Today: [Psalm 94] Dealing with Those That Oppose You. In this chapter the writer nakedly calls for vengeance against his enemies. In the Old Testament was it ever allowable to “hate your enemies”? When you are opposed and persecuted unfairly what is to be your response? After you rest your case in God what happens next? This chapter will help you understand how to posture yourself toward your detractors in a manner that will not painfully cost you in the outcome.
[Psa 94:1-23 KJV] 1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 [How long] shall they utter [and] speak hard things? [and] all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. 7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard [it]. 8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and [ye] fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, [shall not he know]? 11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they [are] vanity.
Some ascribe this psalm to Moses on the occasion of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Others suggest Davidic authorship but since there is no preamble referencing the writer or the occasion we do not know who wrote it. Clearly the writer is calling out to God for retribution against his enemies. We can all see ourselves in this state of mind from time to time. When our wishes are thwarted, or someone comes against us or treats us unfairly – we want justice, and sometimes vengeance against them. We spend much time and energy thinking about and stressing over the opinions of those who don’t see us the way Jesus sees us. We often in spite of ourselves want consequences against those who make our lives difficult.
Jesus taught the following in Matthew 5.
[Mat 5:43-48 KJV] 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Now Jesus seems to be implying that the Old Testament allows for the Israelite under that covenant to hate his enemy. What was the “teaching of old time” Jesus was referring to? In reality there is no scripture in the bible that advocates or even allows for hating one’s enemy. Apparently when Jesus mentions this well-known saying that allowed for hating an enemy it was merely a popular saying. We have many such popular sayings today such as “God helps those who help themselves” or “cleanliness is next to godliness” or “God works in mysterious ways”. All of these sayings are attributed to the bible but are in fact not found there.
In the Old Testament the people of God were commanded to be kind and fair minded with their enemies:
Exo 23:4,5 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
Pro 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Pro 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
What do we do then? Just “roll over” and allow others to run rough shod over us in life? That is not the case. We are to love people because God is love – but we do not love them on their terms but God’s. Many times your enemy (sometimes even under your own roof) will taunt you with “I thought you were a Christian! Why don’t you do what I say?” If you want to identify where Satan’s seat is look for that which is adverse in your life originating with people for Satan’s name means adversary. Ancient Jewish culture believed that someone could be “a satan” against you in different situations, believing more in the role of a satan rather than a personal devil. This is not to say there is no personal devil but we tend to blind ourselves to his devices when we fail to see his assaults against us originating much closer to home.
12 Blessed [is] the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. 15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? [or] who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? 17 Unless the LORD [had been] my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. 20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God [is] the rock of my refuge. 23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; [yea], the LORD our God shall cut them off.
The writer is not taking matters in his own hands. He is calling for God to aright the situation he finds himself in. He sees his enemy unchecked in their scorn and cries out to God for vindication. In verses 1-11 he makes his complaint and in the remainder of the psalm he expresses his faith. In verse 13 we see the promise that God will give you rest from “days of adversity”. In Christian culture many contend that man’s life is filled with difficulty on this earth and that the only respite will come when we get to heaven. This chapter repudiates that assertion. Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came that we might have life and life more abundantly.
It is astounding to me the e-mails I get when I teach on this – insisting that it is God’s will for people to consistently go through things in life that fall outside this definition of abundance. My response to this is always “are you volunteering?” It is interesting that those who look at others suffering and see it as God’s plan – will complain the loudest when they themselves are struggling. We have to get this contaminated thinking from our minds. Instead of scouring the scriptures to find justification for the suffering of others why not lay hold on the promises for both them and us? A negative, pessimistic viewpoint is the inkwell of unbelief for many people who embrace a victim mentality who do not have the will to believe God for victory in life.
Verse 12 speaks of the chastening of the Lord. How does God chasten? In John 15:3 Jesus told Peter “Now you are clean through the word I have spoken unto you…” Many people think they are purged through scourging and suffering. We see in the words of Jesus that His word and His teaching are his chosen means to cleanse and purify your heart. If we ignore His word or don’t give it place in our lives then there will be consequences – but these consequences originate in OUR disobedience not God’s first choice for teaching us something. The whole idea of seeing God as the one that sends suffering creates the suggestion that it couldn’t possibly be disobedience or unbelief on OUR part, rather it is “God’s inscrutable purpose” because we are “special” or “chosen” for suffering. This is an indictment of the faithfulness of God and a very dangerous path to go down.
Verse 13 tells us that God will give you rest until the day comes that the pit is digged for the wicked. Once you have lived long enough you will find that those who make your life difficult and go on their way provoking and pressuring all those around them – will eventually reap into their own experience the double of what they heap upon others. The best way to pray over them is “God – occupy them elsewhere…” and “God – bless them out of my life…” You will be amazed at what God will do to make that happen!
Verses 16-18 caution us not to get offended when others do not come to our defense. The scripture says a brother is born for adversity but it is a fact that those closest to you will fold their hands in piety and watch you get put through the meat grinder of opposition at times. I have gone to people very close to me in times of difficulty and solicited their advocacy – only to have them tell me “I want nothing to do with you until this situation you are going through is over …” Well thank you very much! With people like this around you the devil can take a day off! Yet when the storm passed and their lives came under assault they came around seeking support, assistance and encouragement. Be prepared to love without condition. Love them. Bless them. Learn from the experience. When you are in the same circumstance choose not to conduct yourself the way others have mistreated you in times past.
The chapter concludes with looking to the Lord for help and strength to endure. Sooner or later those who set themselves in adversity against you will reap the consequences of their choices. Sooner or later if you refuse to respond in kind the Lord will put your foot in the neck of your enemy. I have had people in my life supremely motivated to destroy my ministry and testimony but when their lives were thwarted they called on me for help. The Lord told me once “I have delivered your enemy into your hand – what are you going to do with him…” I replied “I am going to love him!” The Lord’s response was “just checking!” Be prepared to always walk in love toward those that are part of the opposition in your life.
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