After hearing heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story of people from El Salvador who have lost friends and family members to the vicious gang violence, I realized that many Salvadorians are hopeless as they feel like they can’t trust the people in their own communities or government that have made backhanded deals with these gangs or used them in their 12 year civil war a short 25 years ago. However it’s not just El Salvador where people don’t feel safe and believe that there are many enemies going against them.
Afghanistan is still ravaged by the Taliban while the heroin trade grows in the most dangerous country in the world. El Salvador’s neighboring countries Guatemala and Honduras are plagued by the drug-trafficking industry along with Mexico who has been known for their corruption with police and government. Many Middle Eastern and African countries are controlled by Islamic Extremist governments where they persecute and kill anyone who goes against their beliefs. The United States of America doesn’t compare to some of the fears people have in those mentioned countries but we’d be ignorant to ignore people’s concerns of terrorism, violence in many inner cities and a general distrust and disdain for government and authority on both sides of the political spectrum.
I mention this because Psalm 76 is a beautiful picture and encouraging reminder of God’s ultimate power and victory over the injustices of the world. The Israelites were just as fearful for their enemies but God broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war (v. 3). He stripped their enemies’ spoil and they were unable to use their hands for the purposes of war (v. 5). It’s the One True God who cuts off the spirit of princes and is to be feared over the oppressive authorities on this earth (v. 12). Christians of all nations, cultures and languages can be under heavy persecution on this earth but our fear is in the Lord, not those who can kill the body but not the spirit (Matthew 10:28).
Those who sinfully produce that fear in others now will ultimately fear the God who is just and will pour out his wrath on such injustices. By God’s grace that fear of the Lord will come to those who cause that fear in others now as they recognize their sin and God’s judgment for that sin. This is the type of fear that leads to wisdom as they repent of their sin and have faith in Christ, the saving grace for that judgment and wrath.
So the next time that you are discouraged by the oppression in today’s world, be reminded God’s got this. He has righteous power and authority over all unrighteous powers and authorities and His justice will be displayed in judgment or salvation with them.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor