Fighting our Enemies
Several years ago I missed a turn for one of my speaking events. It didn’t take me long to realize I was on the wrong road, but I didn’t know how to find my way without help. So I pulled into a gas station and asked the locals for directions. Thankfully, they were kind and helpful, and before long I was on my way again on the right road.
Missing a wrong turn for a speaking engagement isn’t nearly as bad as missing the wrong road in life. Scripture tells us that there is a right road, the way of the righteous, and a wrong road, the way of the rebellious (see Ps. 1:1-6). Only by God’s grace can we walk on the road of righteousness.
The road of righteousness is not a popular road, but it is a rewarding road. God’s glorious presence is with us each step of the way. But once we are on the right road, Scripture teaches us that we are confronted with three enemies that tempt us to doubt the way we have chosen is good.
The enemy within (the flesh) is ready to engage in sin and remind us of past sins. The Enemy without (the devil) seeks to seduce us and persecute us. And the world tempts us to walk in its ways of idolatry and immorality. Thankfully, Psalm 25 reminds us of four important truths as we fight against our enemies.
Fear of the Lord
First, we must fear the Lord (Ps. 25:1-7). In response to the Lord’s salvation, we are to walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him wholeheartedly, obey Him, and hold fast to Him (Deut. 10:12-13, 20). When our enemies threaten to undo us, we must trust in the Lord and wait for Him to deliver us. During times of waiting we must worship Him, accept His plans and purposes, incline our hearts to wisdom, and trust Him as our Leader and Teacher.
Forgiveness of the Lord
Second, we must remember the forgiveness of the Lord (Ps. 25:8-11). It’s so easy to recall our past sins and replay them in vivid detail, feeling shame wash over us again and again. But Scripture never encourages us to wallow in our misery and sin. David’s confidence of forgiveness came from the Lord’s covenant love. The Lord forgives because He has chosen to enter into a covenant relationship with His people. Forgiveness is not dependent upon us, but upon Him. He has mercy on sinners like you and me. This is good news for the idolatrous and impure. When we confess our sins and repent He removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).
Friendship of the Lord
Third, when our enemies attack us, it is imperative that we recall the friendship of the Lord (Ps. 25:12-14). In every situation we face the Lord never forsakes us. When our marriage is strained, another day of physical pain seems unmanageable, we discover our child is addicted to pornography, our employer fires us, and our elderly parent requires more time and attention than we have to give, we often fail to remember that the Lord is with us. But Jesus calls us friends (John 15:15). He instructs us through His Word, provides for us through various means, blesses us with His lovingkindness, and reveals Himself to us in Scripture. In our difficulties, there is every reason to believe that Jesus will help.
Freedom of the Lord
Fourth, although foes aim to enslave us, the Lord frees us (Ps. 25:15-22). The Lord delivered David from distress and damnation. When our eyes are fixed on the Lord we find freedom. Such freedom leads us away from self-centeredness to God-centeredness and concern for others.
Notably, David ends Psalm 25 with a prayer for the covenant community to be redeemed from all his troubles. In our sin and suffering, we tend to isolate ourselves from other believers and become self-absorbed. But David reminds us how important it is to remember the troubles of others and to pray for them, that they will not fall into deception or despair.
Since Christ feared the Lord perfectly on our behalf, and took the wrath of God upon Him, our enemies will not be exulted over us, and our past sins need no longer haunt us. Christ reconciled us to God so that we might have friendship with the Lord, not the world. And Christ redeemed us, so that we can experience true freedom.
As we walk the road of righteousness, by God’s grace, keep the truths of Psalm 25 close at hand. Remember to fear the Lord at all times. Rest in His forgiveness. Relish His friendship. And rejoice in His freedom. For “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, homeschooling mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). To learn more, please visit www.sarahivill.com.