“These are dangerous times, and the threat of war is greater now than at any time since the end of the Cold War, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Armed Services Committee… (2)
Times seem to be getting worse and worse with good increasingly called evil and evil called good. (Isaiah 5:20. Ecclesiastes 8:11) However, times have been similarly bad before in history. (Ecclesiastes 1:9,10;7:10)
Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter. (Isaiah 5:20 NET)
When a sentence is not executed at once against a crime, the human heart is encouraged to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11 NET)
Is there anything about which someone can say, "Look at this! It is new!"? It was already done long ago, before our time. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NET)
Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these days?" for it is not wise to ask that. (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NET)
The Psalmist experienced many of the same feelings we had today hundreds of years ago. We will look at some of his Psalms and the conclusions he arrived at concerning the fate of evil by the illumination of God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12).
Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12 NET)
In transparency the Psalmist shares his feelings concerning how evil appears to prosper in this life while those of God suffer:
Certainly God is good to Israel, and to those whose motives are pure! But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my feet almost slid out from under me. For I envied those who are proud, as I observed the prosperity of the wicked. For they suffer no pain; their bodies are strong and well-fed. They are immune to the trouble common to men; they do not suffer as other men do. Arrogance is their necklace, and violence their clothing. Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; their thoughts are sinful. They mock and say evil things; they proudly threaten violence. They speak as if they rule in heaven, and lay claim to the earth. Therefore they have more than enough food to eat, and even suck up the water of the sea. They say, "How does God know what we do? Is the sovereign one aware of what goes on?" Take a good look! This is what the wicked are like, those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer. I concluded, "Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle. I suffer all day long, and am punished every morning." If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers. When I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling to me. (Psalms 73:1-16 NET)
Then the Holy Spirit illuminates the Psalmist’s mind to understand what is the destiny of the wicked.
Then I entered the precincts of God's temple, and understood the destiny of the wicked. Surely you put them in slippery places; you bring them down to ruin. How desolate they become in a mere moment! Terrifying judgments make their demise complete! They are like a dream after one wakes up. O Lord, when you awake you will despise them. (Psalms 73:17-20 NET)
The Psalmist changes his view of the world and confesses God’s way is just! That is, he repents of doubting God would reward those loyal to Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Yes, my spirit was bitter, and my insides felt sharp pain. I was ignorant and lacked insight; I was as senseless as an animal before you. But I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me by your wise advice, and then you will lead me to a position of honor. Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you. But as for me, God's presence is all I need. I have made the sovereign LORD my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done. (Psalms 73:21-28 NET)
Additional Psalms with this Message
There are other Psalms with the same message that evil may prosper in the short view but in the long view it will not:
Certainly the Lord guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction. (Psalms 1:6 NET)
“See the one who is pregnant with wickedness, who conceives destructive plans, and gives birth to harmful lies – he digs a pit and then falls into the hole he has made. He becomes the victim of his own destructive plans and the violence he intended for others falls on his own head. I will thank the LORD for his justice; I will sing praises to the sovereign LORD!” (Psalms 7:14-17 NET)
The nations fell into the pit they had made; their feet were caught in the net they had hidden. The Lord revealed himself; he accomplished justice; the wicked were ensnared by their own actions. (Higgaion. Selah) The wicked are turned back and sent to Sheol; this is the destiny of all the nations that ignore God, for the needy are not permanently ignored, the hopes of the oppressed are not forever dashed. Rise up, Lord! Don’t let men be defiant! May the nations be judged in your presence! Terrify them, Lord! Let the nations know they are mere mortals! (Selah) (Psalms 9:15-20 NET)
