How do I behave before a schemer who always seems to defeat me? When I focus on my adversary, wickedness surges up as I plan strategies to fight back. Can I surrender this person to God, lifting my eyes to Him who is my help and my salvation? If my aim is not ‘to gain control’ but ‘to be with God’ then I must entrust this issue to Him.
How does the Lord work with such hard hearts? Psalm 81 gives a rather surprising answer. He does not overpower –
‘But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.’
When we won’t listen to Him, the Lord cuts us loose to experience both the freedom we demand and the mess that follows. This sounds like something an opponent would relish for their adversary. My experience however is that it is hard to live with the mess, and harder to watch even an adversary suffer until the lessons are learned.
Psalm 82 adds an important perspective.
‘But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.’
The end for those who indulge in wickedness is eventually a fall. So we are both in danger. When I am drawn into battle I become a wicked schemer as well. The Psalmist prays,
‘Rise up O God, judge the earth.’
This request for judgement requires purity, for the Lord’s judgement will be applied evenly.