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Persecution

Briefing: If you have ever seen “It’s A Wonderful Life”, you probably remember the character of Mr. Potter, “the richest, meanest man in Bedford Falls”. Mr. Potter was a greedy, angry old man who hated just about everybody. Every jurisdiction has evil, mean, hateful people living in them.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 52.

On the Street: David wrote this Psalm about King Saul. At the time, Saul was chasing David around the Middle East trying to hunt David down and kill him. Before getting into this Psalm, I would highly encourage you to stop and read 1 Samuel 22:11-23.

If you chose not to read the story in Samuel, I will give you a very condensed version of what happened. While Saul was chasing David, he finds out David had stopped at a church. The priest at that church was unaware that Saul was hunting David. When David asked the priest for some bread, he gave it to him. When Saul arrived at the village of priests, he had all of them and their families murdered; 85 priest in all. He killed the men, women, children, infants, and animals. One man was able to escape and tell David.

I would suggest you take a moment to re-read this Psalm, now that you know the context of why it was written. Seeing the background story makes a big difference in how we read and visualize the Psalm.

We may not have rich, powerful kings hunting us down to kill us but I bet we can understand how it feels to have someone dislike us and wish evil and harm on us. The focus of this devotional is not to focus on Saul and the evil that he did. We want to look at David’s response.

The first seven verses explain David’s plight. David only needs two verses to show us how he responds. Verse 8, “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” The fruit tree is very symbolic in the Bible. It talks about good trees and bad trees. Good trees produce good fruit. Everybody loves a good fruit producing tree. Trees that produce bad fruit are usually cut down and a new tree is planted in its place. See Investigational Resources for many more verses on good fruit.

Verse 9 says, “I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” There are several things in these two verses that David says he will do in response to this persecution. In verse 8 he says he stands firm, striving to be the kind for man God has called him to be. Next, David says he will trust God. In verse 9 David says He will praise God, he will have hope in God, and he will praise God again.

When we are faced with persecution, slander, and accusations, what do we do? Keep our eyes on God and don’t change your morals, values, or character. Do not sink to the level of your attacker. Trust God. This means being patient and waiting for God to act and having faith in Him to come through.

Praise God. Start demonstrating your faith in the fact that God is going to protect you during this struggle. Keep your eyes on God, keep your joy and praise Him. Read Acts 16:22-34, where Paul and Silas are in a nasty dungeon. They have been beaten and falsely imprisoned yet they sing praises to God.

Have Hope in God. Jeremiah 29:11 gives us a promise from God, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Trust in this promise.

Finish off by praising Him again. In the midst of your battle give God the glory and praise for your upcoming victory against your attacker.

Investigational Resources: 1 Samuel 22:11-23, Fruit: Psalm 1:3, Proverbs 8:19, 13:2, 18:21, Isaiah 4:2-6, Jeremiah 17:8, Matthew 3:10, 7:15-23, 21:18-22, Luke 6:43-45, John 15:8, Hebrews 6:7, 13:15, Revelation 22:2.

Officer Safety Principle: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!

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