Pay them back for their evil deeds! Pay them back for what they do! Punish them! For they do not understand the LORD's actions, or the way he carries out justice. The LORD will permanently demolish them. (Psalms 28:4-5 NET)
The Lord pays attention to the godly and hears their cry for help. But the Lord opposes evildoers and wipes out all memory of them from the earth. The godly cry out and the Lord hears; he saves them from all their troubles. The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged. The godly face many dangers, but the Lord saves them from each one of them. He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil people self-destruct; those who hate the godly are punished. The Lord rescues his servants; all who take shelter in him escape punishment. (Psalm 34:15–22 NET)
Do not fret when wicked men seem to succeed! Do not envy evildoers! For they will quickly dry up like grass, and wither away like plants. Trust in the LORD and do what is right! Settle in the land and maintain your integrity! Then you will take delight in the LORD, and he will answer your prayers. Commit your future to the LORD! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf. He will vindicate you in broad daylight, and publicly defend your just cause. Wait patiently for the LORD! Wait confidently for him! Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner, a man who carries out wicked schemes! Do not be angry and frustrated! Do not fret! That only leads to trouble! Wicked men will be wiped out, but those who rely on the LORD are the ones who will possess the land. Evil men will soon disappear; you will stare at the spot where they once were, but they will be gone. But the oppressed will possess the land and enjoy great prosperity. Evil men plot against the godly and viciously attack them. The Lord laughs in disgust at them, for he knows that their day is coming. Evil men draw their swords and prepare their bows, to bring down the oppressed and needy, and to slaughter those who are godly. Their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. The little bit that a godly man owns is better than the wealth of many evil men, for evil men will lose their power, but the LORD sustains the godly. The LORD watches over the innocent day by day and they possess a permanent inheritance. They will not be ashamed when hard times come; when famine comes they will have enough to eat. But evil men will die; the LORD's enemies will be incinerated– they will go up in smoke. Evil men borrow, but do not repay their debt, but the godly show compassion and are generous. Surely those favored by the LORD will possess the land, but those rejected by him will be wiped out. The LORD grants success to the one whose behavior he finds commendable. Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the LORD holds his hand. I was once young, now I am old. I have never seen a godly man abandoned, or his children forced to search for food. All day long he shows compassion and lends to others, and his children are blessed. Turn away from evil! Do what is right! Then you will enjoy lasting security. For the LORD promotes justice, and never abandons his faithful followers. They are permanently secure, but the children of evil men are wiped out. The godly will possess the land and will dwell in it permanently. The godly speak wise words and promote justice. The law of their God controls their thinking; their feet do not slip. Evil men set an ambush for the godly and try to kill them. But the LORD does not surrender the godly, or allow them to be condemned in a court of law. Rely on the LORD! Obey his commands! Then he will permit you to possess the land; you will see the demise of evil men. I have seen ruthless evil men growing in influence, like a green tree grows in its native soil. But then one passes by, and suddenly they have disappeared! I looked for them, but they could not be found. Take note of the one who has integrity! Observe the godly! For the one who promotes peace has a future. Sinful rebels are totally destroyed; evil men have no future. But the LORD delivers the godly; he protects them in times of trouble. The LORD helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from evil men and delivers them, for they seek his protection. (Psalms 37:1-40 NET)
“They have prepared a net to trap me; I am discouraged. They have dug a pit for me. They will fall into it! (Selah)” (Psalms 57:6 NET)
The godly will rejoice when they see vengeance carried out; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then observers will say, "Yes indeed, the godly are rewarded! Yes indeed, there is a God who judges in the earth!" (Psalms 58:10-11 NET)
Enemies seek to destroy my life, but they will descend into the depths of the earth. Each one will be handed over to the sword; their corpses will be eaten by jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who takes oaths in his name will boast, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. (Psalm 63:9–11 NET)
