Daily Devotional: Psalms 18:37:42
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them--to the LORD, but he did not answer. 42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The apostle Paul was raised in a time when terrorism among the Jews toward the Roman government was supported by many of the Jewish population and even among many of their leaders. To them it was a religious war that defended the honor of their great nation as the people of God. So, while many did not openly support the cause, they did so behind the scenes. It was these feelings that fueled the great anticipation of the coming Messiah. However, in this misguided zeal, the leaders of the day missed the plan of God embodied in Jesus.
Jesus was not what they expected. He taught they were to love their enemies and pray for them. He said they were to give their shirt to those who took their coat and go a second mile if demanded to go just one. If they were slapped in the face in derision, they were to turn the other cheek instead of getting even. And now Paul as an apostle of Jesus says they were to go to battle with the gospel of peace using a sword that was the word of God!
O God, help me remember that you are the reason for my life and you empower me to be what you want me to be. Keep me from taking my own revenge in anything but always leave room for your vengeance. Help me love those who hate me and pray for those who would mistreat me. Give me wisdom to wield your sword, your word, to do battle against sin and evil around me. Lord, increase my self-control so I can be all you want me to be as your child. Be with those who are teaching your gospel in hostile environments. I pray in the name of Jesus.