There is a lot of practical, applicational value for us in this Psalm. How many are your foes? No matter what your situation in life is, you have many foes and they are constantly rising against you. First, most of us can think of very real and physical foes who wish to do us harm. Those foes are dangerous for sure and we must be willing to regularly come to the Lord with our concerns about them. But there is a kind of foe that is even more dangerous and sinister than these. And they are many. They are our spiritual foes wishing to do harm to our souls. Put on your spiritual lenses with me as we walk through this Psalm.
“O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
Right now, in this moment, you are under attack by numerous enemies of your soul. They are more dangerous than any physical enemy for many reasons, but I will mention four here. First, they are dangerous because they are not always obvious or tangible. Second, they are dangerous because they so often come disguised as friends. Third, they are dangerous because they are relentless. Fourth, they are dangerous because they impact our eternal welfare. These are the enemies under three respective categories: Satan, the world, and our own sinful nature. Pray for spiritual eyes and a sensitivity to what is going on around you and within you spiritually and you will be alarmed at how many your spiritual foes truly are! And their aim is the same as David’s enemies in this Psalm. They wish to rob you of your salvation in God. If you are lost, they wish to keep you that way and prevent the awakening of your soul. If you are saved, they wish to prevent you from experiencing the blessings, benefits, and power of your salvation. This is why Paul so clearly reminds us in Ephesians 6:10-20 that we are at war with the forces of darkness. As much as many of us would like to, we cannot float through this Christian life. The Christian mentality must be a wartime mentality because our foes are many and they are relentlessly rising up against us. So if our foes are so many and so dangerous then how do we have any hope against them?
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
You have only one hope against all of these enemies. Run to the Lord. Hide in Him. He is a shield that surrounds you. He is your glory. He is the lifter of your head. He is the Mighty One who listens from His holy hill and comes to the aid of those who call upon Him. Our battle cry ought to be, “All of God! None of me!” Many of us lose battle after spiritual battle because we are the ones doing the fighting. Let me burst your ego bubble. Your spiritual enemies laugh at all your efforts. But this is the good news. They tremble in fear at even the thought of God’s. Study your Bible like your life depends on it because it does. Hide every word of God in your heart that you can. His words are your weapons and are effective to pierce the enemy. Every time the enemies of your soul beckon you to look at yourself in pride (“You’re doing just fine. You’ve got this Christian stuff down.”) or in despair (“God could never accept you. Look at what you’ve done.”) let this be your response: “I will look to Christ. I will think of Him. He is my righteousness. He is the author and perfecter of my faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Pray as if the only hope you have for salvation is the intervention of God. That truly is our only hope and He has promised that He will save anyone who calls upon His name (Romans 10:13). We may be able to outsmart, overpower, and defeat physical enemies. The only hope we have against our spiritual enemies is God.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
This section is astonishing. If our spiritual enemies are indeed so great and many how can we even sleep at night? How can we rest knowing that God is our only hope? The answer is simple. He is faithful to His people. David says in the middle of this turmoil he slept. Why? Because the Lord sustained Him. He slept because the battle was not in his hands, but in God’s. No amount of waking hours would change the narrative for him. Only God’s action on his behalf could save him. So he slept, knowing that God’s faithfulness to His people ensured that God would sustain him. Running to the Lord as we mentioned before helps us to rest. It dispels the fear of all of our foes. If we are resting in Him we realize that we have nothing to fear. No matter what happens to us in this life, we have a sure place in Heaven and an eternal peace ahead of us. When we are sure that the Lord is sustaining our salvation not even death can threaten us. Therefore, we can sleep. We can rest. We can experience peace and joy in Christ even in the midst of all of the attacks.
“Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! Selah“
“Salvation belongs to the Lord!” That is the key line. We can work, strive, and strain all we want, but it is the Lord who saves. No one is ever saved because of their own efforts, but because of the movement of God. So we need to learn to pray David’s prayer often. “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!” Are you distressed? Let that be your prayer! Are you under attack? “Arise, O Lord!” Are you suffocating under the weight of all your spiritual foes? “Save me, O my God!” And after crying out with this plea, then rest. It is the Lord’s to save you. Stop striving. Salvation belongs to the Lord.