When the wicked sprout up like grass, and all the evildoers glisten, it is so that they may be annihilated. But you, O Lord, reign forever! Indeed, look at your enemies, O Lord! Indeed, look at how your enemies perish! All the evildoers are scattered! (Psalms 92:7-9 NET)
He loved to curse others, so those curses have come upon him. He had no desire to bless anyone, so he has experienced no blessings. He made cursing a way of life, so curses poured into his stomach like water and seeped into his bones like oil. May a curse attach itself to him, like a garment one puts on, or a belt one wears continually! May the Lord repay my accusers in this way, those who say evil things about me! (Psalms 109:17-20 NET)
“The LORD lifts up the oppressed, but knocks the wicked to the ground.” (Psalms 147:6 NET)
Proverbs with this Message
In addition, there are Proverbs with the same message that evil may prosper in the short view but in the long view it will not:
My child, if sinners try to entice you, do not consent! If they say, “Come with us! We will lie in wait to shed blood; we will ambush an innocent person capriciously. We will swallow them alive like Sheol, those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit. We will seize all kinds of precious wealth; we will fill our houses with plunder. Join with us! We will all share equally in what we steal.” My child, do not go down their way, withhold yourself from their path; for they are eager to inflict harm, and they hasten to shed blood. Surely it is futile to spread a net in plain sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood, they ambush their own lives! Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly; it takes away the life of those who obtain it! (Proverbs 1:10-19 NET)
The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities, and he will be held by the cords of his own sin. He will die because there was no discipline; because of the greatness of his folly he will reel. (Proverbs 5:22 NET)
If the righteous are recompensed on earth, how much more the wicked sinner! (Proverbs 11:31 NET)
The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity. (Proverbs 12:21 NET)
The LORD works everything for its own ends– even the wicked for the day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:4 NET)
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but rather be zealous in fearing the Lord all the time. For surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:17,18 NET)
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked will be brought down by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice, lest the Lord see it, and be displeased, and turn his wrath away from him. Do not fret because of evil people or be envious of wicked people, for the evil person has no future, and the lamp of the wicked will be extinguished. Fear the Lord, my child, as well as the king, and do not associate with rebels, for suddenly their destruction will overtake them, and who knows the ruinous judgment both the Lord and the king can bring? (Proverbs 24:16-22 NET) “The one who digs a pit will fall into it; the one who rolls a stone – it will come back on him.” (Proverbs 26:27 NET)
The one who leads the upright astray in an evil way will himself fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit what is good. (Proverbs 28:10 NET)
The one who stiffens his neck after numerous rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1 NET)
Count it all Joy, for ALL THINGS are Working to Make You CHRISTLIKE!
So, take heart and find courage because God is causing all things to work together for your good. Note I did not say all things to make you feel good. In addition, realize there are two conditions to this promise, that you love God and are living in God’s calling. What is God’s calling for every Christian? I am glad you asked! The calling for every Christian is to be transformed into the image of God’s unique Son, Jesus the Christ!
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 NET)
Consider all the trials and tribulations (1) an opportunity for JOY! (1) (James 1:2,3) You say, why in the world would I do that? Because the testing of your faith produces endurance, and endurance will lead to your maturity (1) and Christ conformity! (James 1:4)
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James. 1:2-4 NET)
Look, the Lord takes notice of his loyal followers, those who wait for him to demonstrate his faithfulness by saving their lives from death and sustaining them during times of famine. We wait for the Lord; he is our deliverer and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him, for we trust in his holy name. May we experience your faithfulness, O Lord, for we wait for you. (Psalms 33:18-22)
