Are We There Yet?

17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
    Rescue me from their ravages,
    my precious life from these lions. Psalm 35:17

This is a question we ask more often as the world becomes more and more corrupt. You see, we want God to be active.

  • We want Him to intervene because often we see no sense at all to crime and justice and corruption.
  • We see the guilty go free and the innocent maligned.
  • We see good people destroyed and the evil rise.

Often, though, while we’re slow to admit it, that longing for eternity and the Second Coming, is what keeps us sane and motivated. We do what we can when we can, and keep asking, “How long, O Lord?”

What’s the best response to a child on a long car journey asking “Are we there yet”?

Almost. Just a little bit longer.

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A Different Kind of Thinking

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good
and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14     I went about mourning
    as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
    as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
    assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
    They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
    they gnashed their teeth at me. Psalm 35:11-16

Have you ever felt you were unjustly punished or mistreated for doing good? You’re not alone.

Millions of Believers feel this every day in persecuted countries. These are countries that openly and deliberately single out Christians because of what they believe. The scars, humiliation, and beatings they feel are very real. Often, though, we hear stories of such persecution followed by how the persecuted responded: prayer and rejoicing that they were worthy to be persecuted for the Name.

It’s a very different kind of thinking, one that is totally in line with selfless thinking.

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No One

10 My whole being will exclaim,
    “Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
    the poor and needy from those who rob them.” Psalm 35:9

King David asks the question that should be asked often, “Who is like you, Lord?” Of course we all know the answer: no one. So then why should we be asking it then?

I find that we compare things and people and place all the time. It’s our frame of reference. For instance, if I were to tell you I lifted 17 pounds of nothing yesterday, you’d be puzzled. You understand basically how heavy 17 pounds is, and you know what nothing is, but you do not have a frame of reference for those two together. It’s very abstract.

So, when we ask “Who is like you, Lord?” the answer is difficult because there has not been anything like the Lord from all of eternity. People may think and act they ware like him, but there really is nothing remotely close in comparison.

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Half the Battle

9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
    and delight in his salvation. Psalm 35:9

When God does something miraculous in your life, do you want to rejoice like David did? For him, he had been surrounded by his enemies, but as the previous verses suggest, if God were to answer his prayer, then there would be “dancing in the streets!”

The thing is, it doesn’t take a miracle to rejoice in the Lord and to delight in His salvation. It does take a determined effort first (1) to remember to praise Him and (2) ti actually do it. I suspect our hangup is at point #1.

We forget. We get busy and forget what He saved us from. We forget that without Him we would be nothing.

If you’re like me, remembering to praise Him is more than half the battle.

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For and Against Your Enemies

7 Since they hid their net for me without cause
    and without cause dug a pit for me,
8 may ruin overtake them by surprise—
    may the net they hid entangle them,
    may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. Psalm 35:7-8

Sometimes it’s necessary to pray for and against your enemies. The Bible teaches us in the New Testament to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). As we see in these verses (and plenty of others in the Book of Psalms), David is thinking out loud in his prayers and wishing that the traps that have been set will backfire on his enemies. So how do these two concepts jibe with each other?

I think this is summed up in Psalm 55:9, “Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.” Obviously there are all kinds of prayers you can pray for (and against) someone. You are praying for the person but it’s a “productive” prayer.

Think of the tiny nation of Israel. Somebody has been praying Psalm 55:9 over that nation for the past 60 years since they became a nation in 1948. Israel is surrounded by those who hate them (and would love to annihilate them), but no one seems to be able to destroy them. God has clearly confused the minds of those who would destroy her, and often when they do try, their methods backfire.

So in this instance, people are praying for the Muslims who surround Israel, and they are praying David’s prayer in this Psalm.

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