A Common Theme


Still in the Psalms with my Quiet Time.

The psalms have a lot of recurring themes and David (the one who wrote the most Psalms) seems to harp (no pun intended) on one particular theme over and over again.

Seriously, I wonder why God wanted this, or allowed this, certainly inspired this, to the extent that it is in there so many times.

Oh, I should probably tell you what it is.

I’m talking about how often David finds himself oppressed by a group simply referred to as, “my enemies.” I mean, we know much of the time through reading through 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel who these enemies are. They are often Philistines, but sometimes Amorites or Hitites or any number of other “ites” the Bible lists. Sometimes they are the people of entire cities like Tebah and Berothai and doesn’t everyone know that they are cities within the region controlled by Hadadezer? Of course they do. Occasionally they are traitors amongst his own people and on more than a few occasions–even members of his own family. Here’s some examples:

Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. Psalm 3:7

You do what is right, and I ask you to guide me. Make your teaching clear because of my enemies. Psalm 5:8

My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.Their deepest desire is to destroy others.Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.Their tongues are filled with flattery. Psalm 5:9

Sorrow has made my eyes dim, and my sight has failed because of my enemies. Psalm 6:7

My enemies will be ashamed and terrified, as they quickly run away in complete disgrace. Psalm 6:10

If I have done any of this, then let my enemies chase and capture me. Let them stomp me to death and leave me in the dirt. Psalm 7:5

Arise, O Lord, in anger!Stand up against the fury of my enemies!Wake up, my God, and bring justice! Psalm 7:6

My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. Psalm 9:3

O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, Psalm 9:13

How long must I be confused and miserable all day? How long will my enemies keep beating me down? Psalm 13:2

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. Psalm 13:4

They have caught up with me! My enemies are everywhere, eagerly hoping to smear me in the dirt. Psalm 17:11

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,and I am saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:3

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. Psalm 18:37

I stuck my sword through my enemies, and they were crushed under my feet. Psalm 18:38

You have armed me with strength for the battle;you have subdued my enemies under my feet. Psalm 18:39

You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. Psalm 18:40

There are 150 Psalms, gang. And this trend doesn’t let up. I mean, I could keep right on typing, but hopefully you get the point. Easily, dealing with enemies in life is one of the main themes of the book of Psalms and we can learn some things about our own lives through what David and other Psalmists write about the reality of facing enemies in life.

Top Ten Things I Learned About Enemies (from the Psalms)

  1. We will have enemies in this life (even the nicest of people).
  2. Jesus had more than most.
  3. Their number one reason for “hanging out” in one’s life seems to be jealousy.
  4. Their end is always the same. It may take a while, but payday is coming.
  5. Enemies seldom deal with you face to face.
  6. Gossip and slander are their weapons of choice.
  7. They often claim the ‘high moral ground.’
  8. God is not “on their side (He’s always for the righteous).”
  9. They can seem to prosper for a ‘season.’
  10. Their deeds will not go unpunished.

So, for whatever it’s worth–a few words about the whole ‘enemy motif.’ But don’t be so quick to blow it off. Any topic that occurs this much must be something the Lord wants us to learn to deal with. I mean, there’s just no getting around it. We will have enemies in this life—or, at least people who set themselves up as our enemies.

As a pastor, my very role seems to almost create them. The pastorate is like an enemy manufacturing plant. I tell you what I mean tomorrow…