When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place. Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer! You men, how long will you try to turn my honor into shame? How long will you love what is worthless and search for what is deceptive? (Selah) Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him. Tremble with fear and do not sin! Meditate as you lie in bed, and repent of your ways! (Selah) Offer the prescribed sacrifices and trust in the Lord! Many say, “Who can show us anything good?” Smile upon us, Lord! You make me happier than those who have abundant grain and wine. I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure. (Psalms 4:1-8)
Effectively cooperating with the Justice of the Lord
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards,for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down argumentsand every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3–6 NET)
How are we to respond if someone falsely accuses (1) us of doing wrong? We are to follow the example Jesus gave on the cross and pray for them to have forgiveness (mercy includes forgiveness) (Luke 23:34. Matthew 5:43-45. Matthew 7:12. Luke 6:27-31. Romans 12:14, 21. 1 John 5:16)
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2–4 NET)
What if their slanderous accusations lead to our being let go from where we work? (Leviticus 19:16. Proverbs 6:16-19. Romans 8:28,29) Pray for them to have God’s mercy! It could be that you are a reluctant entrepreneur, and God is using this egregious and unfair situation to launch you into your true destiny. (James 1:2-4)
God allows their Rejection for Your Protection
Should you reprove them or pay them back for their slanderous accusations? No, not if you want God to address the situation! (Proverbs 9:7; 23:9. Leviticus 19:18. Romans 12:17. Matthew 5:38-42)
Realize, either we deal with the situation or God, but He will not be part of our vengeance. Therefore, if you choose to turn the situation over to God (Philippians 4:6,7. 1 Peter 5:6,7), by praying for them to have His mercy, He will pass righteous judgment upon the situation. If you are not ready to pray for mercy for them, then still go to God to reason with Him until He fills you with His mercy for them (Isaiah 1:18. Psalms 55. Psalms 73).
God’s judgments (1) are fair but exceedingly and eternally firm. Furthermore, He considers it a righteous thing to repay those that trouble His children (i.e., children that are living in love and mercy) (Genesis 12:3. Psalms 105:14,15. Isaiah 54:17. Romans 12:19. 2 Thessalonians 1:6)
Yes, as your judgments unfold, O Lord, we wait for you. We desire your fame and reputation to grow. I look for you during the night, my spirit within me seeks you at dawn, for when your judgments come upon the earth, those who live in the world learn about justice. If the wicked are shown mercy, they do not learn about justice. Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly; they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed. (Isaiah 26:8–10 NET)
Nevertheless, God in His infinite mercy moves slowly in executing vengeance in order to give all involved an opportunity to change their ways (i.e., repent).
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NET)
For example, as I have learned to live in mercy towards those that have tried to cause me harm (e.g., by sidetracking my career), I have seen God move them out from my situation to a harsh situation of their own, some having their careers sidetracked and even some losing their jobs. I have witnessed unusual natural phenomena and failures against organizations mistreating me, resulting in them being severely challenged financially. (James 5:1-4) I have seen some that were persecuting me pass away. (Hebrews 10:30,31. Acts 5:1-10)
However, we must not rejoice or take pleasure in the judgment of the Lord upon those that have come against us (i.e., thinking it is a personal victory) lest He turns it from them (and potentially judge it right to be turned upon us). He would do that to teach us His children not to become just like those that were persecuting us (Job 36:17. Proverbs 24:17,18. 1 Corinthians 11:31,32. Hebrews 12:5-8. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Furthermore, there are times when the Lord will instruct the church to turn someone over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. That is, remove the church’s protective covering from that person so that our enemy’s temptations will “sift them like wheat” (1) by separating the wheat (i.e., righteous thoughts and intents of their spiritual heart) from the chaff (i.e., sinful thoughts and intents of their spiritual heart (1)) in their lives. (cf. Luke 22:31) Once they see the chaff in their lives, they have the choice to turn to God to have it removed and be restored or continue with the sin(s) and be destroyed by Satan. (cf. John 10:10)
When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and I am with you in spirit, along with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:4–6 NET)
I put this charge before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, in order that with such encouragement you may fight the good fight. To do this you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18–20 NET)
