Scripture: Psalm 83:9 Do to (the enemies of Israel) as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon, 10 who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground… 13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind. 14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane.
Observation: God’s people had been bearing the brunt of hostility from other nations. In their distress the psalmist cries out to God for help. He asks for God to make his enemies “dung for the ground”. He doesn’t just want God to liberate Israel. He wants his enemies to pay!
Application: It’s a natural instinct to seek revenge when we feel we’ve been wronged. “An eye for an eye”. As I reflect on the awful violence of the last few weeks, it seems this natural instinct has been playing out before our eyes. Violence begets violence. And as I read about recent incidents from afar, I realize it’ easy for me to seek peace. I haven’t had a deadly encounter in which I am attacked by a violent police officer. Nor have I had my co-workers killed or wounded in the line of duty. This situation has not been personal to me, as it has for many others. I acknowledge and respect that.
Yet I consider this morning Jesus’ teaching, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is such a profound and difficult teaching because it flies in the face of all human instinct for revenge. That said, if this violence is ever to stop, this sort of mindset for peace must take root. Somehow. Some way. By God’s grace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we live in a violent world. People attack other people on a daily basis. These days, it seems that violence rules the land. This morning we pray for peace. Give us grace to resist our baser instincts and follow after our Lord Jesus. And teach us to be peacemakers in whatever ways we can. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.