Rescue from Evil
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Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. (Psalm 140:1-2 NIV)
Sometimes when I’m reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the context seems so foreign to me. And to be honest, sometimes it seems really harsh. I’ve certainly never been a king like David, with scheming, power-hungry people plotting my demise. When he cried out for some very intense retribution, it seemed a little over-the-top to me. And I would have assumed this verse would never apply to me… until it did!
The year was 2006. I was visiting my husband’s family in Lebanon with my three children, then ages 11, 9, and almost 4. Despite decades of—well, centuries of—political turmoil, Lebanon is actually a very beautiful country. We were enjoying a lovely vacation full of beaches, mountains, caves, and rainbow-laced waterfalls.
Then war broke out between Hezbollah, an extremist Muslim faction, and nearby Israel. One of the big Hezbollah camps was only a few miles from my in-laws’ home. As bombs struck, we could see the smoke rise and feel the house shake. All the Lebanese people seemed to think this was totally normal. Although everything shut down, people stayed home and drank coffee and played cards while the kids continued their normal summertime fun. Their little Christian village was neutral in this fight, and they felt confident they wouldn’t be intentionally targeted.
But I was decidedly not okay. Even my husband who had been an American for about 15 years at that time was not okay. Our minds were reeling, trying to figure out how to protect our kids and get back home to our regularly scheduled dance camps and amusement parks. That night we learned the airport had been bombed, and we would definitely not be leaving any time soon. Then, driving home from a family member’s house, as my son and I sat in the front seat, we watched rockets shoot into the sky from the Hezbollah camp and fall willy-nilly—which looked to be dangerously close to our little village.
It was truly a nightmare. We gathered our children in one of the securest rooms in the house and began to pray and sing worship songs. My daughter, the 11-year-old, pulled out a Bible and began to read psalms to us. And she read from Psalm 140. There I was, surrounded by evil scheming extremists who had stirred up a war. That Scripture rang so true and so hopeful in that moment.
The psalm says in verse 6, “You are my God”. Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy. Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle.
And for once in my life, my very compassionate heart did not cringe at the part in verse 10 that said, May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise.
There’s so much more to this story; it could fill a book. My 4-year-old shared a vision from the Lord that gave us the perfect direction we needed in that moment. God protected us as we traveled through a hot zone. And when the refugee ships arrived, we were in exactly the right spot.
Seeing this Scripture again reminds me of all of that. But perhaps most importantly, it reminds me that I spend 99% of my life in a safe little American bubble. And when Scripture doesn’t make sense to me, it might just be because my life experience is so limited.
Our human minds are so limited, and God is so vast. Are there parts of the Bible that don’t make sense to you? I encourage you to put those in God’s hands and trust Him with those today.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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