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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Enemies Without Cause (Psalm 35:7, 19-20)

David spends about thirteen years of his young adult life running from someone gunning for him when he has done nothing wrong to provoke the animosity. The good that he has done for Israel scares King Saul. (Insecure and easily threatened people find malicious intent where none exists and a one-sided enmity develops.) So, what do you do when the good that you've done threatens another? David teaches us how to handle those who are enemies without a cause or reason, those who devise false accusations:

"Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause they dug a pit for me . . . Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land." (Emphasis added)
  • He lives in the light of God's knowledge regarding the truth: "O, Lord, you have seen this;"
  • He finds comfort in God's nearness: "Do not be far from me, O Lord."
  • He appeals to God to defend him: "Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and my Lord."
  • He trusts the Lord to vindicate him by correcting the enemy: "Vindicate me . . . Do not let them think . . . "
The years of running from King Saul prepare David to pray for his enemies, trust the Lord to deal with his enemies, and wait on the Lord to deal with his enemies in God's timing.

Today's reading speaks closely to a situation in my own life. Someone who I consider a friend found malicious intent in something good that I had done for them. I became to them an enemy without cause. It hurt me then--and to be honest, it still stings (indicating, perhaps, wounded pride on my part). How could the good that I had done been perceived by them as malicious? Like David, I must choose to appropriate the Light of God on the situation. He knows. He sees. Further, as my husband reminds me, I must "give up my claim to what is owed by my brother" (Deuteronomy 15:3).

A debt is something that someone owes you. In David's case it was a place of service as a reward for loyal service to the king. In my case it is the benefit of understanding and trust in friendship. Releasing the debt didn't stop David from having to run from Saul, but it freed his heart from bitterness. Releasing my friend's debt frees my heart from bitterness but may never restore the relationship to the previous level. I have to accept that.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 7
  • List the imagery David uses in this psalm to describe his relationship with the Lord.
Psalm 35
  • How does David view God in this psalm?
Psalm 57
  • What does David's running from Saul do for his relationship with God? His own spiritual formation?
Psalm 142
  • How does David handle what is going on in his life?
  • How does David consistently view the Lord?
Turning truth into prayer:
Are you a fighter or a forgiver? Ask the Lord to help you release those who've misunderstood you, misrepresented you, and maligned you. Choose forgiveness. Don't defend yourself. Trust God to defend you in His own way and in His own timing.