The Season of Danger
Our enemy never ceases to be evil. God never ceases to be good.
In the season of difficulty, we become aware of evil. In the season of danger, we encounter enemies.
But it is in season, that we also experience the Lord.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 24:5
The Psalm began with green grass and plentiful pools. Now the sheep are in a place with predators. But no matter, the Lord has what we need even here.
And in the most unexpected place, the Lord does an unusual thing. It was easy to eat when there was green grass (Psalm 23:2), but still, he feeds us when there is none.
He prepares a table in the presence of our enemies. He has brought something with him. A table. Not a physical piece of furniture, but what we need for feed.
Despite the presence of those who wish to feast on you, He prepares a feast for you.
The Lord does not remove the enemy. He nurtures you despite them. When others wish to weaken you, He strengthens.
Too often, we think the only viable solution in the face of an enemy is for God to remove the danger. We ask Him, "Either remove them or remove me." He removes neither. Instead, we are to partake on what He provides. He has prepared His Word, His Spirit, and His people to nurture us in the presence of our enemies. Feast on them.
The Psalm says that because the Lord is my shepherd, "I shall not want." It does not say I shall not be attacked.
"The Lord is my shepherd" does not mean that we are immune to wounds.
The Lord is our protector, but He is also our healer.
The shepherd anoints the head of the sheep with oil. For an animal, the oil was an antiseptic.
For a King, the oil was an anointing. It was a sign of God's approval and God's favor. David had experienced the oil as an antiseptic and as an anointing.
When enemies attack, our instinct is either fight or flight. But the Lord's response is to give us favor. The Bible says that our weapons are not of this world (2 Cor. 10:4).
Sheep are defenseless animals. They are completely reliant on the weapons of the shepherd.
Notice in the Psalm, what we need is always His.
Your rod . . .
Your staff . . .
You prepare . . .
You anoint . . .
The only things that are considered ours in the dangerous season are "my enemies" and "my cup."
We are not fighters. We can only feast in His favor.
I cannot control my enemies, but when the Lord is my shepherd, I am nurtured despite them. He prepares a table in the most unexpected places. Our enemy never ceases to be evil, but God never ceases to be good.
Read Psalm 109 and Luke 6:27-36.
- How does the way David prays for his enemies compare to how Jesus instructs us to respond to our enemies in Luke 6:27-36?
- How do you explain the different approaches? (remember, there are some things the Bible records -emotions, conversations, stories- that it does not tell you to do)
- How do these passages teach us to pray?
Write out your emotional response to an enemy. Use it as a guide to share with God how their treatment of you made you feel. Notice how in Psalm 109 David shared his frustrations and feelings with God (and it was not all good). Now use Luke 6:27-36 as a guide to help you pray through your response, despite your emotions. (You may want to get rid of your written response after you complete this challenge).