“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” –Jesus Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
Be perfect in God’s love by loving others the way He loves us—Unconditionally.
The psalmist is crying out to God, praying for their enemy to be dealt with by God. The psalmist is specifically pointing out ways for God to provide justice where justice is needed! Smiling at these words because God doesn’t need our help. Granted, their enemy truly wants to wipe God’s people off the face of the earth and take everything they have all while mocking and persecuting them. Because God is God, it seems to be acceptable to be honest before God for God is the One and Only who can help! Our God is merciful and just. The world calls it “karma”. Believers call it justice in the midst of turmoil when the enemy seems at full strength, God is stronger still.
How many times have we seen God’s glorious justice prevail when the enemy thought he had won? Think about it. Write it down and praise God!
So, like Jesus taught, we pray for our enemies, believing God knows what is happening and is still in control of every circumstance. We know that God never fails and always prevails as the Victor at the end of a long day. Even in death, because of Jesus’ work on the cross to save us, God wins. Therefore, we win. We pray, lament, ask for help and wisdom and then wait, listen and obey what God says. This is not laying down, curling up in the fetal position, giving up or “taking it on the chin” defenselessly, it is calling on the One and Only, God of all who is in all, to fight our battles.
The ultimate prayer is that our enemies turn to God and believe. Asaph’s last words of his prayer are, “Bring them to the end of their rope, and leave them there dangling, helpless. Then they’ll learn your name: ‘God,’ the one and only High God on earth.”
Commenting on this psalm, Alexander Maclaren wrote, “The world is up in arms against God’s people, and what weapon has Israel? Nothing but prayer.” But is there any better weapon? As he saw the enemy armies surrounding Israel, Asaph lifted three heartfelt requests to the Lord;
- Lord, see what is happening!
- Lord, do what is necessary.
- Glorify Your Name!
Before asking for their destruction, Asaph prayed that the enemy would be “ashamed and dismayed” and would turn to the true and living God.
THIS should be our prayer as we pray for our enemies…In Jesus Name.
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 83, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
1-5 God, don’t shut me out;
don’t give me the silent treatment, O God.
Your enemies are out there whooping it up,
the God-haters are living it up;
They’re plotting to do your people in,
conspiring to rob you of your precious ones.
“Let’s wipe this nation from the face of the earth,”
they say; “scratch Israel’s name off the books.”
And now they’re putting their heads together,
making plans to get rid of you.
6-8 Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia and the Tyrians,
And now Assyria has joined up,
Giving muscle to the gang of Lot.
9-12 Do to them what you did to Midian,
to Sisera and Jabin at Kishon Brook;
They came to a bad end at Endor,
nothing but dung for the garden.
Cut down their leaders as you did Oreb and Zeeb,
their princes to nothings like Zebah and Zalmunna,
With their empty brags, “We’re grabbing it all,
grabbing God’s gardens for ourselves.”
13-18 My God! I’ve had it with them!
Blow them away!
Tumbleweeds in the desert waste,
charred sticks in the burned-over ground.
Knock the breath right out of them, so they’re gasping
for breath, gasping, “God.”
Bring them to the end of their rope,
and leave them there dangling, helpless.
Then they’ll learn your name: “God,”
the one and only High God on earth.
TRUTH: Pray for your enemies. Pray for God’s justice. Trust and obey God.
Proverb 25:21-22, The Message
If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch;
if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink.
Your generosity will surprise him with goodness,
and God will look after you.
WISDOM: Pray for your enemies. Do good to your enemies. God will look after you.
Wow, what a lesson today about how to pray for our enemies! We also remember that ultimately our enemy is not of flesh and blood, but is the prince of darkness whose goal is death and destruction. I pray for those who allow this prince to use them like puppets, creating chaos in our lives. I pray that come to you and call you, Lord. I pray for myself to have your help in not falling for evil’s schemes. May Your Kingdom come, may Your Will be done. Give us this day all we need to win over the enemy. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who hurt, mock, belittle as sin against us. DELIVER us from all evil. For you have all power. To you be all glory for the victory!
In Jesus Name, Amen