Monday, May 2, 2016

Thoughts on Psalm 119:42


42 ​​So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
​​For I trust in Your word.


There’s a subtle but powerful message in the second Hunger Games movie. As Katniss was about to step into the arena to fight her peers, her mentor gives her this invaluable advice:


“Remember who the real enemy is.”


There may be people that reproach (shame, disgrace, scorn) you. You may have people attacking your character, questioning your motives, lying about you, and otherwise fulfilling the role of “enemy” in your life. But you will do well to remember who the real enemy is.


My wife and I have recently gone through this.


At the beginning of February, we left the delightful spiritual bubble of Bible College to dive head-first into ministry. We moved to El Paso to help my elderly parents.


And in that process, we have been attacked. We’ve been lied about, lied to, our motives have been questioned, and the good we have attempted to do has been called evil. We have been reproached.


It came full force at us this last week, to the point that we began to turn on each other.


As I laid in bed, tossing and turning, unable to sleep because of the anger that filled my mind, a clear and rational thought pierced through like a ray of sunshine through a rain cloud:
“There must be a breakthrough coming. That explains this overwhelming attack.”


Suddenly, I remembered who the real enemy is. And as I did, I had an answer for him.


Now let’s tie this back into Psalm 119:


Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord —
​​Your salvation according to Your word.
​​So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
​​For I trust in Your word. Psalm 119:41-42


If you keep thinking that your spouse, your coworker, your boss, your neighbor, or this or that person is your enemy, you will never have an answer to the reproach that faces you. You may cut off a limb, but the root of the problem is still thriving.


The real enemy is called “the accuser of the brethren.” He is the devil. And the answer to his reproach is “Your salvation, according to Your word.” So let’s go to His word and find this salvation.


The New Testament has a breathtaking passage that unveils this truth. (As an aside, the literal meaning of the word “Apocalypse” which we translate as the name of the Book of “Revelation” is “unveiling”):


Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:10-11


This is so powerful. It’s worth reading a few times. This can change your life.


Try to make the connection to Psalm 119: when salvation comes, you have answer for him who reproaches you. When salvation comes, you have answer for the devil.


Salvation has come! The accuser of the brethren has been cast down! This is past tense!


What remains is for you to answer him - to overcome him by 1) the blood of the Lamb and 2) the word of your testimony. What does this look like?


As I lay in bed, the clarity of the truth opening my eyes, I rolled over and began to answer:


“I declare that the devil is defeated! Jesus has disarmed him and made a public spectacle of him! All of my sins have been paid for at the Cross, and Jesus’ blood has made me a brand new creation. I reject this attack against my family - the devil has no place in me, no power over me, and no unsettled claims against me. Everything has been settled by the Blood of Jesus!”


And so on. I answered for a few minutes, rolled back over, and promptly fell to sleep. In the morning, and over the next couple of days, things began to resolve and even out. It was as if that thick fog that had settled over us was simply blown away by a gentle breeze.


Child of God, you have an answer to him who reproaches you. Put trust in His word, and see His salvation.


Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord —
​​Your salvation according to Your word.
​​So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
​​For I trust in Your word. Psalm 119:41-42

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.