A chapel message for faculty, students and staff of Lutheran High Northeast in Norfolk, Nebraska. See Psalm 27 and 1 John 2:8-11 below, with some thoughts for study.
Delivered 6 February 2019.
We Pray: “O God, from Whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your Commandments, and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” Amen.
Hear the full audio of “Your Salvation from All Enemies“
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 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 gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Devotional Thoughts on Light, Salvation, and Enemies
PART ONE: An ENEMY is one who opposes and hates you…
A.) When the Lord repeats things for us, we ought to pay special attention and learn from them.
B.) Psalm 27 makes repeated reference to enemies and adversaries.
Note well the kinds of things enemies and adversaries do?
C.) Enemies don’t value your approval or ask your permission to attack.
PART TWO: How do we respond to enemies?
D.) Fight or Flight?
Fight–you either conquer by violence of your own, or suffer defeat.
Flight–you either manage to escape for a little while, or can’t get away.
E.) With the delusion of my power to win over enemies gone, what is left? Fear or Faith?
Fear–watching in alarm, wondering what’s next, paralyzed, vulnerable
Faith–no longer in ourselves or our power, but in The Lord
David–vs. Saul, vs. Goliath and the Phillistines, vs. Absolom, vs. Nathaniel
F.) Enemies entice us to return their hatred and become enemies, too.
PART THREE: You Will Have Hateful Enemies. You do. Don’t be one.
G.) The Devil, The World, Our Sinful Nature are the Lord’s Enemies.
H.) They plot to keep us from Hallowing God’s name.
I.) They surround to prevent His kingdom from coming.
J.) We pray in this (3rd) petition that our Father in heaven would break and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature…
K.) He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.
L.) Closer Enemies: Matthew 10:
36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
PART FOUR: The Lord is my light and My salvation…
M.) Christ betrayed by Judas, arrested by enemies in the Garden, mocked by enemies on trial, accused by false witnesses, surrounded by a crowd crying “crucify Him!”
N.) Jesus praying “Why have you forsaken me?” from the the cross. Looking upon these crowds and saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
O.) Jesus recognized their fears and hatred had blinded them. Jesus doesn’t just talk the talk of “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” He walks the walk to that cross, and suffers and prays and offers himself up as a living sacrifice for your every fear and the full depths of your own hot anger and enduring hatred of others. Resentment and grudges are nailed with him there to bleed out and die.
M.) The sky grows dark, reflecting the darkness all around Jesus, who waits on the Lord. He does not fear the darkness. He is the light, your light, my light and my salvation.
N.) “1 John 2:
8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
O.) Young men and women of God, the Lord is your light and your salvation. Your eyes are opened by the Spirit who “called [you] by the Gospel, and enlightened [you] with his gifts…”
P.) With open eyes, behold your enemies in the light of Christ, Your salvation. Love those enemies–beginning with acknowledging their blindness and how they know not what they do.
Q.) Psalm 27
“11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
“Pray for those who persecute you–Father forgive them and me too. Forgive us our trespasses.” So says the Lord, my Light and my Salvation. Amen
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