Addition Scriptural References with the Same Message
Additional References with the same message that evil may prosper in the short view but in the long view it will not:
“Why are times not appointed by the Almighty? Why do those who know him not see his days? Men move boundary stones; they seize the flock and pasture them. They drive away the orphan’s donkey; they take the widow’s ox as a pledge. They turn the needy from the pathway, and the poor of the land hide themselves together. Like wild donkeys in the desert they go out to their labor, seeking diligently for food; the wasteland provides food for them and for their children. They reap fodder in the field, and glean in the vineyard of the wicked. They spend the night naked because they lack clothing; they have no covering against the cold. They are soaked by mountain rains and huddle in the rocks because they lack shelter. The fatherless child is snatched from the breast, the infant of the poor is taken as a pledge. They go about naked, without clothing, and go hungry while they carry the sheaves. They press out the olive oil between the rows of olive trees; they tread the winepresses while they are thirsty. From the city the dying groan, and the wounded cry out for help, but God charges no one with wrongdoing. There are those who rebel against the light; they do not know its ways and they do not stay on its paths. Before daybreak the murderer rises up; he kills the poor and the needy; in the night he is like a thief. And the eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight, thinking, ‘No eye can see me,’ and covers his face with a mask. In the dark the robber breaks into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they do not know the light. For all of them, the morning is to them like deep darkness; they are friends with the terrors of darkness. “You say, ‘He is foam on the face of the waters; their portion of the land is cursed so that no one goes to their vineyard. The drought as well as the heat carry away the melted snow; so the grave takes away those who have sinned. The womb forgets him, the worm feasts on him, no longer will he be remembered. Like a tree, wickedness will be broken down. He preys on the barren and childless woman, and does not treat the widow well. But God drags off the mighty by his power; when God rises up against him, he has no faith in his life. God may let them rest in a feeling of security, but he is constantly watching all their ways. They are exalted for a little while, and then they are gone, they are brought low like all others, and gathered in, and like a head of grain they are cut off.’ “If this is not so, who can prove me a liar and reduce my words to nothing?” (Job 24:1-25 NET)
Indeed, God is mighty; and he does not despise people, he is mighty, and firm in his intent. He does not allow the wicked to live, but he gives justice to the poor. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; but with kings on the throne he seats the righteous and exalts them forever. But if they are bound in chains, and held captive by the cords of affliction, then he reveals to them what they have done, and their transgressions, that they were behaving proudly. And he reveals this for correction, and says that they must turn from evil. If they obey and serve him, they live out their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness. But if they refuse to listen, they pass over the river of death, and expire without knowledge. The godless at heart nourish anger, they do not cry out even when he binds them. They die in their youth, and their life ends among the male cultic prostitutes. He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, he reveals himself to them by their suffering. And surely, he drew you from the mouth of distress, to a wide place, unrestricted, and to the comfort of your table filled with rich food. But now you are preoccupied with the judgment due the wicked, judgment and justice take hold of you. Be careful that no one entices you with riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside. Would your wealth sustain you, so that you would not be in distress, even all your mighty efforts? Do not long for the cover of night to drag people away from their homes. Take heed, do not turn to evil, for because of this you have been tested by affliction. Indeed, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? Who has prescribed his ways for him? Or said to him, ‘You have done what is wicked’? Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song. All humanity has seen it; people gaze on it from afar. (Job 36:5–25 NET)
