Onward, Christian Soldiers!

11 Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 13 They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. —Psalm 22:11-15

This section presents a very graphic picture, prophesied by King David, of some of what Christ went through as He hung on the cross. Jesus endured horrific suffering during those hours. “Poured out like water” predicts the blood and water that flowed from His pierced side. The heart “melted like wax” describes the emotional draining of life that David felt and that Jesus physically endured. Jesus’ mouth was so dry that His tongue literally stuck to His jaws when on the brink of death. In John 19:28 we are told that He cried out, “I thirst.”

The imagery in this psalm is very graphic, even if poetically presented. And beneath it we see that just as David’s life was spent surrounded by enemies, difficulties, discouragement, and heartbreak, so it was with Jesus’ life. But it was necessary! And we need to realize this: Our own mission in life is to save God’s enemies!

Reading the words in this psalm, we can sense the aching emotions behind them. We, too, will experience many of these same feelings, but the purpose has been changed. David’s role was to fight and defeat his enemies. Ours is to love and rescue them from death. Jesus himself, as He hung on that cross, cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:33-34). One of the men being crucified beside Him, hearing His words and seeing His manner, believed in Him as God, and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus assured the man that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:42-43).

Romans 5:10 says that before coming to Christ, we were “enemies of God.” Whom did Christ come into the world to save? His enemies! And now we are to be of the same mind as Jesus. In fact, 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that “we have the mind of Christ” already! So we need to squelch our natural human tendency to run away in self-preservation and instead seek to infiltrate the enemy’s camp with the love of Christ.

Remember, our enemy is Satan, and he is doing his best to deceive and draw to himself as many as he can before it’s too late. Our only real mission in life is to save as many of God’s enemies as possible. Putting on the armor of God, and in the power of His might, we can. The battle belongs to the Lord! (1 Sam 17:47; 2 Chr 20:15).

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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