The Beauty of Vindication – A Table in the Presence of my Enemies

Psa 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (3) He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

In this present evil world, the Christian is going to be accused, slandered, persecuted, and hated. Is that not what Jesus experienced? Well, the servant is not greater than his master. If the world hated Christ, it will hate us as well.

We know that the wicked accuse the righteous. They even use the fact that we are persecuted as “evidence” that God is not blessing us.

Mat 27:43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”

Notice then very carefully what David tells us in the 23rd Psalm:

Psa 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Christ vindicates His people. We experience some of that vindication now on occasion, but the Day is coming when we are going to be “guests of honor” at Christ’s banquet. He will own us, He will invite us. The King will say to each of us “come to My banquet which I am preparing in your honor.”  And get this:

The King is going to do this right in front of our enemies

They will be “outside” looking in. They will not be invited, but they can see it all. So let’s put this right down where we can get a firm hold on it:

One day your abuser and all of his wicked allies are going to watch you be honored by Christ the King at a banquet like no banquet this world has ever seen. You will receive absolute vindication right in front of them. All of their evil, false accusations made against you will be revealed to be lies. And then the King will order these enemies to depart into outer darkness, never to return.

That is what the Scripture means when it tells us that Christ prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. And it is going to taste really, really good.

 

The True Church – Christ’s Remnant – Has Been Scattered

Rom 16:17-19 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (19) For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

In the soon to be four decades in which I have been a pastor, I have seen the visible church become more like a den of robbers than the body of Christ. What would you experience if you checked into a robbers’ den? A thieves’ hideout? Oh it looked good on the outside – a nice place to stay you thought. But inside? Well, you were preyed upon. Not prayed upon. Preyed upon. Beaten. Robbed. Turns out the place was filled with the wicked.

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Abuse Victims are Being Thrown to the Lions in Local Churches

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This passage of Scripture is often misapplied to keep victims of domestic abusers in bondage. However, in this post I want to focus upon God’s promise of “the way of escape.” Obviously it is God’s will that when we are in a trial or test and we see a way of escape, we take it! After all, God Himself provides it!

Now, there are people who claim to be Christians who will tell you that it is always better (and in fact that God requires it) to remain in the trial. Even “unto death.” In other words, they promote martyrdom. Of course they are characterized by the ever-present double standard of the abuser. No way would they become a martyr, but you are required to be one.

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Waiting for Sasha – The Believer’s Certain Hope

Tit 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, (12) training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, (13) waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Until last April, we had two labs – Sadie and Sasha. But Sasha (the black one) died of cancer. Sadie and Sasha were constantly together ever since puppyhood.

Now, I don’t claim to know what goes on in Sadie’s mind, but we have noticed a definite change in her behavior since Sasha left. She is a real people dog, but she chooses to sleep on the back porch and she spends lots of time during the day laying out back on the lawn, watching. So we wonder – is she waiting for Sasha? [As I write this, little does Sadie know that she is about to be joined by Cinder, a black lab/golden retriever puppy, in just a couple of days].

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The Lord is Against the Wicked and Defends The Oppressed

 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalms 1:1-6)

The Lord pronounces His blessing and favor upon His people, and announces His curse upon His enemies, especially those who persecute His sheep. He promised the Thessalonian church that He is coming to set it all right –

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What to do When Hope Seems Non-Existent

“It’s hopeless.” If you are or have been the target of a domestic abuser or if you have a friend who is, then you have probably said this very thing. “There is no hope. She has no possible way that anyone can think of to get herself and her children away from this evil.” I have certainly thought this more than once after hearing a victim’s story.

  • No economic resources (due to his financial abuse)
  • No extended family to help her (he has allied them to his side)
  • No marketable job skills after decades of giving her life to him
  • No church that will support her in a divorce
  • No justice in the legal system (sometimes there is, often there is not)
  • No assurance that she will have full custody of the children

You just have to keep checking off “no” as you survey the landscape for an escape route.  It looks hopeless. It is not a sin to say it. The thing does appear to be devoid of any hope. And the fact is, humanly speaking, it is.

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