Friday 8 December 2023

Thought Picnic: Enemies present to see me blessed

In the grip of superstition

Sometimes, I find myself at that point of conflict between traditions and beliefs, the things we find ourselves doing because of fear, premonition, superstition, or customs we think the good and good fortune that comes our way is under constant threat from bad forces or persons.

We live with a tendency to believe that ill will exists at every turn, both in its proximity and in its distance, we inadvertently limit agency and facility because we give over the wealth of grace made available to us to the control of possible malevolence than trusting in unassailable benevolence.

Whilst one understands that there is no glory or praise in adversity, any adversity is essentially part of the construct of life, the more consequential matter is how one deals with adversity. For instance, when I was asked how I could avoid conflict from arising in some setting, I posited that avoiding conflict is rarely a function under our control, but addressing the issue in order the resolve it is one we need to have the skill to do.

Enemies present to see me blessed

It is against this backdrop, from the deepest recesses of my beliefs and faith, that I found that some advice I was receiving did not sit well with me. I can attest to many circumstances where I have found assurance, comfort, and solace from a verse of scripture that overwhelms and brings to naught the effect of something that in other situations would be damaging and impossible to overcome.

(Psa 23:5 NLT) You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

My understanding of this verse is that God blesses you for the observation of your adversaries and detractors. They are to see and know that you are blessed and blessed abundantly. The blessing of God is not something to be hidden. To enjoy the blessing of God is not a thing of personal pride, but one of glorifying God as it pleases God to bless His people.

The irreversible blessings of God

(Num 23:20 NLT) Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!

In this Bible story where the prophet Balaam was spoken to by the ass he was riding, Balaam was being engaged by a king with the promise of a great reward to curse the people of Israel. What is fundamental here is that what God has done in His goodness cannot be repudiated. To the frustrated king procuring Balaam’s services, the clear message was, that what God has blessed cannot be reversed.

(Psa 118:6 NLT) The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

(Psa 118:7 NLT) Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me.

As I was writing this blog, the verses above came to me, even as others that I will further meditate on have percolated into my consciousness. This challenges many premises, but until you know your station and status, it might well be meaningless. The fundamental here is that the LORD is for me and with that confidence, I should not fear what people can or think they have the power to do to me.

This is reinforced in the next verse, confirming that the LORD is indeed for me, not just idling, but helping me so that I get to look in triumph at those who do not wish me well for whatever reasons they might have.

Goodness and mercy fully attached

The focus really should be on God rather than them, regardless of what they might be up to. I lay hold of this assurance receiving the honour bestowed on me by the one whose blessings no one can reverse. As always, the issue is getting to appreciate the powerfulness of your standing against the powerlessness of any assailant.

That is what gives the last verse of Psalm 23 its grounding in faith and reality. I remain convinced that famines pass for times of abundance beyond every means or measure of understanding. We only have to trust in the unfailing love of God to know that we always win.

(Psa 23:6 NLT) Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

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