Psalm 64: Know your enemy

I heard this joke about enemies….

A Canadian bird decided it was nonsense to fly south for the winter. So he stayed behind. After awhile, it got very cold. He could not stand it, so he decided to fly south after all. When ice began to form on his wings, and he could no longer fly, he landed in a barnyard.

Half-frozen and at the point of death the bird became dismayed when a cow came along and dropped a “plop” on him. After a short time though, the ice began to melt off the bird. He started to get warm under that “plop.”

The bird thought to himself, “It’s getting warm. I’m going to live! I’m going to live!” Happy once again, he began to sing little bird songs from underneath the “plop.”

Soon however a cat came along and heard this noise coming from underneath this “plop.” The cat moved the stuff off the bird and ate the bird.

There are three morals to the story:
1. Not everyone who drops a “plop” on you is necessarily your enemy
2. Not everyone who moves it off you is necessarily your friend
3. And if someone does drop a “plop” on you, keep your mouth shut.

To me, my enemy is any pitfall that prevents me from living my life in a God destined manner. The dictionary definition of the word enemy is “someone, something, or some power that hates, or seeks to harm, or oppose someone, or something.” If I believe the purpose of my life is to live with the ability to carry out God’s will for my life, then anything that opposes my ability to live this way is my enemy. If I am interested in conquering my enemies, then I must know my enemy’s characteristics and their effect on my life.

King David vividly describes an example of enemy opponents in Psalm 64. By examining the actions and attributes listed of his enemy, I can understand more clearly, what my opponent might look like. I think it is important to define this area because my antagonist may not be an actual person, but a person’s actions, and that person could be me—working against myself. While King David’s enemies were real men, there is much truth in the 1970 quote that says, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

What follows is the Psalm 64 list of enemy actions. These “ancient” pitfalls might just be the same ones that prevent me from living my life in a God destined manner today.

The first enemy characteristic referred to in my Bible version (Amplified) is terror. In verse 1, David asks God to guard and preserve his life from terror. Terror can be anything, or any situation that propels us into fear, dread, or alarm. God’s goal for us is to live unconquered by fear. To get over anxious ways, we need self-examination. We need to know when, or why, the situation, or person evokes our feelings of fear, or panic. If there is a real danger, we need to get away physically. If we have unrealistic fears, we might need to cling to scriptures and receive medicine or counseling until we can find a way to move beyond those fears.

The next collection of verses (2-6) suggests enemy attributes of secrecy, conspiracy, scheming, casting blame on the blameless, venomous word slinging, injustice, reckless thinking, and pride. All are listed as descriptions of David’s enemies. To avoid being my own enemy, I must ask myself, am I harboring secret sins? Am I leaning towards ungodly actions or behaviors? Am I accepting influences from others or situations that lead to plots and schemes and ungodliness? Am I blaming others instead of examining myself? Am I speaking or thinking recklessly?

A spiritual phenomenon is described next in verse 7 & 8. It says God “will shoot an unexpected arrow at the enemy and suddenly they shall be wounded. They will be made to stumble and their own tongues turned against them. People who see them will shake their heads and flee away.” I don’t know about you, but I am certain I do not my actions to ignite God to become my adversary. Nor do I want my stubbornness to yield a fall and have my words turned against me. Having others look at me, shake their heads, and flee, is not appealing either.

In verse 9 & 10, David lists some results of succeeding in combat against the enemy. When enemies are conquered, he says, “all men shall reverently fear and be in awe and declare the work of God. They will wisely consider and acknowledge that it is His doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord and shall trust and take refuge in Him; all the upright in heart shall glory and offer praise.”

So, know your enemy. The only one you can really conquer is you. Use whatever good you can to turn against any shade of terror, fear, panic, anxiety, secrecy, conspiracy, scheming, evildoing, godlessness, blame casting, venom spewing, injustice, reckless speech, and thinking in YOUR life.

Because of God, the fight will be worth the struggle.

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