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Stay the Course

Briefing: Everyone faces difficulty in this life. What makes Christians different is how they react to those difficulties. We are able to have hope and stay true to how we are in Christ because of God’s protection.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 125.

On the Street: Law Enforcement is one of those jobs that will make you stop and think about your mortality. We work in a very serious job that can be dangerous. Near death experiences will get your attention. They will make you examine what you are doing and why you are doing it. They can also bring to light the truth about your spiritual condition.

The ones who have a solid relationship with the LORD do not worry about what lies beyond death. They are confident in their salvation because they trust in the redeeming work of Jesus. These are the people the psalmist is speaking of in verse 1, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” He makes the point of comparing us to a mountain, but not just any mountain. Mount Zion is the mountain of God. In Biblical times, building your fortress on a mountain was known to be the most secure place. You had the advantage of high ground and you could see your enemy approaching. He also says they will “endure forever.” Those who have chosen Jesus Christ and live according to His Word will endure forever, even after this life is over.

It reminds me of the story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 about building our houses. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” God will protect His children with a hedge of protection. The hedge of protection is the idea that you are completely surrounded by God so you will not be attacked from any direction. This protection lasts for “now and forevermore.”

The message of verse 3 has been a common theme in psalms. “The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.” As peace officers, our calling is to be guardians of peace and enforcers of the law. We are not called to be violent vigilantes with a badge. We do not carry out sentencing in the field. We do not hand out street justice. We hunt down and arrest those accused of crimes and we preserve order and peace. Deuteronomy 32:35, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” We enforce the law and only use the amount of force necessary to gain voluntary compliance.

A lot of people stand on Romans 13:4. It is a verse that gives us the authority to “bear the sword” and tells evildoers to “be afraid”. This is part of the peace officers duty but leading up to this verse Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Basically, don’t have a heavy badge, don’t let your position become a source of pride and overblown ego. Romans 12:9-21 gives a description of how the peace officer, and all Christians, should treat their enemies. This is what peace officers do on a day to day basis. It is not just about wielding a sword and having people fear you because you wear a badge. If you think this is what law enforcement is about, you are missing the point completely.

Stay the course and be the Christian peace officer God has called you to. You will need the sword and you will have to use it, but keep it in perspective. We need Romans 13:4 in the Bible just like we need the justification for force and even deadly force in our Penal Codes. It spells out the authority God has given us when things go seriously bad.

The prayer of verse 4 says, “Lord, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart.” We are the good guys at work but we must be the good guys 24/7. Our hearts must be seeking the things that please God. We do not want to be the people spoken of in verse 5, “But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers.” We must stay the course. There are so many people who get into this profession to help, to serve and protect. It only takes a couple of months to forget why they sought out the job of a peace officer and fall into the trap of ego and arrogance. Stay the course. If you have fallen into the heavy badge mode, and most of us have at some point, pull yourself off of this crooked path and line yourself and your actions up with God’s Word.

Investigational Resources: Job had a hedge of protection, see Job 1:1-11. Romans 12:9-21 shows us God’s desire for our actions towards the criminal and the evildoer.

Officer Safety Principle: “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 2
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!