Summary: Praying for those who persecute you.
PRAYING AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES
I have never preached a sermon on praying against your enemies or praying about your enemies. As a matter of fact, I have never heard anyone preach this kind of sermon about enemies. Last Sunday I said in jest, “I pray that they (the terrorists) may get hit with a bomb.” A couple of people were not sure I should have said that. One side of me says, “Forgive them”; the other side of me says, “Kill them.” But it’s not what I think or feel, it’s what God thinks, and what He says in His Word.
This sermon has three parts. First, I want to look at how David prayed for his enemies in the Psalms. Second, I want to look at what Jesus said about “Turning the other cheek,” and praying for those who persecute you. Third, I want to look at what the Bible says about how we should pray for our nation in war.
I. DAVID PRAYED AGAINST HIS ADVERSARIES.
David’s battle against his enemies began with Goliath, the Philistine. After that battle, David fought many other adversaries. Remember, Goliath did not just hate David as a sixteen-year-old opponent, Goliath hated the people of God and cursed God, Himself. David was shocked “that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (I Samuel 17:26). This was more than a battle between David and Goliath, it was a battle between the Living God of Israel and the demon-inspired idols of the Philistines. He launched his attack on Goliath saying, “I come unto thee in the name of the Lord of host, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Heaven” (I Samuel 17:45-46).
There is a similarity in our battle with the terrorists. They have made it a battle between our God and their god, i.e., between light and darkness. Quickly I add, it is not a battle with Islam; but with the terrorists whose twisted view of Allah has driven them to attack us.
David was not a mild man who turned the other cheek. Listen to his prayer against his enemies. I’m reading parts of Psalm 109:8-15 in the Living Bible, “Let my enemy’s years be few . . . may his children become fatherless, and may his wife become a widow. May his children wander as beggars, and may they be evicted from their ruined homes . . . may all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in a single generation. May the LORD never forget the sins of his ancestors. May these sins always remain before the Lord, but may his name be cut off from human memory.”
David constantly prays that his oppressors may suffer the evil they plan for him. David prays that his enemies would be cursed with the curses they hurl at him.
So if we lived in Old Testament times, and we were to pray like David; we would pray:
1) Lord, kill the terrorists.
2) Lord, destroy their families.
3) May everyone forget the terrorists ever lived.
4) May the evil they plan for America destroy them, their families and friends.
5) Curse them, Lord, with the curses they hurl at us.
But we don’t pray like that. We live under grace, David lived under the Law. We do not live under the Law today. The Law demanded, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24).
II. TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.
There are some who want us as Americans and as Christians to forgive the terrorists. They want us to turn the other cheek, and to love them unconditionally. Why do they say this:
1. They say we Christians should respond as Jesus responded to those who nailed Him to the cross, “Father forgive them: for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
2. They say we should do as Jesus commanded, “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other” (Luke 6:27-29).
There are two things wrong with “turning the other cheek” to the terrorists. First, these commands I just read are for individual Christians. These are not commands for a nation. What I do as an individual is different from what we do as a nation.
There is a second reason why we should not “turn the other cheek” to the terrorists. These commands involve our Christian testimony and our personal faith. We are not to retaliate as a Christian when they attack us for being a Christian, or when they attack our message.