As pastoral leaders, student workers, worship leaders, musicians and volunteer leaders, we readily understand the battles with evil, working his hardest to thwart our efforts in preparation just before and during Holy Week. “The devil is in the details” is not just a saying. It’s true. Know God. Know His Message. Know Yourself. Know the Enemy.
Why? Satan, fallen angel and enemy of Jesus, hates new believers falling before the Lord of lords and King of kings giving their complete allegiance to Jesus. He thinks he has unbelievers and the undecided so he will do everything in his limited power to keep them. He hates mature believers on their knees, crying out in the Name of Jesus for lost souls to be saved by God’s grace and mercy. The Enemy hates our tenacity of faith and determination to hear God’s voice above his loud voice of lies and confusion. Understand that Evil has one purpose—our destruction and death forever. Yes, our death is the goal. But Jesus came and defeated death forever. Jesus is Life who gives Life eternal. The evil one hates that.
I think these thoughts as we meditate on this Holy Week and remember all that Jesus did for us. Our Psalmist today is singing a lament about how evil is getting the best of him. He sings knowing God will indeed redeem and restore him from evil. He outlines what evil does to God (as if God didn’t know) just to realize himself how evil can get to us if we let him.
“God, get me out of here, away from evil!” is a prayer I have often prayed during Holy Week as a pastoral leader. I’m pretty sure Jesus prayed that same prayer the days before He took all our sin on his shoulders to save the world who would believe in Him so they would not perish in death but have eternal life with Him. Wow.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Jesus is the Victor over the Enemy called Death! “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV
Believers, we are dead to sin and now alive in Christ! Forever! Can I get an amen?!
The end of the Psalmist’s lament praises God because of the power of His Presence with us, protecting and delivering us from Evil. This is our blessed assurance. THIS is the reason we celebrate Resurrection Sunday—Jesus is alive and coming back for His own. Jesus is the victor over the enemy! The enemy is called death. Our war with the “devil in the details” is only momentary. God steps in and delivers us from the battle. Every. Time. His will. His way. His Time. Pray in Jesus Name and His will be done.
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 140, The Message
1-5 God, get me out of here, away from this evil;
protect me from these vicious people.
All they do is think up new ways to be bad;
they spend their days plotting war games.
They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt,
speak venomous words that maim and kill.
God, keep me out of the clutch of these wicked ones,
protect me from these vicious people;
All boast and swagger, they plot ways to trip me up,
determined to bring me down.
These crooks invent traps to catch me
and do their best to incriminate me.
6-8 I prayed, “God, you’re my God!
Listen, God! Mercy!
God, my Lord, Strong Savior,
protect me when the fighting breaks out!
Don’t let the wicked have their way, God,
don’t give them an inch!”
9-11 These troublemakers all around me—
let them drown in their own verbal poison.
Let God pile hellfire on them,
let him bury them alive in crevasses!
don’t let them be taken seriously;
let the Devil hunt them down!
12-13 I know that you, God, are on the side of victims,
that you care for the rights of the poor.
And I know that the righteous personally thank you,
that good people are secure in your presence.
TRUTH: I know that you, God, are on our side against the enemy. We are secure in Your Holy Presence.
Proverb 27:19-20, The Message
Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.
20 Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.
WISDOM: Keep your heart pure. Avoid the Enemy at all cost.
Abba, Father in Heaven,
You are the Victor over our Enemy every time. You will deliver us from evil so we pray as you taught us. Hallowed is Your Name. May Your Kingdom come. May Your Will be done on earth, in all the details of our lives, as it is done in heave. Give us this day victory over evil’s schemes. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptations but DELIVER us from all evil. For YOU have ALL power. To YOU be all glory, honor and praise!
In Jesus Name, Amen