Battles that matter
Thoughts from Psalms 52-54 in the Passion translation
As you read today’s Psalms you may have felt like you were reading it for the second time. That’s because Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 are nearly identical. Psalm 14 is practical; Psalm 53 is prophetic. Psalm 14 deals with the past, Psalm 53 deals with the future. Psalm 14 deals with God’s verdict, while Psalm 53 speaks of God’s vengeance. If God says it once, it is to be believed. If he says it twice, it demands our utmost attention.
Both Chapters start with a verse that is nearly word for word the same, “Only the withering soul would say to himself, ‘There’s no God for me!’”The word for “fool” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “withering”. If we make no room for God, we have withered hearts, our moral sense of righteousness is put to sleep, and the noble aspirations of the heart shrivel up and die.
To me, it feels a bit eerie how much this prophetic Psalm seems to speak of our current world: people so ungodly, so full of themselves, believing they can make it in their own strength. As believers, we know that couldn’t be further from the truth, yet there are so many times when the devil dangles that lie in front of us to distract us from God’s truth. Believing this simple lie of the enemy opens the doorway to offense in our hearts. Offense leads to deep-rooted bitterness, and undealt with bitterness leads to hatred toward ourselves, others, and God. You are left feeling overlooked, unseen, and uncared for. It’s an out-of-control spiral much like what I described in Chapter 14: not only does God see you, He feels every ounce of your pain. He promises us that if we will stay the course, He will never leave us and never forsake us. When we cling to the promises of God we cannot stay in a dry land. We may pass through it, but God never intended any of us to build our house and live there, refusing to leave a place that we were only meant to pass through. The experience was supposed to strengthen our souls, but we chose to cling to the hurt attached to the experience, and it has now become our identities. When we question where God is, and who He is, we exalt our brokenness over His character of all-knowing, healer, restorer, and lover of our souls. When we believe the lie that God has forgotten us or turned His back on us, we begin living from a place of panic - trembling with terror, always wondering who or what will hurt us next.
David understood that he was not fighting flesh and blood, but that while his enemies were out to kill him, this was spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12). The devil was attacking his destiny, and he could not afford to spend his time and energy fighting enemies when he fully understood that the Lord fights our battles, we need only to be still (Exodus 14:14). David knew what it meant to fight battles that mattered. He didn’t fight to defend himself. He fought to defend God’s glory.