Lord, lead me in your righteousness because of those who wait to ambush me, remove the obstacles in the way in which you are guiding me! For they do not speak the truth; their stomachs are like the place of destruction, their throats like an open grave, their tongues like a steep slope leading into it. Condemn them, O God! May their own schemes be their downfall! Drive them away because of their many acts of insurrection, for they have rebelled against you. But may all who take shelter in you be happy! May they continually shout for joy! Shelter them so that those who are loyal to you may rejoice! Certainly you reward the godly, Lord. Like a shield you protect them in your good favor. (Psalm 5:8–12 NET)
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you pay no attention during times of trouble? The wicked arrogantly chase the oppressed; the oppressed are trapped by the schemes the wicked have dreamed up. Yes, the wicked man boasts because he gets what he wants; the one who robs others curses and rejects the Lord. The wicked man is so arrogant he always thinks, “God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care.” He is secure at all times. He has no regard for your commands; he disdains all his enemies. He says to himself, “I will never be upended, because I experience no calamity.” His mouth is full of curses and deceptive, harmful words; his tongue injures and destroys. He waits in ambush near the villages; in hidden places he kills the innocent. His eyes look for some unfortunate victim. He lies in ambush in a hidden place, like a lion in a thicket; he lies in ambush, waiting to catch the oppressed; he catches the oppressed by pulling in his net. His victims are crushed and beaten down; they are trapped in his sturdy nets. He says to himself, “God overlooks it; he does not pay attention; he never notices.” Rise up, Lord! O God, strike him down! Do not forget the oppressed! Why does the wicked man reject God? He says to himself, “You will not hold me accountable.” You have taken notice, for you always see one who inflicts pain and suffering. The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you; you deliver the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man! Hold him accountable for his wicked deeds, which he thought you would not discover. The Lord rules forever! The nations are driven out of his land. Lord, you have heard the request of the oppressed; you make them feel secure because you listen to their prayer. You defend the fatherless and oppressed, so that mere mortals may no longer terrorize them. (Psalm 10:1–18 NET)
How long, Lord, will you continue to ignore me? How long will you pay no attention to me? How long must I worry, and suffer in broad daylight? How long will my enemy gloat over me? Look at me! Answer me, O Lord my God! Revive me, or else I will die! Then my enemy will say, “I have defeated him!” Then my foes will rejoice because I am upended. But I trust in your faithfulness. May I rejoice because of your deliverance! I will sing praises to the Lord when he vindicates me. (Psalm 13:1–6 NET)
O Lord, fight those who fight with me! Attack those who attack me! Grab your small shield and large shield, and rise up to help me! Use your spear and lance against those who chase me! Assure me with these words: “I am your deliverer!” May those who seek my life be embarrassed and humiliated! May those who plan to harm me be turned back and ashamed! May they be like wind-driven chaff, as the Lord’s angel attacks them! May their path be dark and slippery, as the Lord’s angel chases them! I did not harm them, but they hid a net to catch me and dug a pit to trap me. Let destruction take them by surprise! Let the net they hid catch them! Let them fall into destruction! Then I will rejoice in the Lord and be happy because of his deliverance. With all my strength I will say, “O Lord, who can compare to you? You rescue the oppressed from those who try to overpower them; the oppressed and needy from those who try to rob them.” Violent men perjure themselves, and falsely accuse me. They repay me evil for the good I have done; I am overwhelmed with sorrow. When they were sick, I wore sackcloth, and refrained from eating food. (If I am lying, may my prayers go unanswered!) I mourned for them as I would for a friend or my brother. I bowed down in sorrow as if I were mourning for my mother. But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together; they gathered together to ambush me. They tore at me without stopping to rest. When I tripped, they taunted me relentlessly, and tried to bite me. O Lord, how long are you going to just stand there and watch this? Rescue me from their destructive attacks; guard my life from the young lions! Then I will give you thanks in the great assembly; I will praise you before a large crowd of people! Do not let those who are my enemies for no reason gloat over me! Do not let those who hate me without cause carry out their wicked schemes! For they do not try to make peace with others, but plan ways to deceive those who are unsuspecting. They are ready to devour me; they say, “Aha! Aha! We’ve got you!” But you take notice, Lord! O Lord, do not remain far away from me! Rouse yourself, wake up and vindicate me! My God and Lord, defend my just cause! Vindicate me by your justice, O Lord my God! Do not let them gloat over me! Do not let them say to themselves, “Aha! We have what we wanted!” Do not let them say, “We have devoured him!” May those who want to harm me be totally embarrassed and ashamed! May those who arrogantly taunt me be covered with shame and humiliation! May those who desire my vindication shout for joy and rejoice! May they continually say, “May the Lord be praised, for he wants his servant to be secure.” Then I will tell others about your justice, and praise you all day long. (Psalms 35:1-28 NET)
