My wife and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year. As we look back on the last two decades, we are grateful for the many blessings God has allowed us to experience. Things like having children and ministry opportunities. We are also grateful for the trials and difficulties that He brought us through. Both are reasons to praise God.
When Israel looked back on its history in today’s reading, it celebrated not what it had achieved as a nation but what it had survived. From the time of its infancy as slaves in Egypt, Israel had been repeatedly threatened and invaded by foreign powers. The Midianites, Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, and on and on. The list of their oppressors is a long one. In a vivid image, the Psalmist compares the violence these nations have done to Israel to a farmer plowing a field (v. 3). Israel had suffered time and time again.
But the Lord had been with Israel even in those difficult times. The Psalmist declares, “But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked” (v. 4). There are many examples in the Old Testament of God delivering and saving Israel. This demonstrates God’s righteous character.
The psalm concludes by turning to the present. The Psalmist sees many in Israel who had turned their back on the Lord. They “hate Zion” (v. 5). This is more than just the disdain of a rural resident for the city. Zion was where God chose to dwell among Israel. These people had abandoned God and were working against what He was doing in the world. The Psalmist prays that their efforts would not succeed (vv. 6–8). God would once again come to save.
>> The apostle Paul reminds us as believers today that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). We can pray today that God will not allow evil to triumph.
Today we pray against the evil at work in the world. Father, foil the designs of Satan, Your foe. Frustrate the efforts of evil men who lead others astray. Thank You for the ultimate futility of the Devil’s fight.