Summary: Exposition of Psalm 35 regarding how we can genuinely fast, mourn, and pray for our enemies.
Text: Psalm 35:13-14, Title: Kill ‘Em and Bless ‘Em, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/20/11, AM
1. Opening illustration: the police officer that wrote me a ticket for turning left into a parking space: rain on his head, and bless him, Lord.
2. Background to passage: David is again under intense pressure and pursuit from His enemies. They were seeking his position, his power, his prosperity, and his life with an unjust, malicious, destructive cause. Look at the language that is used to describe what his enemies are trying to do to him. Also note the requests that he makes to God for their destruction and downfall. But in the midst of it all, David notes that he was praying, fasting, and mourning for them. When things weren’t going well for them, David was genuinely interceding for them. These are the people that want him dead!
3. Selected scriptures in support. Luke 6:27-38, Jesus gives the command to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. In Matthew we are told to rejoice when these things happen. Jesus says that if we only love those who love us, give to those that we may be repaid from, and do good to those who do good to us, we have no particular merit, because even sinners, untransformed men/women do that. Our righteousness must exceed the Pharisees and the unbelievers. In Rom 12:17-21, we are commanded not to return evil for evil, but good in order to triumph over evil. We are told not to avenge ourselves, but to feed those who are our enemies when they are hungry, and in doing so, we will heap coals of fire upon them. It is a normal expectation in life to have enemies, the bible assumes this. We could talk about the reason why you have them (some may be good, and some not), but that is another lesson. We want to be obedient, but it is so unnatural, so we must arm our minds with truth.
4. Main thought: How can we genuinely fast, mourn, and pray for our enemies? What knowledge do we renew our minds to in order to do this most difficult command of Jesus? Preach to yourselves these truths
1. Know we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12)
1. Part of our natural reaction to hate/dislike our enemies or defend ourselves is because we see them as the enemy, which according to Paul, they are not. Our enemies are spiritual rulers of darkness. And they are simply deceiving and using the individual who you consider your enemy to cause you to fall, sin, and hurt others. They are not your enemy, they are your ministry!
2. Illustration: “A man who does not understand the nature of the problem he is confronting is a man who is already doomed to failure. Christian people are like first-year college students—they think at first that every subject is quite simple, there is no difficulty. Well, we know what is likely to happen to such when they face an examination! The first thing you have to do is to understand the nature and character of your problem. So we have to realize that we are called, in the Christian life, to a battle, not to a life of ease; to a battle, to a warfare, to a wrestle, to a struggle,” but that struggle is not against people–Martin Lloyd-Jones and me,
3. It is easier when you are not thinking of the person as the enemy to pray, fast, and truly desire their good, if you feel some compassion on them that they are being used. They are a tool of Satan in your life. So that boss or coworker is NOT the enemy. That teenager, parent, or spouse is NOT the enemy. And sometimes in the heat of the situation, we must remind ourselves that Satan is just using that person to get us worked up, angry, frustrated, depressed; and if you give in, he has accomplished his plan. Pray that they would be freed from Satan’s bondage, and God would open their eyes to the deception they are caught in. Have compassion for their lostness or backslidden state.
Know we don’t deserve better than them, but we’ve received it in Christ (Luke 13:2, Phil 2:3)
1. Jesus asked the Jews in Jerusalem if they thought they were so much better than the Galileans that were slain and squished, because they did. But His point was that they weren’t. They deserved judgment too. And Paul tells us to esteem others more than yourself. Sometimes we get a little self-righteous when we think about how badly our enemies are acting. We think that they are getting what they deserve, when we didn’t get what we deserved. Christ showed us mercy, therefore…
2. Illustration: Nicolas Copernicus was a famed astronomer born in Poland on February 19, 1473. He was a mathematician whose accomplishments changed men’s ideas of the universe. Also he was a well-known writer. Although highly educated in astronomical science, he was much more-he was a child of God who had learned to know and trust his Savior, Jesus Christ. When he was critically ill with his final illness, his book, On Resolutions of the Celestial Bodies, just off the press, was laid in his arms. At the close of his life, he did not think of himself as an astronomer or scientist, but as a sinner who needed the forgiveness of his Savior. He asked that the following epitaph be written on his gravestone: