I’ve always kind of glazed over those Psalms where David pleads with God to deliver him from those trying to take his life. And it confuses me when he asks God to shame and ruin those folks.
“Let those who seek my life be ashamed and altogether dismayed…” -Psalm 70
I just couldn’t relate. I don’t know anyone who wants to kill me. And even those people that I have a beef with, I don’t want God to ruin them. I mean, doesn’t God even say to love our enemies?
I just couldn’t make those Psalms mean much to me.
Well, not until something occurred to me.
We HAVE enemies. And we are in solemn warfare with them every day. They are the faces behind my ugliest temptations. They are the ones that trick me into doing the things I hate, and being who I despise. They are my relentlessly defeating thought patterns. They are my tendencies that take me further from my best self. I truly battle with these every day.
I'm reading a book, "Get out of Your Head" by Jennie Allen, and in it she tells how a woman pulled her aside at a conference she was speaking at and demonically said, "We're coming for you." The next season of her life was characterized by waking up at 3am with a racing mind every day and sinking deeply into doubt. It appears some of our self-defeating tendencies may be influenced by spiritual forces.
These voices say, “God has forsaken him; go after him and seize him; because there is none who will save.” -Psalm 71:
I do sense them at my door. I hate them because they have absolutely no good in mind for me. And because they are stronger than me. Those are the enemies I do want to be destroyed. Get that shit out of my life. And shit is a tame word for what they are to me.
Since I’ve realized this, I started reading the Psalms with a new fervor. God, save me from those who are trying to strangle your life out of me, the life you and I are trying so hard to protect and nurture, the life I want so badly.
I don’t know if David had human enemies threaten him as often as he writes about it (I thought he was a pretty popular king), but maybe sometimes he is talking about spiritual enemies.
David loved what God was calling him to, but he also knew way too well the power of his temptations. For they left one of his sons dead. And when I remember that this is what he, and I alike, struggle with, his cries for rescue and justice in the Psalms take on a whole new power and importance in my life.
Raw Spoon, 1-31-13