Answering the Enemy

Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise;
then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word.

Psalm 119:41-42

With what weapon shall I fight the enemy who taunts me? How shall I fight the accuser of my soul who barrages me with reminders of my sin and unrighteousness? How will I survive the onslaught of self-condemnation my flesh pours out? How can I resist idolizing the world’s good gifts which promise my soul’s satisfaction? The world, the flesh, and the devil collaborate to convince me that the love of God for “such a worm as I” is incredulous.

The psalmist suggests that I mount a cruciform counterattack. Fight back with the cross. The steadfast love of God comes to me as I trust His promise of salvation (vs. 41). Yes, I sin and fall short of the righteous requirement of His royal Law. Yes, such sin and rebellion deserve the wrath of God much less the condemnation I inflict upon myself. Yes, I am too quick to make gods out of God’s good gifts. But, knowing all of that about me, my gracious God promised that He would wash away all my unrighteousness, put His own Spirit in me, and cause me to delight to love Him and others. He promised to save me from His wrath and from myself. He promised that I would enjoy an unfailing relationship of love with Him (Ezekiel 36:25-28).

This promise, called the New Covenant, finds its fulfillment in the gospel, the “word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We celebrate and remember this promise every time we drink from the cup of “the New Covenant in [His] blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25; Luke 22:20). Remembering that promise, trusting that word from God, arms me with an answer for the enemy who taunts me (vs. 42). The gospel is my weapon against the world, the flesh, and the devil. The psalmist would agree with Robert Murray M’Cheynne who said that “for every look at self, take ten looks at the cross.” Touché! Take that, taunter!

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