Psalm 140:1-3 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Selah.
This heartfelt prayer of King David is one that we might find helpful to identify with as we face more and more opposition in our society as we seek to make known the saving Gospel of God’s love in Christ. It is so sad that increasing efforts are being made to silence us and prevent us from declaring our life-giving message of Salvation through Christ alone. This ‘Cancel Culture’ is fast becoming the accepted norm for our society, and it is being exercised with increasing violence (at least verbally: “They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.”) This opposition should not surprise us, because it is what Jesus promised to all who choose to follow him (John 15:20)!
But what might surprise us is the reality of this promise because we have become too used to witnessing in a culture that has not challenged us in the past. King David was confident in his request to the LORD because the LORD had proved his faithfulness. Do we share this confidence? Does our prayer life and general demeanour reflect the fact that we do?
While we are processing these questions, are we also allowing for the fact that the ‘rescuing’ might need to be understood with an eternal perspective? Church history has demonstrated that faithfulness might cost us our earthly lives, as was the case for Stephen (Acts 7:59-60), James (Acts 12:1-2), and countless others in the two millennia since – but our eternal ‘rescue’ is secure (John 3:16).
And Church history, even in the present time, demonstrates that the Church grows faster during times of persecution than it does in times of ease. I am always challenged by John’s vision in Revelation 6:9-11 – “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow-servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” Let us be prayerfully prepared for the inevitable!
– Bruce Christian