Prayer Vanquishing Enemies
William Nicholson, 1862
"When I cry unto you, then shall my enemies turn back; this I know, for God is for me." Psalm 56:9
In the time of danger, it is a great privilege to have a refuge. David had this, and so have all true Christians. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1
The Psalm from which the text is taken was written by David when, pursued by Saul, he took refuge among the Philistines. See 1 Samuel 27:1, etc. Then he prayed to God, and was delivered.
I. This Prayer Implies the Existence of Conflict.
David had powerful enemies; he was pursued from place to place by his adversaries.
The Christian too has many enemies . . .
his own heart,
his adverse circumstances,
the world, with its smiles and its frowns,
Satan, an inveterate foe, etc.
These hunt after his precious soul! Ephesians 6:11-13
II. This Prayer Supposes Helplessness.
What is man without Divine aid? Nothing. "Without me you can do nothing." All godly men have found this to be true. David, in this instance, found himself unable to overcome, unless God undertook for him. The enemies which the Christian has to fight are numerous, potent, and subtle; and he is perfect weakness.
III. This Prayer Implies a Conviction That There Is All Needful Help in God.
Hence he is called a refuge, a fortress, a shield, a tower of defense, and a very present help in time of trouble. He says, "My grace is sufficient for you." Consider what deliverances he has wrought — how many through him have conquered — what promises he has made — and that his power, and love, and immutability, are all engaged for the salvation of his people!
"Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places." Deuteronomy 33:29
IV. This Prayer Is an Application to God for Help.
"I cry unto you." As in a new-born infant, the first effort of life is crying — so in a new-born soul it is prayer. Hence the dangers are stated to God — the troubles and needs are poured into his ear. "Call upon me in the day of trouble," etc. I cannot deliver myself — you must help me. "Strengthen me with all might," etc. Make me a conqueror, etc.
This cry, we must consider as secret, earnest, constant, and connected with confidence.
V. This Prayer Was Successful.
"Then shall my enemies turn back." This is expected from immutable promises. "No weapon formed against you will stand." Isaiah 54:17. "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation." 2 Peter 3:9. "If God is for us — then who can be against us?" etc.
Pleading the promises in the name of Christ will be successful. When Moses interceded for Israel, he pleaded the promise and faithfulness of God, and the prayer of faith was answered, Exodus 32:10-14. When Solomon prayed for the people of Israel, his plea was founded on the covenant of promise, and his prayer was answered, 1 Kings 8:25. Hezekiah did the same, and was successful, Isaiah 37:14. The Apostles pleaded in the name of Jesus, Acts 4:30; and this must be all our plea.
God will cause our pursuing enemies to turn back, for can they fight with Omnipotence? Or he will give unto us grace, Divine armor — to enable us to stand and conquer in the evil day.
David was fully persuaded of success: "This, I know; for God is for me." He looked back, and considered what God had done — how his providence had guided and guarded him — how frequently he had delivered him — and he was the same God still.
Just so, God is for his people with all his attributes. He is their father, and he will protect and deliver his children. Not a hair of their heads shall perish. "He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye." God is for them, and constantly with them, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5. "My presence shall go with you!" "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!" Isaiah 41:10. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!" Matthew 28:20
1. How great the privilege of having a saving interest in the Divine favor!
2. How exposed and wretched is the lost sinner!