Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rescue Me, Lord, From My Enemies

I began the day with Psalm 143. "Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies," says this prayer. "Put an end to my foes...." The Psalms often express the hope that God will destroy enemies, blot them out, make an end to them.

Its not surprising that the world appears to be dominated by ideologies and agendas that ignore God's wisdom, God's love, God's tenderness, God's peace. Followers of Jesus may be tempted to discouragement.  But difficult times call for a deeper adherence to Him. Jesus told His disciples, "In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!" (John 16:33).

I take much confidence in this Psalm, because I am praying that God will give me His grace in my struggle against "my enemies," and that He will defeat them utterly; indeed that they have already been conquered in Christ. These are the "enemies" I find within myself, my own sins, bad habits, and weaknesses. My enemies are the distress and frustration that weigh upon my soul, the smallness of my faith and love and trust.

The only enemies that can truly harm me are the sins and resistance in me that hold me back from giving myself in trusting love to God, in whatever circumstances He has placed me.  And so I must hope, I must pray and struggle, I must get up off the ground again and again and rejoin the battle to conquer myself so that I might belong to Him.

Psalm 143

Lord, listen to my prayer:
turn your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful, you are just; give answer.
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no one is just in your sight.

The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
my heart is numb within me.

I remember the days that are past:
I ponder all your works.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.

Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.

In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
for you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth.

For your name’s sake, Lord, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.
In your mercy put an end to my foes;
all those who are oppressing my soul,
for I am your servant.