Friday, May 16, 2014

Overcoming the Enemy with a Wildcard

"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Psalm 34:6-8

This passage has become one of my favorite over the years because it is a personal testimony of how God has given me increased victory in spiritual battles that I have faced. A few weeks ago I came upon it in my Bible reading plan, and I just felt the need to journal about how God has been encouraging my heart and teaching me victory over the enemy.
The heading of Psalm 34 tells us that David wrote this Psalm right after he escaped the clutches of Achish (also called Abimelech), the king of Gath (See 1 Samuel 21). David was so afraid of being destroyed by this king that he pretended to be insane, and he sat there spitting and slobbering into his beard. This is a worse case scenario, an act of desperation; a wild card so to speak. Perhaps David had rehearsed this in his mind, or maybe he was thinking on the fly. Either way, his plan worked, and King Achish wants nothing to do with him. David is free from his enemy, and so he pens the words of Psalm 34.
Given what David had just experienced, here are 3 quick thoughts about overcoming the enemy.

  1. It is our inadequacy that drives us to rely on the Lord.
    We will never "have what it takes" to conquer sin. It isn't until we come to the end of ourselves (and our tactics and methods) that we will be truly desperate for the Lord and the power of His gospel. Often we find ourselves like David - embarrassed, inadequate and in shame - with metaphorical saliva running down our beard. But it is in this place of humility that we find Jesus Christ is everything we cannot be.
  2. It is God's power alone that delivers us.
    We are sinners, unable to secure our righteousness. But Jesus was our substitute. He lived a perfect life, died a cruel death, and came to life again securing victory over sin! This gospel is a sweet sound (truly good news) to those beat up by the struggle against sin. Only when this marvelous gospel overtakes us and we stand in awe and fear of God can we begin to experience deliverance over sin. We must see God for who He really is - the God who created the universe with the breath of His mouth; the one who can take life just as easily; the one who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He is the only one who can destroy the powers of darkness. Our battle with sin is a cosmic struggle, and we need the angel of the Lord who encamps around those who fear God.
  3. God's victory is satisfying.
    This is the truth. No doubt about it. The only satisfaction we will find is in a pure relationship with our Maker. When we begin to experience increasing victory over a life-dominating sin, we find ourselves singing David's song of "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" However, too often believers settle for anemic portions of the Word of God and prayer, all the while filling themselves with the sinful fare of the world. This does not satisfy, and always leaves us empty. After the initial burst of sin's sweetness is gone, we are left with a rancid, rotting taste that brings shame, frustration and disillusion.  
There are times in life where we find ourselves like David did in 1 Samuel 21 - helpless and hopeless. But take heart! We have a wildcard that trumps Satan every time - the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Victory does not come through the numeric value of our "hand". We cannot play the "card" of our accomplishments.
Let's lay our hand down and play the wild card.