Psalm 68:1-3 - God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate Him shall flee before Him! As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
Organizations that monitor the worldwide persecution of Jesus' followers have noted that currently more than 260 million Christians in 50 countries are suffering under high-to-severe levels of persecution. Every year, thousands of believers die at the hands of their persecutors, while many more suffer imprisonment or the loss of churches, homes, and employment. These terrifying numbers are not unexpected. Jesus said His followers would be hated as He was hated (see John 15:18). And even though Jesus said we are blessed when we suffer on account of His Name, for centuries saints throughout the world have cried out with the psalmist, "How long, O LORD?" (Psalm 13:1a). Yet such circumstances will not continue forever. The day is coming when "God shall arise" and "His enemies shall be scattered."
We know that day will certainly come because already there was a time when God arose in power and majesty, scattering His enemies. In those days, His mighty power was veiled in human flesh and hidden in weakness and suffering. Jesus our Savior, true God and true Man, was rejected and betrayed by those He came to save. He was unjustly condemned to death. But in the weakness and suffering of His death on the cross, Jesus destroyed the devil's power and delivered us from the fear of death (see Hebrews 2:14-15). On the third day after His death, the Son of God arose bodily from the grave, triumphing over death, scattering His enemies—our enemies—sin, death, and Satan.
Soon after Jesus ascended, the persecution against His followers began. The world, with hatred that Jesus had foretold, began its assault on His body, the church, an assault that continues to this day. Yet even through suffering and death, the Lord of the church holds His people securely in His hand. The church continues to grow as Christians everywhere continue their witness to Jesus, praying that the Spirit would call even their persecutors to faith in the Savior. As Jesus said of His church, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18b). But then finally, one day, all persecution will cease.
On the Last Day, when Jesus returns in glory as Judge and King, this psalm will be fully and finally fulfilled. God will arise and His enemies will scatter—with nowhere to run. Those who hated the Savior and rejected Him as Lord will flee before Him. Death, the last enemy, will be destroyed as all the saints, once so hated by the world, will rise bodily from their graves, dressed in immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:26, 53). According to God's righteous judgment, the wicked will perish. On that day, as the psalmist says, we will be glad and exult before God. We will be jubilant with joy! Come, Lord Jesus!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, You have promised that no one will snatch Your sheep from Your hand. With Your Word and with Your body and blood, nourish and sustain Your suffering church until You return. Amen. Come quickly, Lord! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Are there types of persecution people experience that are subtle and unseen by others?
2. How does God scatter His enemies? Can you give an example?
3. Have you encountered persecution in your life? How did you handle it?
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