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Sunday, September 11, 2016

PSALM 118
verses 5-9




"From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.
The Lord is for me;
I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in princes."


There will always be haters, haters of God's people, haters of righteousness.  This week a presidential candidate said that Americans who oppose her are in 'The basket of deplorables.'  She said that they are 'racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic."  She obviously was vilifying  conservative Christians because they are conservative and Christians.  Really?  We have real enemies but instead have turned to devouring each other in a dangerous world.  Just because we don't agree with a candidates policies doesn't mean we are in a basket of  hate.




My son missed the Civil War re-enactment Saturday because of his high school baseball double-header.  He's been looking forward to this since last winter.  But he lives to fight another day and will be able to participate Sunday as a Union soldier wearing his wool uniform in the 90+ heat.  There will be a church service for the soldiers as well before the battle.  I know some of the men play the banjo and fiddles, so it should be wonderful music.  Yet ,this is more than just a fun "hobby," but a means to help keep history alive so we hopefully won't have to repeat the mistakes of the past.



The Civil War was a horrendous time in our nation's history.  Abraham Lincoln is one of my heroes, making the hardest choices which ultimately led to a halt to slavery and saving our union.  Was it perfect?  No.  Was it tremendously sad?  Yes. Sending men into bloody battle was a heavy burden.  The cost  of the stain of the evil of slavery had to be purchased by the blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans.  It is unimaginable the suffering this nation went through fighting fellow Americans, family even.  As I've said before, most of my relatives were southern sympathizers and slave holders.  However, some of my relatives had to register as slaves or mulattoes for generations.  They preferred to register as Portuguese if they could get away with it which helped to deflect some of the prejudice they endured, but not much.  Hate.





I've just finished two historical novels this week about World War I set in Belgium and France and another  describing the terrible progrom against the Jews throughout Russia and the Ukraine prior to World War II.  Unspeakable acts of torture were committed against men, women and children.  Hate.



We face an enemy who hates us and wants to take over Christian and Jewish countries.  I remember waking up to my radio alarm which announced the shocking news of September 11 as it was happening.  Enough said as we look back at fifteen years ago when the Twin Towers fell.  Hate. 


This passage speaks of a large place.  A battlefield?  We wish we could exempt ourselves from battlefields, from war, from those who seek our destruction, from haters.  However, it is the perspective which we need to grip, to hold tightly to.  It speaks of God hearing his call of distress.  This large place allowed the Psalmist to achieve a grander view of God's deliverance. 

"The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear:
What can man do to me?"

"And I shall look upon them that hate me.
As God is on my side, I fear not to look the whole of them in the face.
I shall see them defeated.
Better to trust in the Lord.
Man is feeble, ignorant, fickle, and capricious;
it is better to trust in Jehovah than in such.
Men of high estate are generally proud, vainglorious, self-confident and rash;
it is better to trust in God than in them. 
Often they cannot deliver,
and often they will not, when they can."
Adam Clarke



The Psalmist's enemies thrust at him with malice.
"God heard his prayer 'He answered me with enlargements;
He did more for me than I was able to ask; 
He enlarged my heart in prayer."



Well, man can do a lot to one another and have ever since Cain killed Able. 
Indeed, man can inflict pain and torture.
Yet, we are never alone with God on our side.
Jesus even sweat great drops of blood
and asked that God remove the cup of suffering from Him,
but said, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done."



It is as if the Psalmist is saying here,
"Bring it on!"




God is on our side.
Wow, what a concept to face any fight for faith with.
Trust man?
Ehh, not so much.







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