Psalm 27:4a, 5b, 6a - 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 ... for He ... will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me ....
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
I was talking with a friend. I'll call him "J." J comes from a different demographic than me. He grew up in a rough neighborhood. He knows what it's like to have enemies. He's been pushed around by thugs. He's been shot, and shot at. J and I have different life experiences, but we are brothers in Jesus Christ. And we had lunch recently. And we read the psalm we just heard, Psalm 27. And I was intrigued by how the poem spoke to him.
J noticed how David, the author, when he was being pushed around by his enemies, he asked God for one thing. He didn't ask God for just "one more thing." He didn't say, "God, just give me this and that and that other thing, and then I'll be happy." No, he doesn't ask for one more thing, but for one thing—for fellowship and friendship with God. God is his high ground. "I can relate," J told me; "When I've been at my lowest, that's when God was closest."
These days, J's life is more middle-class. Opportunities have come to him. He moved his family to a better neighborhood, bought a house, got a good job, worked his way up. Now he's in management.
But there's this guy who works below him, in the dregs of the corporation. And this guy's got an "in" with one of the vice presidents. And this guy's been delaying his reports—reports that he knows J needs to do his job. And because of this guy's connections, he knows he's untouchable. And whether it's sabotage, or just laziness, it's making J look bad to his boss.
See, J has climbed to higher social-economic ground, but it's not high enough. And that ground will never be high enough, for him, or for anyone. Because if you don't have street thugs, then you've got corporate thugs. And if everything's cool at work, then you have to contend with family rivalries. And if all's well on the home front, you'll find adversaries on the school board or the church board, the sports league or the homeowner's association. And even if you've got all that covered, you'll find an enemy inside you: a quick temper, a resentful mindset, warring desires—a saboteur in the dregs of your soul.
Because we're all being pushed into a spiritual evil that's got us surrounded.
You need David's high ground—the place where you hear your Creator speak in the voice of Jesus, through the Bible, in fellowship with His people. God is your high ground. And God took the high ground for us, when His Son Jesus was lifted up and fastened to a cross, bleeding, dying, praying for us, for His enemies. Christ defeated His foes by dying for them, by becoming a Brother for them.
So, enemies look different from the cross with Jesus. My friend J tells me that he's been praying for his enemies, for the guy who shot him, for the one who shot at him and, maybe most difficult of all, he's praying for the corporate crony who's gunning for him. He can pray for them. And you can pray. But only from the high ground, only in Jesus.
WE PRAY: Dear Father, lift me up above my enemies all around me, through Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. Is there another human being who has been or is still your enemy? If so, if you care to share, what's the backstory?
2. Read Psalm 27 aloud. What experiences expressed in the poem are more, or less relatable?
3. Read Psalm 27 aloud with another person. How does his or her reaction differ from yours? How does this psalm point you both to Jesus?
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