In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
Today’s lesson from the Psalms comes from thePs. 55:
“Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down.” (Ps. 55:1-3 NLT)
We’ve all been there. We may be there at this very moment. We can all relate to this plea for help. Our problems may be enormously un-overcomable: disease, disaster, problems with family, financial difficulties, etc.; but if you look closely at this Psalm, you see that it actually isn’t talking about outside circumstances at all…
“…I see violence and conflict in the city.
Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is wickedness within the city…” (Ps. 55:9b, 10 NLT).
Just who is this enemy that is within? No surprises here. It’s the same one that prowls outside: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12 NLT), and that enemy,“prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8b NLT).
In fact, it is this enemy within our own homes, in our own minds, in our own family circles that will get us long before the ones outside. We are prepared for the ones outside, but the enemy within takes us completely by surprise.
The Bible records that Israel would have crossed the River Jordan nearly 40 years earlier than they did, but it was their own fear that stopped them. It was the report they had already heard from the other side that had stirred the enemy within. It was the circumstances that they could see that made them afraid…True enough, the enemy was formidable on the other side. There were giants and walled, fortified cities; but they would later conquer that same enemy in aroundseven years! No, the giants on the other side could have been overcome in much less than 47 years had it not been for the enemy within.
My husband and I faced a “River Jordan” experience this past week. We have responded to God’s calling to move to a new home, and we put our house is on the market. Unfortunately, it isn’t selling. On one level, we know that God will sell our house at exactly the right time, and that the perfect house for us to move to will be available at that time. It is, after all, His time and not our own. The problem is that we are a bit like Israel of old. We have seen the circumstances–the ‘good’ properties are all being snapped up by other buyers while we wait for our house to sell–and it has stirred disappointment, worry, control, doubt, discouragement…It has stirred ‘the enemy within’.
And so we cowered on the ‘bank’ of that ‘river’, afraid to ‘cross the river’ of faith, afraid of the ‘giants’ on the other side. God dealt with me first. He sent me a dream where He counselled me to ‘sleep’ in the back seat while He ‘drove’ into the ‘promised land’ of a new home. I was willing to do that, but God hadn’t yet dealt with my husband. He was still afraid of those ‘giants’ on the other side, he was still controlled by the enemy within.
This is when God gave me Ps. 55. I fully understood that we were being controlled by the enemy within, and recognizing the battle was spiritual in nature, I began to pray for my husband, rebuking the demons of doubt, worry, control and discouragement–the same demons I had been battling until two days prior–in Jesus’ name:
“But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice…
God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them.” (Ps 55: 16-19a NLT)
Jesus was the Victor this morning. We know there are still lots of ‘giants’ to be conquered, but we also know that the One who made a way through the River Jordan, who helped Israel conquer Canaan in just seven years, the One who told us to sell our house in the first place, willnever leave us or forsake us (See Deut. 31:6). Is there anything He is not big enough to do?
“Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction.
Murderers and liars will die young,
but I am trusting you to save me.” (Ps. 55:22-23 NLT)
What is your ‘River Jordan’? Will you succumb to the enemy within and allow it to keep you back from your ‘promised land’? Or will you claim Ps. 55? Will you recognize that you are being crippled by the enemy within? Will you give our burdens to Him and allow Him to care for you, no matter what the circumstances dictate?
Think about it!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Lessons From the Psalms” mini-series, please click here.)