Many Forms of Persecution

1 Save me, O God, by your name;
    vindicate me by your might. Psalm 54:1

To be certain, King David had a lot of people who were after him in a big way. It’s no wonder that in many of these psalms, he’s begging for the Lord to save and vindicate him. We only get a small glimpse at what he told the Lord, but it’d be interesting to know how he kept from going insane while hiding out in caves and running all the time.

  • Did he wring his hands wondering what he could have done differently?
  • Did he ever wish he wasn’t chosen to be king?
  • Did he wonder how his life would have been different had he not sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah?

As many of you know, I am always looking for ways to pray for persecuted Believers around the world. The reasons they are persecuted are very different than why David was sought after. Still, though, they must continue to function in their daily lives, not knowing when the police will throw them into prisons for some of the most obscure reasons.

North Korea, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Libya continue to persecute believers. Choose a country and please pray for churches, pastors, pastors’ families, and boldness in the face of persecution.

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Iran and Israel

6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! Psalm 53:6

Fortunately for Israel and for us, Salvation did come out of Zion – Jesus Christ.

As I post here often, the nation of Israel is in the midst of some very interesting times. As the few democracies in the Middle East, their freedoms are threatened regularly by terrorist groups around the world. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, ties it all to Iran.

Iran itself is in the midst of cultural chaos as more and more people find freedom. The Government would love to see Israel destroyed, but many of the people are tired of the hatred and violence. The Green Revolution of 2009-2010 gave many Iranians a taste of freedom.

Pray for Iran. There are many people seeking the truth there. Pray that they will find it. Pray also for the thousands if not millions of believers there. They are forbidden for evangelizing, and many are thrown into prison.

Pray also for the Peace of Jerusalem. Pray that the word of God would penetrate the hearts of minds of those seeking to know the truth.

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Dread

5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them. Psalm 53:5

Have you ever truly dreaded doing something? We all have, whether it was a tough phone call to make, a big speech you carelessly planned six months ago and is now a week away, letting someone go at the office, getting up some mornings, and on and on. If you’re like me, you’ll put it off until the very last minute and then just get it over with.

The people David is referring to are the godless. I’ve often wondered what goes through their minds when they’re nearing death. Is it the dread David mentions? Had they wished they had done more for humanity? Even atheist W.C. Fields asked for a Bible on his deathbed just “to look for loopholes.” He knew where his life had taken him, and he knew that the Bible had some truth in it (or else he wouldn’t have even joked about it).

What is it you’re dreading today? What is the one thing you wish was off your plate right now?

Lay your burden down. Just lay it down at His feet.

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All of It

4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on God. Psalm 53:4

When you’re the figurative kings and queens of the world, you can afford to look down on the little people and do as you wish. That is, if there was no God. You see, what the evil seem to forget is that God exists and is keeping track of things.

  • He saw all the people you had to step on to get where you are.
  • He saw all the shady, back room deals you had to make (at the expense of your workers) to raise the earnings this quarter.
  • He saw all the crony legislation you passed to help some donors make sure they contributed to your next campaign cycle.
  • He heard all your condescending comments about your constituents’ stupidity when the doors were closed and the cameras were off.

We get so caught up in our daily routines that we forget that God sees and hears it all.

All of it. Every single word and action. All of it.

I think if we were to meditate on that very concept for five minutes a day for the next month, it would change how we view God and the world. I think it would open our eyes as to how we treat others, especially those who cannot possibly benefit us.

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Sinners are People Too

3 Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one. Psalm 53:3

This verse is echoed by the apostle Paul in Romans 3:10, and is foundation for understanding the “human condition” i.e, sinful. Of course if we were to only read this verse, it would drive us crazy because we would walk around depressed and hopeless. In fact, the next few verses talk about that part of the equation.

But for now, it’s most important for us to understand that none of us are sinless. Even in our “post-Christ” life, we are sinners. It’s our nature. We can argue all day long about whether or not we were born sinners.

The truth still remains that we are sinners.

Yesterday.

Today.

Tomorrow.

Without that foundational understanding and acknowledgement of who we are, we certainly cannot move on to who He is. It can also help us understand others because we begin to realize that they are sinners too.

Just like us.

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