Today, take courage to battle. As a Christian you have, in the Triune God, the inner support, spiritual resources, personal help, and actual presence necessary to engage your enemies. You do not need to fear defeat.
Let the truth of these Psalms give you boldness and courage to struggle with whatever comes your way.
Three Realities to Help Us Understand These Psalms
- My greatest enemies are within me not outside me; my own passions seek to destroy me. My enemies/adversaries/foes/armies are primarily the wicked impulses and evil thoughts I must battle within myself. The world and Satan himself try to defeat me as well. However, it’s enlightening to read these Psalms with the understanding that all outer conflict is a reflection of inner struggle.
- I am always delivered, sometimes physically. To deliver/rescue/save may be spiritual as well as physical. Martyrs are not physically delivered yet they are certainly rescued from their enemies in other ways; in a spiritual manner.
- God and I work together to defeat the enemy. The Lord is my refuge/defender/strength/helper/ shield/salvation/mercy/light/protector/power AND I, confident in the Lord, pursue/wait/hope/rejoice/ prepare/train.
Psalms That Teach Us How to Battle
I love You, O Lord, my God. The Lord is my refuge, my strength, and my deliverer. My God is my helper; in Him will I hope: my shield and the horn of my salvation, my defender. I call upon the Lord with songs of praise, and I shall be saved from my enemies…He reached from on high and took me; He drew me out of the deep waters. He delivered me from my strong enemies and from those who hated me, for they were mightier than I…He brought me forth into a spacious place; He will deliver me, because He delights in me…I will pursue my enemies and catch them, and I will not turn back till they are destroyed. I will crush them, and they will not be able to stand; they will fall under my feet. For You girded me with strength for war; You bound the feet of all my adversaries beneath me. You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me You have utterly destroyed…You who deliver me from my angry enemies will exalt me above those who rise against me; You will deliver me from the unrighteous man.
Notice the “synergy” happening in the battle. The Lord gives strength, help, protection and deliverance while I pursue and catch my enemies without turning back. We win together.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident of this. One thing have I asked of the Lord — that will I seek after — that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to look upon His temple. For He hid me in His shelter in the day of my afflictions; He concealed me in the cover of His tabernacle; He set me high upon a rock. And now, behold, my head has been lifted up above my enemies…Instruct me in Your way, O Lord, and lead me on a right path because of my enemies…I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strengthened; yes, wait on the Lord.
There are many surprising components to engaging the enemy. First, the primary focus is not on the enemy but on the Lord, His presence and beauty. There is confidence, not in my abilities, experience, or skills but in God – the Lord is my light, salvation (the one who saves me), defender, shelter, leader, instructor, foundation, refuge, guide. There is also a vision of the end – the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Finally, there is a commitment to preparations/training – wait on the Lord.
Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up O everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall enter. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up O everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall enter. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!
Understand the “gates and doors” as hearts open for the King of glory to enter. When you open up the gates and doors of your life, the strong and mighty Lord enters. There is victory only through union with the King of glory. The Lord of hosts who is “mighty in battle” fights through us bringing glorious results.
Blessed be the Lord my God, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle; my mercy and refuge, me helper and my deliverer, my protector in whom I have trusted, who subdues the peoples under me.
There is necessary physical training for battle within the real sphere of the Lord God’s mercy, protection, help, deliverance and power. It is hard to train fingers and hands without training the whole body and mind. They do not act on their own but in coordination with my heart, soul, mind, and other parts of the body. All need to be trained.
A king is not saved by his great army; a giant is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory; despite its great might, it cannot save. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, that He may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our helper and defender. Our hearts shall rejoice in Him, and we have hoped in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on You.
The Lord is my only hope for victory. Human and animal strength, whether in numbers or size, cannot be fully trusted. My role is to fear Him, hope in His mercy, wait for Him, rejoice in Him; fix my whole being on Him.
Judge, O Lord, those who wrong me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help. Draw the sword and stop the way against those who persecute me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Let those be put to shame and confounded who seek after my soul. Let those who desire evil for me be turned back and brought to dishonor. Let them be as dust before the wind, with the angel of the Lord afflicting them. Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
Prayer is key to success in the battle. I need to continually cry out for God to act. If we keep reading, we see that this Psalm is a poetic prophecy about Christ’s sufferings and death on the cross. From the opening verses, we get a glimpse of Jesus’ own faith in His Father and His ability to deliver Him from His enemies. Jesus is the primary example of how to deal with our adversaries. In union with Him, we have what is needed to fend off their attacks.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, what wonders He has wrought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He will break the bow and shatter the spear and burn the shield with fire! Be still and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
With unreserved confidence in the Lord’s ability to win any war, I can be still (vs. anxious, fearful, angry, or revengeful) and experience (participate in) His might.
Will not You, O God, go forth with our armies? Oh, grant us help in times of tribulation, for vain is the help of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is He who will bring our foes down to nothing.
This Psalm reminds us that we do not battle alone. God is with us. We can fight valiantly knowing that God the Almighty fights along side us and through us.
On the day I call upon You, hear me; in Your strength, You will multiply Your care for my soul…For the the Lord is high, He regards the lowly; but the haughty He knows from afar. If I walk in the midst of trouble, You will give me life; You have stretched out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivered me. O Lord, you will fulfill your purpose for me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever. Do not despise the works of Your hands.
Before going into battle, most ancient traditions engage in ceremonies calling out for the help of their god. Warriors clearly know their own limitations. Warriors who follow the Triune God can humbly submit to His care as they aggressively combat all enemies. For example, they need not fear death since God gives them life nor do they need to fear the outcome since God fulfills His purposes. We need to ceremonially or otherwise, call out to God who provides what we need to battle well.
Here’s the basic marching order taken from these Psalms –
Know God with your whole heart and body for only in Him can you battle well.
Pursue God not victory.
Experience who God is and in Him find what is needed to engage the enemy effectively.
Ultimately, all battles are about your relationship with God not about winning your battles.
Take courage, my friend, in God.