Psalm 56:1–13 – Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE BATTLEFIELDS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE. In today’s scripture, we find David, a man after God’s own heart, in a mess. The Philistines have seized him. He feels not only the physical pressure of captivity, but also an intense spiritual and emotional conflict within his own soul. This whole Psalm is a pleading prayer revealing not only a literal situation in the life of David but also offering a keen insight into our own spiritual battles. From David, we identify not only the three spiritual battlefields we face as Christians, we also discover the key to victory on those battlefronts. Let’s look at the battlefields, then the key to victory. The spiritual battlefields we fight on every day as followers of Christ are oppression from the world, being afraid of people and circumstances, and a doubting of God’s Word.
First, the battle against worldly oppression. David pleads to his God because of the oppression of those who would seek his destruction. Notice the words he uses – “man tramples me”, “my enemies trample on me all day long”, “many attack me”, “All day long they injure my cause”, “all their thoughts are against me for evil”, and “They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps, they have waited for my life.” Friends, if we are going to be salt and light, not in homes and churches, but into the world Jesus sends us, be ready for the same type of treatment David received. We will suffer spiritual oppression from an increasingly hostile and godless culture. Try proclaiming the exclusivity of the Bible and Jesus Christ to live life here and the only hope for eternity, and oppression will arise. Be armed with this reality in our minds.
Next, the battle we fight is against the fear of people and circumstances. David prayed, “When I am afraid . . . I shall not be afraid, what can flesh do to me?” Why did he tell God these things? Because he battled against succumbing to the fear of people and circumstances. He was not isolated from the hurt of people. And neither are we. Many Christians cower in fear to live boldly for Christ because of the fear and opinions of people. Be armed with this reality in our lives. Compromise of the Word comes often from giving into the fear of people.
The final area of spiritual battle and the chief one Satan uses is the doubting of God’s Word. Twice David proclaims His trust and praise for God’s Word. Why? Because in the midst of dark circumstances, spiritual oppression from the world, and persecution from people, the devil will whisper, “If God really loves you, why is all this bad stuff happening?” The devil’s chief tactic against believers is to doubt God’s promises, His Word, during trying times. He did it to our first parents and was effective (Genesis 3:1-7). Why change what works? Be on guard against this attack when times are hard.
And now the key to victory. It is simple but profoundly powerful. We find it at the end of verse 9 – “This I know, that God is for me.” Run there, stay there, camp there, knowing storms of oppression and spiritual warfare will work for our good because God is indeed for us. And He cannot lie or take back His promise of being for us. We fight on the battlefields of spiritual warfare from a positon of strength and victory through Christ our Lord and our union with Him.
PRAYER: “Father, please forgive me for the too many times I doubt You love me due to tough circumstances.”
QUOTE: “With God always for us, we have the sure foundation to live bold and confident lives for Him”