Oh God, You ARe My Fortress

Psalms 59:1-5 ESV

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

“For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah”

As followers of Jesus Christ, who are our enemies? Well, Satan (the devil) is our number one enemy, but we also have human enemies who, in one way or another, are being used by Satan to come against us to try to defeat us. For, Satan’s goal is to destroy Jesus Christ and his gospel and all those who are following Jesus with their lives and who are spreading the gospel.

Sometimes the Lord will provide physical deliverance from our enemies, but since he promises us that we will suffer with him in this world and that we will be hated and persecuted and even put to death for our walks of faith with Christ, we should not expect that he is always going to provide physical deliverance, but he will deliver us from the evil effects of the opposition.

Our enemies will come in all different forms. They won’t all be hotly pursuing us. Some will just be ignoring us and rejecting us and not wanting to have anything to do with us because we are an offense to them. But they may be doing evil against us behind our backs where we can’t see, and they may be gossiping about us or slandering us so that others will hate us, too.

And then there will be those who, to our faces, will be friendly and all smiles but who are stabbing us in the back (figuratively speaking) when we can’t see what they are doing. For they are living double lives, much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They are the double-minded, professing walks of faith on the outside while they are secretly sinning against us and God behind closed doors.

And then there will be those enemies who will be aggressively pursuing us much like Jesus’ enemies did to him. They will try to trick us so that they can trip us up in some way, or they will set up traps for us, hoping we will fall into them, hoping to discredit us in some way. Or they will aggressively come against us and attack us and say all manner of evil against us hoping to bring us down and to get us to stop teaching the gospel truth.

But, again, the Lord did not promise us a life free from enemies and free from persecution and mistreatment. In fact, he said if we are going to follow him that we will be hated and persecuted as he was and for righteousness’ sake because we are the Lord’s followers, and because the Lord has called us out of the world, and so we are no longer living like the world of sin.

[Matt 5:10-12, 44; Matt 24:9; Lu 21:12; Jn 15:18-20; 2 Co 4:9; 2 Tim 3:12; Rev 12:17; Rev 14:12]

Psalms 59:6-8 ESV

“Each evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
There they are, bellowing with their mouths
with swords in their lips—
for ‘Who,’ they think, ‘will hear us?’
But you, O Lord, laugh at them;
you hold all the nations in derision.”

Satan never gives up. He may retreat for a while when we resist him, but he always comes back and tries again, often trying a different approach than he tried before, or trying the same approaches but at times when we are physically or emotionally weak, and so he hopes he can get at us this time. For he is very determined to take us down with him.

And the humans he has engaged in his services to do likewise will also not give up unless they repent of their sins and turn to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways, as Paul did. They may retreat for a while, but they may come back with a different approach or at a time when we are the most vulnerable to being impacted by their schemes against us, hoping this time will work.

And it is because they have not been caught in their evil schemes, or if they have, no one cared enough to do anything about it, especially since today’s modern church, at least here in America, is following a philosophy that says, “Stay in your own lane,” and “Don’t judge,” and “Don’t say anything that might offend anyone,” and “Be tolerant,” and “Don’t be self-righteous.”

And since no one is judging them, unless it is the ones they are coming against, they feel at liberty to keep on in their sinful practices, for they are convinced that no one can see or hear the evil that they are doing, and so they have a false sense of safety because they feel as though they will not get caught and therefore they will get away with the evil they are doing.

But the Lord laughs at them, not because he thinks that what they are doing is funny, but because they have the gall to think that God will do nothing just because he has not yet punished them for their insolence and for their sins against him and against his servants. But God allows sin to exist and for sinners to commit their sins, for a time.

But a time is coming when God will judge us all for what we have done in the body, by our deeds. And if we have sown to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we have sown to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. So don’t get cocky and think you are safe just because you haven’t been caught yet. Your time will certainly come.

[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]

Psalms 59:9-10 ESV

“O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”

This is to be our approach to God no matter what we are going through in life. He is our Strength. He is our fortress. He is our hope and our joy and our peace in all the troubles this life may throw at us. We are to keep our eyes fixed on him and not let the things of this world and our afflictions and our persecutions get us down. For our God is still in control over all things.

So, we must put our lives in his capable hands and trust that he knows what is best for us. We must believe him that he works all things for the good of those who love him (obey him) who are called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28). And we must continue to die with him daily to sin and to self and to walk with him in obedience to his commands, because we love him.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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