Who's My Enemy Anyway? A Battle Plan From Psalm 94
Have you noticed there is a lot of talk about enemies in the Psalms? The label changes: adversaries, the wicked, evildoers. But one fact remains regardless of the specific Psalm, everyone seems to be at war.
It makes sense biblically. If you stop and read almost anywhere in the Old Testament, Israel is being attacked or fighting or being enslaved or being taunted or really anything you wouldn't want to happen to you by some sort of enemy.
It kind of makes sense currently too. The tragic shooting that happened last week in a Charleston church prayer meeting shocked our country to the core. And, unfortunately, it gets added to the laundry list of so many senseless violent outbreaks that have happened in our past. People name each other as enemies. It feels like war too.
But what about personally? If there is so much talk about enemies and war in the Psalms, there has got to be some sort of internal application. As I read, the texts begs me to ask myself the question, "Who are my enemies?"
My immediate answer? No one. I don't feel like I'm at war with anyone. I like people. I'm pretty friendly. I don't get road rage. I don't have a nemesis. I don't write down secret plots to take down others in my pursuit of fame and fortune.
But that answer felt too easy. Too simple. Too literal. Not exactly genuine.
So I turned to the women of my Bible study small group. Because we've been tracking through A Summer of Psalms, the topic of enemies has actually come up quite a bit. And we've asked the question, "Who are your enemies?"
One answer? "Lies. Lies are my enemy. They whispered things that I know aren't true, but I believe them sometimes anyway."
Another? "Me. I feel like I'm my own worst enemy. My wants and desires and pride get in the way."
My group of ladies were on point, and I totally identified with those enemies. Mostly because they are my enemies too. I fight a mental battle every day against lies of not being enough. Pretty enough. Smart enough. Working hard enough. Am I fulfilled enough. Thinking about the future enough. Giving enough. Loving enough. All the "enoughs." And that focus on myself is really a twisted form of pride. It's self-focus.
It's a battle every day. It's war.
I think it's part of a war we are all fighting. Jesus talks about it. Paul writes about it in Ephesians 6. We're all fighting against something or someone. And, while I was reading Psalm 94, I got the sense that the author was giving us a battle plan to aide us in our fight.
I'm no battle strategist, but I'm pretty certain it would be pointless to go to war without understanding what you're up against. So, the first thing in our battle plan is to identify and know our enemies. I saw this in Psalm 94:1-7. The author of the Psalm describes his adversaries: proud, wicked, evil, they speak arrogantly, they crush and afflict, they demean The Lord and His character.
And isn't that so true about the lies we believe? They lead us away from dependency on God by telling us He isn't enough. They speak arrogantly and crush and afflict our abilities.
Then in verses 8-11 the author of the Psalm gives a warning to his enemies:
"Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge—the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath."
What a reminder of who God is. He made us all. He sees and knows all. He knows that the thoughts of man are a breath. Temporary. He's the ONE in control.
So, after we identify and know our enemies, then why don't we put them in their proper context? The lies I believe have no place in light of who God is. All of those self-focused "enoughs" that run through my mind and have the capacity to take my day captive - those lies have the staying power of a breath when compared to our God. They are powerless.
Finally, the author of the Psalm reminds himself of the promises God has already given to the righteous - to the ones who are fighting. There are many in verses 12-23. God calls His people blessed. He gives them rest from days of trouble. He promises to never forsake them.
I especially loved the direct promises from verses 17-19:
"If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, "My foot slips," your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations (comforts) cheer my soul."
After I've identified my enemies and put them in their place, then I have to focus on who God is and what He has done and is doing for me. He gives me His help and His unending love and kindness. He comforts and cheers my soul. Truths like these have the power to break the power of our enemies. God is who He says He is, so I don't have to waste one moment worrying about the "enoughs." I have Him, and He is enough.
I grasp these promises and all the others He's given and hold on as tightly as possible. And I keep fighting the battle against my enemies. And I remember the war is already won.
"We don't fight for victory, we fight from it." Jerry Vines
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook