Psalms 21, 76, 144
Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues the peoples under me.
– Psalm 144:1-2
Psalm 144 is a warrior’s psalm. The warriors turn to God in the heat of battle- train our hands, deliver us, rescue us, fight for us so that we are able to raise our children and raise our crops in peace.
I am uncomfortable with images of God’s people as warriors and the “expansion” of salvation via force. I think of how often it has been abused- the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust and countless other acts of genocide, discrimination and violence. We are never to be the aggressors, the tyrants, nor the persecutors.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) Jesus calls us to engage deeply in peacemaking – praying for those who persecute us, turning the other cheek, forgiving 70 X 7, shaking the dust from our sandals as we leave.
Some Christians take these commands as an absolute commitment to a life of nonviolence. I believe the scriptures leave room for those rare occasions when all else fails and life must be defended.
It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work.- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
Jesus, Prince of Peace, You do not give as the world gives. You give your peace. A peace that passes understanding. A peace that is everlasting. Help me to join you in the hard, hard work of peacemaking. Grant me wisdom, patience, and compassion. Save me from rushing to judgment and anger and domination. Victory without peace is no victory.
Defend those who find themselves in the midst of violence-
Violence between countries
Violence between races
Violence between religions
Violence between students
Violence between family members
Violence over land, over ideas, over food, over rights
Change the hearts of all who seek their way by evil and violence means. End the violence and the death and the hate. Let there be peace on earth. Amen.
You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms. To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan
As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.
I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><
PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.