(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
In the military when you are under attack you take evasive action. This evasive action is designed to remove yourself from the threat so you can continue towards your objective either by assaulting the threat head-on, by circumventing it in some way, or by regrouping and attacking again. Either way it involves a momentary loss of focus on your primary objective as your immediate objective changes to the threat you are currently faced with. It is a good rule of thumb that if you are coming under fire by an enemy you are probably on the right path to your primary objective. It is the enemy’s goal to rain down as much destruction, or distraction, as possible to cause you to lose sight of your original goal in the hopes that you are destroyed or that you turn back from your objective and possibly choose another objective to pursue. One thing you can be sure of is that as long as you are moving towards your objective you are at least moving forward; you are on offense and the enemy is reacting to your advances.
In Psalm 120 the author is obviously under attack from someone(s) who is talking badly about them or is trying to manipulate them with “lying lips and…deceitful tongues (Psalm 120:2 NIV).” He is lifting up a prayer to God for deliverance from this situation that he finds himself in. In this short prayer he tells God that he is in a bad place, either literally or figuratively, “5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I lived among those who hate peace (Psalm 120:5-6 NIV).” The author has confidence in God to deliver him, “3 What will he do to you, and what more besides, O deceitful tongue? (Psalm 120:3 NIV).”
Psalm 121 could be a continuation of Psalm 120 as the author exalts and praises God for His steadfast protection over them, “he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4 NIV).” Some commentaries call this the Soldier’s Psalm because of its reliance and faith in God to provide security and protection. What the psalmist is showing in these two Psalms is that all of their faith is upon God for protection and deliverance from all things that they may face.
When you find yourself in a situation similar to the one referred to at the beginning of this blog, taking evasive action from some sort of enemy attack, where does your faith for deliverance reside? In the heat of the moment skill and training are paramount to survival. However, no matter how well trained YOU are at evasion and counter-attack maneuvers your ultimate faith for protection should reside in God. Unfortunately, many will read this with the immediate reaction that it is of no concern to them because they are not in the military under attack by an enemy army. The sad part of that assumption is that it is an acceptance of the inevitability of their utter destruction.
We are all soldiers. God uses many references to this life being a war between us and the unseen enemies that seek to destroy us, “8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).” Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us we should equip ourselves with the armor of God. There are many references in Scripture to men falling prey to the enemy’s attacks and falling away. The direct references to the warfare that every believer engages in every minute of every day are too numerous to list within this short read so I will proceed with this simple statement, “we are at war!”
We all face spiritual attack. I know of a number of men that are currently undergoing a massive barrage of enemy attacks and I too am facing attacks in my life. And just like the military analogy at the beginning of this blog, each and every attack by the enemy is intended to divert us from our intended goal; a Christ-like life and dedication to God. In pursuit of this goal the enemy will deliver all manner of diversion, destruction, and confusion to keep us from staying on task. We must remain strong and faithful during these attacks as was the writer of these Psalms because we know that we are on task and on offense. We have to realize that the enemy is on defense and misery loves company. Christ’s sacrifice defeated the enemy and he is kicking and screaming and clawing for whatever, or should I say whoever, he can divert from a life with Christ because he knows that in the end his punishment is already determined. For those we come into contact with every day who may not know Christ we must remember that they are not yet lost; there is still time to allow Christ to bridge that gap between them and God but they must first make a decision that only they can make.
My prayer for each of you reading today is for you to strap on your armor, prepare your mind and heart for the attacks that will ensue, and then step into the battle with the confidence of knowing the same thing the writer of Psalm 120 and Psalm 121 knew: God is on YOUR side!!