Let’s take a few moments today to figure out who an enemy is. For me, an enemy can be someone who cuts in line at the store when I’m already on a tight timeline or a gal who is talking on her cellphone next to me while I’m trying to be both zen and aerobically challenged on an elliptical machine at the gym. (Please note the irony of that statement or else you will miss the joke.) In truth, these aren’t enemies. I’m sure I’ve butted in line and talked on my own phone in the gym. This is at worst mildly annoying.
If only, God, you would kill the wicked!
If only murderers would get away from me—
the people who talk about you, but only for wicked schemes;
the people who are your enemies,
who use your name as if it were of no significance.
Don’t I hate everyone who hates you?
Don’t I despise those who attack you?
Yes, I hate them—through and through!
They’ve become my enemies too.
Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,
then lead me on the eternal path! Psalm 139:18-24 CEB
The psalmist is not writing about people who annoy us. Notice the use of pronouns. What the psalmist is really saying is that God’s enemies are his enemies. I guess, conversely, it implies that a friend of God’s is a friend of his. I admit that I often find myself waking up to the reality that I spend a lot of time asking God to endorse my plans and thwart the attempts of others to interrupt them. This is NOT in keeping with how the psalmist is suggesting we position ourselves in life and in relationship to God.
So for today, let’s take a breath and realize that maybe we better slow down our judgments and name callings, and instead, focus on the fact that God’s plans are incomprehensible (so no need for us to be so sure we know them). And…our motivations are often incomprehensible to us as well (hence the concluding cry of surrender to God’s examination).
Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about real enemies.