Evil men draw their swords and prepare their bows, to bring down the oppressed and needy, and to slaughter those who are godly. Their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. (Psalms 37:14,15 NET)
“Listen to this, all you nations! Pay attention, all you inhabitants of the world! Pay attention, all you people, both rich and poor! I will declare a wise saying; I will share my profound thoughts. I will learn a song that imparts wisdom; I will then sing my insightful song to the accompaniment of a harp. Why should I be afraid in times of trouble, when the sinful deeds of deceptive men threaten to overwhelm me? They trust in their wealth and boast in their great riches. Certainly a man cannot rescue his brother; he cannot pay God an adequate ransom price (the ransom price for a human life is too high, and people go to their final destiny), so that he might continue to live forever and not experience death. Surely one sees that even wise people die; fools and spiritually insensitive people all pass away and leave their wealth to others. Their grave becomes their permanent residence, their eternal dwelling place. They name their lands after themselves, but, despite their wealth, people do not last, they are like animals that perish. This is the destiny of fools, and of those who approve of their philosophy. (Selah) They will travel to Sheol like sheep, with death as their shepherd. The godly will rule over them when the day of vindication dawns; Sheol will consume their bodies and they will no longer live in impressive houses. But God will rescue my life from the power of Sheol; certainly he will pull me to safety. (Selah) Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich and his wealth multiplies! For he will take nothing with him when he dies; his wealth will not follow him down into the grave. He pronounces this blessing on himself while he is alive: “May men praise you, for you have done well!” But he will join his ancestors; they will never again see the light of day. Wealthy people do not understand; they are like animals that perish.” (Psalm 49:1–20 NET)
For the music director; according to the al-tashcheth style; a prayer of David, written when Saul sent men to surround his house and murder him. Deliver me from my enemies, my God! Protect me from those who attack me! Deliver me from evildoers! Rescue me from violent men! For look, they wait to ambush me; powerful men stalk me, but not because I have rebelled or sinned, O Lord. Though I have done nothing wrong, they are anxious to attack. Spring into action and help me! Take notice of me! You, O Lord God, the invincible warrior, the God of Israel, rouse yourself and punish all the nations! Have no mercy on any treacherous evildoers! (Selah) They return in the evening; they growl like a dog and prowl around outside the city. Look, they hurl insults at me and openly threaten to kill me, for they say, “Who hears?” But you, O Lord, laugh in disgust at them; you taunt all the nations. You are my source of strength! I will wait for you! For God is my refuge. The God who loves me will help me; God will enable me to triumph over my enemies. Do not strike them dead suddenly, because then my people might forget the lesson. Use your power to make them homeless vagabonds and then bring them down, O Lord who shields us! They speak sinful words. So let them be trapped by their own pride and by the curses and lies they speak! Angrily wipe them out! Wipe them out so they vanish! Let them know that God rules in Jacob and to the ends of the earth! (Selah) They return in the evening; they growl like a dog and prowl around outside the city. They wander around looking for something to eat; they refuse to sleep until they are full. As for me, I will sing about your strength; I will praise your loyal love in the morning. For you are my refuge and my place of shelter when I face trouble. You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to you! For God is my refuge, the God who loves me. (Psalms 59:1-17 NET)
