I paused, reading the verse a second time: “O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me.” This is how Psalm 3 begins. It was written by David, heart-heavy over fleeing for his life from his son, Absalom. I cannot imagine running for my life; I certainly can’t imagine my child being the one from whom I’m running.
Though I find it hard to fathom such a difficult reality, David actually lived it. He faced real fear. He knew true sorrow. A king and a father who had not envisioned his life mimicking this current situation. This was the dilemma from which David penned this Psalms.
This was not David’s first encounter with relationships gone awry nor would it be his last. David, of all people, knew what it meant to have true enemies.
Friend, do you have an enemy? That’s a hard thought, I know.
Would you be the one to come to another’s mind if he/she were asked this same question? That’s an even harder thought.
I’m here, posing these questions to myself as well. Neither is pleasant nor comfortable. Neither is easy to consider – not even in the quiet, secret places of my heart.
Webster’s defines enemy as one who seeks to inflict injury on another; a foe; a hostile force or power.
When I first read this, my mind briefly landed on the aspect of physical injury. I know of no one desiring to harm me in this way (thankfully), and there is certainly no one I’d wish to harm. So maybe this issue of enemies is outdated. Maybe it isn’t applicable to common, ordinary people like you and me. Or, perhaps, this concept of physical harm merely skims the surface.
I push myself to dig deeper. To uncover other notions for enemy. What would other views look like?
If I’m being honest, my worst enemy is often the enemy within. This enemy holds onto the lies spoken about me by others just as David eluded to in Psalm 3:2. It sometimes takes me awhile to travel the same faith walk David traversed on his way from verse 2 to verse 3: from hearing the lie, to believing the lie, to replacing the lie with truth.
Some days the enemy shows up out of nowhere, disguised as one of my dearest people. A family member or close friend who chooses to stand against me on an issue – sometimes justifiably, other times not. As much as we hate it, conflict is inevitable when investing in lifelong relationships. And during those arduous moments, if we’re not careful, that beloved person begins to resemble an enemy to me, and I to them.
It happens much this same way in other areas of life, too. In the workplace. In the local church. In our schools. In the supermarkets and shopping malls and movie theaters we frequent. In the social media accounts we scroll through daily.
We face opposition, at some time or another, in every single area of life. Sometimes friendly, sometimes cruel and harsh. But all very much real.
Real fear over sticky situations. Real sorrow over the hard in relationships. Real truth in knowing we are covered by His shield and lifted up by His hands. And, hopefully, real crying out to the Lord as He answers us from His holy mountain.
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Psalms 3:3-4 (NLT)