The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
My favourite film? The Incredibles. If I was stuck in prison with only one film to watch – I’d choose this one. But there’s a problem – the film contains an idea that I think is a big mistake. What’s the mistake? It’s the Myth of Redemptive Violence [Walter Wink coined this one]. The idea that if the good guys can only whack the bad guys harder than the bad guys whack the good guys then a better world will be produced. This is a common idea in so many of our most popular stories. Think Star Wars (which I continue to be amazed that some people haven’t seen), Marvel Avengers, James Bond….. the list is almost endless. (One notable exception, by the way, is Les Miserables.)
Today’s psalm, however, seems to go in for some of this:
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me –people without regard for God. 4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. 5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them. 6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. 7 You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
God, please whack the evil people – and then things will be better. This, in essence, is the prayer. It is the prayer found in a number of the psalms – and in parts of the Old Testament. Israel is asking God to violently defeat their enemies.
Now, there is much that I can say on this subject. However, one thing will suffice today.
We do have enemies, and we should pray for them to be defeated. Therefore we should pray this psalm. But, and it’s a big but – our enemies are “not flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6). Our enemies are real, but they are not people. Our enemy is the devil and all his followers. Jesus is so clear that these are real, and that he has come to defeat them.
So as we look at our broken, diseased and at times evil world – let us pray that these enemies are defeated. Take this psalm – and pray it, praise it, and resolve to hold onto God – and look to Jesus who is seated on the throne until all His enemies are put under His feet (1Corinthians 15:25).
May you be blessed today. Love Matt