Have you ever felt surrounded by enemies, like everyone was out to get you? While it’s doubtful that everyone is against you, it can sometimes feel that way. We must take captive vain imaginations that exaggerate the work of the enemy (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must submit ourselves to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). If someone is attacking us, we must remember people are not our enemies (Ephesians 6:12). We must also forgive others (Ephesians 4:32) and pursue peace if possible (Hebrews 12:14). In Asaph’s last psalm, he didn’t over-inflate Israel’s plight. He mentioned ten cities that formed an allegiance against Israel to destroy them as a nation (vv. 4-8). This wasn’t one or two people spreading gossip about someone. This was thousands of soldiers lining up to wipe Israel out!
There are still nations aligned today who desire to overthrow Israel as a nation. God’s Word promises He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse them (Genesis 12:1-3). I stand with Israel! We must pray for Jerusalem’s peace, security, and prosperity (Psalm 122). If you look at a map of the cities listed by Asaph, you will discover they surround Israel in every direction. When Jesus saw the condition of Jerusalem, He wept over it (Luke 19:41). We must remember there are enemies outside of God’s people and enemies within. Better said, the church can be its worst enemy when sin is allowed to reign instead of Jesus the King of Kings.
Asaph prayed for God to move on behalf of His people (vv. 1-3). He also employed something we must all do when surrounded by the enemy. Something we sometimes forget. He recalled the times God had delivered them in the past. Psalm 83:9 describes how Asaph celebrated the victory God gave Gideon over the Midianites and Deborah and Barak over Sisera and Jabin (Judges 4-8). Those mentioned in verses 10-12 were also Midianites God defeated in Judges. We sometimes forget the victories and deliverances God has done because of the looming enemy right in front of us. We must remember, “They shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
In verses 14-18 of Asaph’s psalm, like some of David’s, it may seem Asaph is being vengeful. All Asaph asked was for God to remember His promises to Israel (e.g. Genesis 12:1-3, 26:3, 28:13-14, Deuteronomy 4:40). Some are against Israel today and against God’s church as well. While Christians are commanded to pray for their enemies and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39, 44), we must also stand firm in the promises that God will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:17-19).
We don’t react to being attacked the way those in the world do with the devil’s methods like gossip, lies, slander, wrath, and brawling. We are called to put on spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-16). We have other powerful weapons of warfare that are not of this world. They include God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17), prayer (Ephesians 6:18), the Spirit of God (Romans 8:26), worship (2 Chronicles 20:22-23), the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11), fasting (Isaiah 58:6), the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11), and our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Asaph asked God to turn his enemies away from evil to God (v. 16) and know that He alone is the “Most High over all the earth” (v. 18). That should be our prayers for our enemies as well.
- Do you pray your enemies will be saved?
- Are you employing the weapons of the devil or the Lord?
- Do you recall the victories of the past to rediscover the faithfulness of the Lord?
Lord, help me remember that You are good. You are my protector, defender, and shield. You are a harbor in the middle of the storm. Help me use the weapons of warfare that put You on the frontline. Help me pray for my enemies to turn to You. Thank You for the victories of the past that build my faith for the future. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.