Sunday, March 25, 2012

Friendly Foe

Friendly Foe
March 26, 2012
Proverbs 16:7 "When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them."

We all have enemies, some more than others. It is impossible to be friends with everyone in the world and there is bound to be at least one individual who just cannot stand you. In fact, as you read this, you can probably think of a few people who don't like you for one reason or another. They may even be bent on seeing your demise, wanting you to fail in life or falter to their advantage. This is most likely out of your control, and no amount of effort will cause them to like you. It is an inevitable situation without recourse.

If you genuinely like people, this may be very frustrating, especially if you work very hard to be likable. The Bible gives an antidote for those who have enemies. It says you should simply live a Godly life, then leave the rest up to Him. It doesn't say you should try to force your enemies to love you. It doesn't say you should work hard to be more likable. It doesn't even say you should change who you are. It simply says you should please the Lord with all your actions and He will take care of the rest.

Don't be fooled, however, into thinking your enemies will turn around and become your friends. Scripture says that if your ways are pleasing to the Lord then He will make your enemies at peace with you. This means they cannot attack you to harm you. It does not mean, or even hint, that they will eventually be your friends. It simply means they cannot be actively at war with you. I'm reminded of the prophet Daniel and his famous story of being thrown into a den of lions. Daniel didn't do anything wrong; in fact, he was one of the most Godly men alive. Yet Daniel had enemies, lots of them. His enemies even plotted against him, tricking the king into throwing Daniel to the lions.

The lions were not Daniel's friends either, they wanted to eat him. However, Daniel's ways were pleasing to the Lord and He put the lions at peace with Daniel in the den. When Daniel was rescued from the mouths of the lions, it is doubtful the men who put him there became his friends. In fact, I'm sure they hated him all the more, but they could not harm him; the Lord did not allow it.

Think of a barking dog caged behind a fence. The dog may have the desire to attack you and its bark might suggest its motive, but the fence is keeping you at peace from its attack. The Lord is that fence for you from your enemies, keeping them from waging war against you. Your enemies will always exist, but their bark will be far worse than their bite. In fact, Daniel's enemies were eventually eaten by those same lions in that famous den.

Furthermore, there is that prerequisite in gaining the Lord's protection from your enemies. Your ways must be pleasing to Him. If you read this particular Scripture in Proverbs 16:7, promising that the Lord will calm your enemies, it is surrounded by other verses describing how your ways musy be pleasing to the Lord. It uses words like honor and integrity, pureness and justice, humility and love. If you don't have those attribute present in your life, don't be shocked when your enemies wage war.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Proverbs 16, Proverbs 25:22, Daniel 6, Luke 6:27 & 35

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