Listen to me, O God, as I offer my lament! Protect my life from the enemy’s terrifying attacks. Hide me from the plots of evil men, from the crowd of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like a sword; they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge, in order to shoot down the innocent in secluded places. They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation. They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed. They plan how to hide snares, and boast, “Who will see them?” They devise unjust schemes; they disguise a well-conceived plot. Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. But God will shoot at them; suddenly they will be wounded by an arrow. Their slander will bring about their demise. All who see them will shudder, and all people will fear. They will proclaim what God has done, and reflect on his deeds. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and take shelter in him. All the morally upright will boast. (Psalm 64:1-10 NET)
God says, “I will bring down all the power of the wicked; the godly will be victorious.” (Psalms 75:10 NET)
O Lord, the God who avenges! O God who avenges, reveal your splendor! Rise up, O judge of the earth! Pay back the proud! O Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked celebrate? They spew out threats and speak defiantly; all the evildoers boast. O Lord, they crush your people; they oppress the nation that belongs to you. They kill the widow and the one residing outside his native land, and they murder the fatherless. Then they say, “The Lord does not see this; the God of Jacob does not take notice of it.” Take notice of this, you ignorant people! You fools, when will you ever understand? Does the one who makes the human ear not hear? Does the one who forms the human eye not see? Does the one who disciplines the nations not punish? He is the one who imparts knowledge to human beings! The Lord knows that peoples’ thoughts are morally bankrupt. How blessed is the one whom you instruct, O Lord, the one whom you teach from your law, in order to protect him from times of trouble, until the wicked are destroyed. Certainly the Lord does not forsake his people; he does not abandon the nation that belongs to him. For justice will prevail, and all the morally upright will be vindicated. Who will rise up to defend me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the evildoers? If the Lord had not helped me, I would have laid down in the silence of death. If I say, “My foot is slipping,” your loyal love, O Lord, supports me. When worries threaten to overwhelm me, your soothing touch makes me happy. Cruel rulers are not your allies, those who make oppressive laws. They conspire against the blameless, and condemn to death the innocent. But the Lord will protect me, and my God will shelter me. He will pay them back for their sin. He will destroy them because of their evil; the Lord our God will destroy them. (Psalms 94:1-23)
Give us help against the enemy, for any help men might offer is futile. By God’s power we will conquer; he will trample down our enemies. Psalms 108:12,13 NET)
I desperately long for your deliverance. I find hope in your word. My eyes grow tired as I wait for your promise to be fulfilled. I say, “When will you comfort me?” For I am like a wineskin dried up in smoke. I do not forget your statutes. How long must your servant endure this? When will you judge those who pursue me? The arrogant dig pits to trap me, which violates your law. (Psalms 119:81-85 NET)
The wicked lay a trap for me, but I do not wander from your precepts. (Psalms 119:110 NET)
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, to the morally upright! As for those who are bent on traveling a sinful path, may the Lord remove them, along with those who behave wickedly! May Israel experience peace! (Psalms 125:4,5 NET)
Surely I am looking to you, O sovereign Lord. In you I take shelter. Do not expose me to danger! Protect me from the snare they have laid for me, and the traps the evildoers have set. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape. (Psalms 141:8-10)
One who digs a pit may fall into it, and one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. One who quarries stones may be injured by them; one who splits logs may be endangered by them. (Ecclesiastes 10:8,9 NET)
Listen to me, you who know what is right, you people who are aware of my law! Don’t be afraid of the insults of men; don’t be discouraged because of their abuse! For a moth will eat away at them like clothes; a clothes moth will devour them like wool. But the vindication I provide will be permanent; the deliverance I give will last.” (Isaiah 51:7,8 NET)
Selah (Pause and Reflect on this)
Discipleship for Wounded Christians
- The Lord is My Shomer
- God, You do not seem big enough for all my problems!
- Evil is Triumphing over Good, God Will You Do Nothing?
- How to Suffer Effectively
- Fear-free Courage?
- How to Handle Unfair Trials from Leadership
- Kept in Jesus’ Name!
- Religious Folklore – Children are Held Accountable for the Sins of their Parents
- Religious Folklore – The Christian Life is one of Receiving Forgiveness for but not Victory over Habitual Sins
- Sex Sans Sin (SSS)
- Licensed to Kill
- Jesus and the Male Caught (Up) in Same-Sex Attraction
- Lay Me to Rest with Leah the Lovely!
(Protection, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
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