Example in the Psalms
My signature scripture (Ps. 68:11 & 12 Amplified Bible) for this blog makes reference to defeating enemies. What kind of enemies am I talking about? I don't know about you but the ones I struggle with the most come to my mind and my emotions. When I'm dealing with these kinds of enemies, I often look to the psalms for help and instruction.
Psalm 41:7 provides a typical example of the problem: All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, a vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies. What we have here is imagination providing images of disaster in our mind, fueled by a voice whispering that we deserve the worst and predicting exactly that for us.
Psalm 42:9 shows us another enemy. It reads like this: I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Have you ever felt forgotten by God? There was a time of glory in your walk with Him but now there is silence and He seems to have withdrawn?
What do we do in times like that?
How do we deal with these kinds of enemies?
God My Rock
Photo by Carsten Clasohm
The psalmist was on the right track when He wrote, "I say to God my Rock." He started his complaint to God by acknowledging that God was his rock. His situation was threatening and his feelings were unstable. But God was his rock. He knew his circumstances and his feelings were temporary before a God who was His rock.
My Savior and My God
We see in vs. 4 that he pours out his soul to God. He doesn't whitewash how he feels. He remembers former good times with God. And in vs. 5 he encourages his soul. He exhorts himself to put his hope in God. He professes a future in which he will again experience God and praise Him. He addresses God as "my Savior and my God." He repeats this profession at the end of the psalm also.
In Psalm 43 the appeal for victory continues. Sometimes victories are a long time coming. Maybe the doctor's diagnosis was bad. Maybe a friend betrayed you and left you with a broken heart. At these times feelings and imaginations are incited and enlarged by the whisperings that come to us.
My King and My God
In the midst of this kind of struggle, the psalmist remembers that it is God who gives victory, and he adds this profession: You are my King and my God, through you we push back our enemies, through your name we trample our foes. He is saying, "Despite how I feel and the bad things going on in my life, I know that you are in charge. I put things in your hands. You are the one with the power and the wisdom and I trust you to bring victory when and how you see fit."
The psalmist has moved to a higher level in his faith and his profession. He may not have his victory yet, but he is expecting God his King to give it to Him. These psalms give us an example of how we relate to God while we are waiting for Him to "give us victory over our enemies and put our adversaries to shame" (Ps. 44:7). He will do it if we embrace Him as our Rock, our Savior, our King and our God.
Cliffs of Moher photo by Carsten Clasohm