“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” This is the advice of the greatest Chinese war leader and military strategist, General Sun Tzu.
David, the shepherd, warrior, and king, also has something to tell us about war, oppression, and persecution. In this psalm he helped us to look at ourselves, and now he will move our eyes toward our enemies. He makes clear that we should LOOK AT OUR ENEMIES. He does that by helping us to look at our enemy’s actions.
David uses three figures to demonstrate their actions toward us.
A – Asphyxiation – “The Flood Waters”
This is what David wrote: “ when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive;  the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us,  the raging waters would have swept us away.”
The first figure that David uses to demonstrate the action of our enemies is the flood waters. The idea is to oppose in an overwhelming way, giving us a small room to breathe. He uses words such as, anger, swallowed, flood, engulfed, torrent, raging. They express violence to intimidate and force to subdue.
This is what happens with peer pressure. It is so powerful that the person cannot survive and stand up for what he/she believes. The enemy will come with such force that we will acquiesce and give in.
B – Separation – “The Sharp Teeth”
This is what David wrote: “ Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.”
David describes the second action of our enemies as sharp teeth. Those teeth, probably from wild animals have the ability to tear the flesh and rip them from the body. The application for us is about anything that produces separation in the body or division. The enemy will try to tear us apart, to create division among us so we will be weakened and easy to destroy.
C – Isolation – “The Fowler’s Snare”
This is what David wrote: “ We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.”
Finally, when the separation is done; the enemy will isolate us from each other. This is why we have the fowler’s snare here. The enemy will deal with us individually, and that will make his work much easier. When we are isolated from our brothers and sisters, the work of our enemy becomes attainable.
David knew that he needed a defender, because his enemies were coming against him with all stratagems and weapons at their disposal. The people who were traveling long distances to worship in Jerusalem also knew that they would encounter enemies along the way. With us it is similar. Every time that we decide to follow the Lord and serve Him we will face opposition.
We need to know their tactics and more importantly we need to know that we have a defender against them. We are not alone in this fight.
Have a blessed week,