who comes to steal all that he can from you, kill all aspects of your being, and destroy your reputation, lineage, and legacy.
If you’ve read all that and you’re still reading, well, thank you. It’s not the end of the story. See, even before Christ came to perform the ministry of reconciliation, we see how (1) Psalmists would cry out to the Lord for help against their foes, and (2) God apparently responds to them in their distress. Some of these recent psalms are full of the writer’s detailed elaboration about just how cruel, relentless and savage their enemies are.. but it almost always ends with them proclaiming the faithfulness of God, and His power and peace that prevails over any and all plots and plans of the enemy. And okay, if it isn’t shared at the end of the psalm you can be sure it is at least mentioned.
This tells me that in our sharing all that we think and see about our enemies, it isn’t necessarily about complaining. See how sharing all the details about what’s happening serves as clarification to ourselves, assessment of how aware we truly are of the situation – and in our sharing, we draw out other facts surrounding the situation. If we aren’t detailing the facts to paint a solid picture for ourselves, we’re certainly getting other people who are listening to us or who are reading what we have to say to be more mentally involved with how we actually think and feel about the situation. And through all this, though God knows all the details that there are to know, writing it all down or just taking the time to intentionally assess and clarify our thoughts on the matter would give Him an idea of what we choose to think during these times – well, it’s more for us, than for Him, but consider that this is us following what Peter would say – we’d cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.
It’s not complaining. Another way I see it is that we’re setting ourselves up to know just how much we know about the problems we have, and the enemies we encounter… But we wouldn’t necessarily brood on that, because as it paints a picture of our circumstances, it also gives us a clearer confidence as to how God may rise to rescue us.
During these times I am led to recall how we have already been fully rescued – or, rather, God has already done the rescue that matters through Christ and His finished work. By Christ’s obedience we can rejoice in knowing that we have salvation that goes far beyond a ‘get to heaven for free’ pass. In our afflictions and in situations and issues that would drag us down, we realize just how full and meticulous of a salvation we have in Christ – for the Holy Spirit reminds us of His faithfulness in our afflictions, His power made perfect in our afflictions, and His peace that goes beyond all understanding, no matter what the situation.
And it is through fellowship with other believers in Christ and His finished work that I have also taken in recently… that though we have already been rescued, it does not mean that there is no rescuing left to be done. My discussion with Pastor Joedy is shared in detail in my post last Tuesday, but the gem we all uncovered through our fellowship is this – that the detrimental situations and the dangerous circumstances we are in may be consequences of our actions in this world, just as profit and prosperity may be results of our work. We are not exempt from feeling the positive and negative consequences of our actions here in this reality… but the truth – the Truth who is Christ, the Living Word and the Word of Life – He shares to us that our edge is not in improved circumstances or immediate deliverance from bad situations… No, the edge we have in the body of Christ is Christ’s obedience.
We aren’t immune to the consequences of our actions, but Christ’s obedience does ensure that (1) we are fully and completely reconciled, and therefore any consequences that would have us ‘separated’ from God would be out of the question, and (2) the guarantee of our everlasting reconciliation and infinite rescue has us confident, moving in power and peace no matter what outcomes we encounter.
Simply put, when we see how bad our situations are, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness, power and peace.
Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation!”
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