Summary: Ever faced opposition - or had someone who wanted to bring you down? Ps. 27 was written for you.
“Soul Talk: When They Want to Bring Me Down”
It was a tough period in ministry. A discovery was made that demanded we release a staff person for moral, spiritual, biblical, and safety reasons. Because of the sensitive and potential legal ramifications of the situation, it took us a few days to get our ducks in a row and announce the dismissal to the congregation. In the meantime the staff person, knowing it was coming, made a pre-emptive strike. He put a resignation letter in the church mailboxes of some, but not all, church members; he put it in the boxes of those closest to him who were as yet unaware of what was happening. In the letter of resignation he said he was resigning because of my lack of support for him and he could no longer carry on ministry because of it. Suddenly a clear cut case of staff dismissal became, on the part of some, a crusade against me. Suddenly I was under review for job performance, and attention was diverted from the crucial situation at hand. This staff person had, apparently, decided that if he was going down, so was I. He wanted to bring me down.
Perhaps that’s why I have a special love for Psalm 27. While it is often pointed to as a Psalm dealing with the subject of fear, I believe it was written for those facing opposition, those dealing with others who want to bring them down. That’s precisely what David was facing.
DAVID FACED OPPOSITION. (2-3, 12)) “When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident…false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.” The opposition was doing everything they could to discredit David – spreading rumors, telling lies, bringing false charges, speaking with malice. They were trying to bring him down.
OPPOSITION IS ALL AROUND US. A pastor sent some of his associate pastors into a village. They evangelized by knocking on doors and as God brought healing and deliverance into these families, they would come to Christ. They once knocked on the door of a policeman, a very active member of one of the political parties that is very much against Christianity. He arrested them on the spot. They were arrested for this horrible crime of praying for people, taken to the prison.
The pastor heard about this and he went to the jail to convince that they were not doing anything wrong. But before he got there, there were about 50 people waiting. They beat him up and knocked him unconscious. Some friends of his saw him there and took him to the hospital.
Opposition is all around us. In 2006 executives at NBC added Veggie Tales—a popular and thoroughly Christian cartoon—to its Saturday morning lineup. But Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber got nuked, as many of the pertinent references to God and Scripture were deleted from each episode. Initially, NBC stated that the cuts were simply a way to fit each episode into a tight, 23-minute slot. But as Christians began to investigate, it soon became clear that there was more to the story. After being pressured from several organizations to explain its leeching of biblical content, NBC released the following statement: "NBC is committed to the positive messages and universal values of VeggieTales. Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages, while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view." Phil Vischer, the co-creator of Veggie Tales, expressed deep disappointment in the edits. "It's a mistake to pitch VeggieTales as just values," he said, "because fundamentally it's about God." Bob Bozell, the president of Parents Television Council and the Media Research Center said, "Today, no one in network TV fears what the children are watching—unless it makes them think about God." (1)
Opposition is all around us. The Institute for Jewish and Community Research surveyed 1,200 professors from a cross-section of colleges, seeking "their attitudes toward various religions." The research was originally aimed at gauging anti-Semitism, but something else was discovered. The professors stated they had positive feelings toward Jews and Catholics, but 53 percent said they possessed unfavorable feelings toward students who were evangelical Christians. In his article "Why Christians Feel Unwelcome on Campus," David French offers his own conclusion on the matter: "For evangelicals, it came through loud and clear. The academic establishment has long dismissed stories about bias against Christians as mere anecdotes. But now we have concrete evidence of sheer bigotry. Our colleges clearly have a religion problem, and faithful students and professors are paying the price." (2)