Tuesday, June 11, 2019

EmmDev 2019-06-11 [Keeping Going...] Defeating Giants

Defeating Giants

Our journey through Psalm 18 has been a great blessing so far...
  • We started with David looking back so that he could look forward. His looking back caused him to acknowledge who God is and what God has done. When David was entangled and strangled God heard him and rescued him.
  • Then we saw how God charged in to rescue David and we likened it to a lioness or mama bear and her cubs and recognised that God delights in us.
  • But we also saw that even when we are upright and good, trouble comes our way and David wrestled with this. We were reminded that even when darkness comes God turns it to light.
  • But God is gracious and God delivers and so David celebrates God's goodness and uprightness and he celebrates the strength that God gave Him. We inserted our own names as we saw how God strengthens our arms and gives us feet like a deer.

Today's section continues David's "victory dance", but, if you're anything like me, you might struggle with the sense of "total annihilation" that David rejoices in. He uses phrases like "I did not turn back until they were destroyed", "I crushed them so they could not rise" and "I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind."

We can't deny the fact that David was dealing with spiritual enemies and human ones. This opens up a significant issue that many have with the Old Testament: the "blood-thirsty" approach toward human enemies.

  • God ordering King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites
  • David rejoicing in crushing his enemies
  • Joshua cleansing the Promised Land of foreign nations
  • And there are other examples...

This is a complex issue, but it is vital to understand that the whole of the Old Testament is a growth curve toward Jesus' command to love our [human] enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Even in Old Testament stories like Elisha feeding the blinded Arameans instead of killing them we see the shift away from the apparent blood-thirstiness. Back in the New Testament Paul very helpfully reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the powers and principalities of evil behind them and while we don't make war against people, we must fight evil.

So, what do we take out of this part of David's Psalm?
Evil is a reality. There is evil in people and in systems. We need to tackle the Giants of abuse, greed, violence, arrogance, pride and hatred that come to steal, kill and destroy.

Read this next section bearing in mind that God gives us victory over the forces of darkness and establishes His Church when we walk in His paths and in His steps.

I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them--
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind;
I poured them out like mud in the streets.

43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations;
people I did not know are subject to me.
44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me;
foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.      (Psalms18:37-45)

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