Depending upon your personal situation and perspective, you may or may not experience much persecution these days. There are cries against the “unjust actions” against today’s Christian church while others point out the unrighteous actions of the church itself. There’s persecution everywhere whether we recognize it or not. If you haven’t actually read Psalm 57 yet, go ahead and read it now. Then, I want you to read it through the lens of Ephesians 6:12
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We are constantlybeing persecuted and pursued. Have you ever been tempted to sin? That’s persecution. Have you ever been chastised for your faith? That’s persecution. Have you ever wanted to leave your church community because it disappointed you in some way? That’s persecution! In James 1 we read:
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
Temptation doesn’t come from people, but the world forces of darkness that want to tear us away from our relationship with God the Father. In the Psalm, David speaks of persecution and destruction and then adds, “even the sons of men…” So, until verse 4, he wasn’t even considering mankind, he was talking about the spiritual realm! Yet James reminds us that God allows these things to come so we have opportunity to trust in the Lord, as David did, beneath God’s wings of protection. How many times have you tried to resist temptation and failed? Someone once said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” How true that is!
There are things we can remove from our lives to reduce the amount or strength of temptation. A good example is not buying junk food to keep in my cabinet when the temptation comes. The temptation to eat unhealthy snacks isn’t as appealing when there are none to be eaten! This spiritual persecution, the tempting of us to be sinful, is all around us. The devil and his schemes are constantly at work and we must be aware, my friends. We must make ourselves less of a target and when we are directly attacked, remember to take refuge in our Savior.
Let us take heart in Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
David praises God amidst his persecution and strife, know that he will be delivered by God’s hand as a result in taking refuge in it. He prays for mercy and protection and through the process he worships and glorifies the Lord! His heart is steadfast and sings praises. He shouts to the top of his lungs Glory Glory Hallelujah!