Psalm 138 (NIV)
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.
5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.
6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures for ever – do not abandon the works of your hands.
This Psalm is attributed to David who, as we know, did walk in the midst of trouble (verse 7a). Whether it was as a result of the threat in his younger days from King Saul or the threat from his own son Absalom during David’s kingship, he knew trouble.
I would be surprised if many of us knew trouble to the same extent that David did. Often he feared for his life – and with good reason. Although some who read this are in the vocation of politics, and trouble is an ever-present component of that vocation, the kind of trouble encountered in Australian politics today seldom if ever is life-threatening. Even so, politicians and especially those who are in the Senate and House of Representatives in our Federal Parliament are accustomed to trouble. Some have “enemies” (KJV, ESV*) or “foes” (NIV, verse 7b) and those enemies or foes can harbour malicious intent.
As for others reading this reflection, do you have foes? You might initially dismiss this thought as more relevant to times-gone-by, believing that in twenty-first century Australia we are preserved from the threat of personal enemies or foes.
Would you think again! The unseen enemy of all who love and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ is the prince of this world, the father of lies, Satan. Satan is intent on undermining and ultimately destroying all who would follow Jesus Christ. We must not make light of this threat. Reflect on Jesus’ words to the Apostle Peter (Luke 22: 31):
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
Much later, Simon Peter wrote to the young churches (1 Peter 5: 8-9):
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
You and I do have at least one enemy in the spiritual realm. So let us join with the psalmist in trusting that God will preserve our lives, stretching out his hand against the anger of our foes (verse 7). God will fulfil his purposes for us (verse 8) and so we praise him:
Your love, O LORD, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.
* KJV: King James Version; ESV: English Standard Version