Thriving Amid Opposition
Heavenly Father, You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. You are my one fixed point of stability in life.
Read Psalm 52:1-9
 For the director of music. A
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:35,37).
Two ways of life, two ways to lasting security, two uses of speech: one belongs to the self-sufficient boastful person, the other to the worshiper who tells of and trusts “in God’s unfailing love” (8). The language, as throughout the book of Psalms, is strong, in black and white–and so can help us see more clearly the grays of our experience. We are given two scenarios.
Can you see contemporary examples of a person who “trusts in his great wealth” (7), who sees in the power of wealth a warrant for speaking as they like in destructive and derogatory ways, using deceit where it profits rather than “speaking the truth” (3)? Wealth is often thought to imply a right to rule and dictate, to destroy others who are in our way. Such a person acts as if they, or their descendants, will continue forever, but God will have the last word (5-7). The early church faced varied opposition and pressures, but the book of Revelation vividly describes judgment on those who persist in willful arrogance (With “Babylon” described in terms of wealthy power. See Rev. 18). False speaking continues, for society today constantly presses us to ground our lives only in ourselves and our possessions. Those are the same alternatives we find in Psalm 52.
How different is the flourishing “olive tree,” the one who trusts “in God’s unfailing love” (8), a contrast to the “uprooted” boaster (5)! Significantly the “olive tree” is “in the house of God” (c.f. Psa. 1:1-3); the psalmist is “in the presence of your faithful people” (8,9). It is in worship that we both speak (and sing) of God’s love and receive nourishment for life from his Word and encouragement from others in the face of a hostile, self-sufficient environment (Heb. 10:23-25).
As you worship with others today, allow yourself to be nourished by God’s love. Seek to encourage especially any experiencing great hostility.
Lord, my prayer is for strength when I become tired and for hope when others become discouraged. May I share a fresh vision of You with them.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.