Do you sometimes wonder if God will ever move against the enemy or against the people who hate you and hurt you? Sometimes it feels as if life is nothing more than a series of attacks. But the thing is, as uncomfortable, painful, and awful as those attacks can be they often have a good purpose for us. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray about it. Verses 1-2 read,
“O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.”
God is not afraid of our honesty. He already knows. Very often though as we earnestly pray to the Lord, we become aware of ourselves. He will speak to us, guide us, teach us, and comfort us in the midst of our prayers. I find myself often starting out confused, angry, or hurt, and by the end of the prayer, The Lord has revealed Himself to me and my hurt and anger have dissipated. Sometimes I feel lost and by the end of my prayer I see the way He wants me to go, and even if I don’t I know, He is with me and I’ll be okay.
Asaph cried out to God for help in the face of Israel’s enemies. He knew that if they were Israel’s enemies they were enemies of God. Verses 3-8 read,
“They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5 For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant--
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah”
So many nations hated Israel, and Asaph understood that if they hated Israel they made themselves enemies of The One True Living God. If anyone hates us so intently they want to destroy us, it should be because of Christ. They should hate us for Christ’s sake, not for our wickedness, but for our love. (John 15:18-23). We are God’s treasured ones. He cherishes us. And so if someone stands up against us, they stand up against God. Exodus 23:22 reads,
“But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
23 “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24 you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces.25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.”
The people who plotted against Israel, all thought they knew God, but they knew a god of their own creation. Some had their roots in Abraham, but they twisted God to become what their false religion wanted, instead of who He is. People today do that as well. They say they love god, but their god is not The Lord God Almighty. Their god is a manifestation of themselves, a god who wouldn’t care about sin or a god who wouldn’t let people go to Hell. Because their perspective is so skewed they can’t see the truth.
The Lord wants the best for us. And because He loves us so much He will discipline us, sometimes He allows our enemies to attack. But even when we are attacked, even when God inspires them to attack, He avenges us. He doesn’t let people hurt us without punishing them. (Ezekiel 25:7-11).
God will move at the right time to avenge us. He doesn’t call us treasured for nothing. We don’t have to wonder if God will move, we only have to trust He will. We only have to remember all He has already done to know that He will always come through. In Verses 9-12 Asaph reminded himself of what The Lord had done.
“Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who were destroyed at En-dor,
who became dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves
of the pastures of God.”
The enemy can’t have you! You belong to God. The enemy can’t take possession of you, Jesus bought you for a price and He won’t take that lightly. You are His. He doesn’t want you to be sullied by the enemy. 1 Corinthians 6:14-15 say,
“And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”
You can have faith that although you may be attacked now, you will come through it at the right time because God will deliver you at the right time. He doesn’t discipline because He enjoys seeing you suffer, He disciplines because He treasures you. You are God’s child. Hebrews 12:3-8 reads,
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. “
You will suffer. People will hate you, but not without purpose. With each trial, with every tribulation, The Holy Spirit conforms you more to Christ’s image. (Romans 8:26-30). He nurtures you, tends you, prunes you and grows the Fruit, the manifestations of Jesus’ Character in you.
Israel had enemies but The Lord God didn’t let them succeed for long. He destroyed them. Verses 13-17 say,
“O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so may you pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane!
16 Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,”
We have enemies too, but do you really think we have to worry about them? Do you know how awesome God is? Do you realize what a miracle it is that Jesus died for you? Romans 31-39 says,
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The ultimate purpose for your suffering is that you resemble Jesus, not only in words but actions, and spirit. When people look at you and see Jesus, that is called glorifying Jesus. It means that you are reflecting The Lord. You are giving to the church, and the lost what Jesus gives to you. When you do that people will know that He is The LORD. Verse 18 says,
“that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.”