Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 10 – Living In A Dangerous World

“O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set You before them.  But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”  Psalm 86:14,15

 Devotional Thought For The Day

When we are facing confrontation, persecution, and perhaps even such wretched wickedness that others may be seeking to kill us, our general reaction is to build the case for our complete innocence as strongly as we can, so that everyone can see the grotesque injustice that we are facing.  We seldom have to face the kind of violent hatred that the psalmist faced – although we should remember that there are plenty of people out there in the world who would like to see “death to America.”  There are other sinful dynamics out there in the world as well – like envy, jealousy, greed, selfishness, laziness, anger, and malice toward others, and “class warfare” is apparently now an acceptable fact of our politics.  As a citizen of America, you are the target of our enemies – regardless of how we might like to spin and dance some politically correct “two-step” about “multiculturalism” and “acceptance” of diversity.  There are many who simply hate us, regardless of cause.  And hopefully, our society will not careen into the insanity of destroying the rich [as others have], or justify people simply taking from anyone who happens to have more than them.  Still, it is an interesting and depressing fact of everyday life that people seem incorrigibly tempted to target other people, and there are times when we are the target – and our first reaction is to claim total innocence.

The psalmist was more realistic – and instead of building a personal “innocence project,” he turned to God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, steadfast love and faithfulness.  You see, we are sinful human beings, and we all have things that rightly create anger and animosity in others. It is true that there are many times that others “wrongly” accuse and target us, but this does not negate the reality that we have faults and foibles and weaknesses that anger and irritate others, and subject us to proper criticism and correction.  Now, their attacks, and what they believe we deserve may be quite overblown and exaggerated – and we may have to defend ourselves against these extremes.  However, all of this is unnecessary with God.  He sees and knows all things, and has a better grasp of reality in all of these matters then we do.  So we turn first to Him in humility and repentance, and cling to His gracious mercy and forgiveness, knowing and affirming that God is love – and we set our “case” before Him, asking Him to step in and intervene when others are targeting us in their wickedness, animosity, and malice.  But we do so humbly, and in a way that does not make us impervious to correction, or unrepentant and incorrigible.

The world we live in is a rather interesting place. Although there are ample resources for everyone to have plenty and to live happy and fulfilled lives, sin is everywhere, and is constantly creating, fomenting, and intensifying wickedness and conflict.  What a waste of time and energy!  Regardless of how content and “peaceful” we may have become, there is still great likelihood that we will be targeted and drawn into some conflict – so we must be prepared.  First on the preparedness “list” would be to have the same spirit and demeanor as the psalmist – to have genuine humility, repentance toward God, and faith and confidence in His forgiveness and love.  Second, rather than respond to aggression against us with the anger and violence that so naturally arises within us when attacked, to place the matter into God’s hands, and to defend ourselves only to the degree necessary to neutralize the attack.  But third, be as prepared as is practicable to defend yourself – regardless of the nature or the level of the attack.  We do so not only out of some sense of “self-preservation,” but also for the good of others – those unable to defend themselves, and to deter those whose wickedness can only be controlled and defused by such strength and force.

I’m sorry for the anger, irritation, and anguish that I’ve caused others during my time in this world. I’m thankful that the Lord in His mercy has protected me so that I have received less negative consequence than I’ve deserved.  I’m thankful that He also protects me from the undeserved and unjust attacks that occasionally come my way.  Especially, I am thankful to be blessed to live under His constant forgiveness and mercy, and in hope of a blessed end and eternal life in His heavenly kingdom.  All of the sinful conflict serves one blessed purpose – it makes us yearn for the promised coming of Christ and the new aeon, the home of righteousness, where all our sin and the sin we must endure in others, will all be gone.  What a blessed day that will be – “even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You have experienced the conflict, aggression, and attacks of evil since the fall of Adam and Eve into sin.  All evil is ultimately directed against You, in opposition to Your good and gracious will for mankind.  Forgive me for all my sin and evil.  Help me to bear with the evil directed against me in a way that reflects Your love, patience, goodness, and mercy. Protect me as You always have, and grant me Your peace and joy until You deliver me from this evil age. Amen.