Abuse, Accused, Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Devil, Distress, Encouragement, Enemies, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 

MICAH 5:9 

“Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be eliminated.” 

The title today is a saying I have heard all my life. Do you recognize it? Picture a tight squeeze that will not let up. You feel pressed from all sides. There is no relief. You do not know how much longer you can go on. Your body is crying out for the pressure to ease up. 

That is the word used here today for “adversaries.” In the Hebrew it means a tight squeeze. In other words, that is the feeling you get when you face adversaries. Of course, Micah tells the people here that their hands will be raised up against those adversaries and they will eliminate or destroy them. Whew! Relief! 

APPLICATION 

I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be of sober spirit, keep on the alert, for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” This adversary is relentless. He never gives up. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. He wants to destroy us. 

I was sharing with a dear brother recently that very fact. He was very aware of it and had been feeling the teeth of this ravaging spirit. Our defense? The Word of God, just like Jesus. We must answer the devil charge after charge with the Word. It is our Sword of the Spirit. 

Most days I am successful at warding off this adversary. I am prayed up and read up. But there are other days when I let my guard down for just a milli-second. In He swoops with fangs exposed going for my jugular. That Is why we all must be of sober spirit and on the alert. We do have victory over our adversaries when we are clinging to Jesus. 

O God, my Savior, I cling to You. I know only through You can I walk in victory each day. 

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Greed, Stealing

ROBE STEALER 

MICAH 2:8 

“‘Recently My people have arisen as an enemy—you strip the robe off the garment from unsuspecting passers-by, from those returned from war.’” 

Some people do not care about others at all. They will steal from them without any concern. When I worked at a children’s home once, we had a problem with people coming onto our campus on Sundays while we were all gone to church and stealing stuff from us. Stealing from a ministry caring for children is pretty low. 

Micah is telling them the Lord’s words about their thievery. They were even stealing the outer garments (which were used also at night for covering) from peaceable people. These people who were the victims were trying to walk with God and please Him. These thieves didn’t care. They saw the garment and took it. That’s why God is leveling His judgment against them. 

APPLICATION 

I am sure you have never done anything like that. If you have, I pray you will ask for forgiveness right now. That’s right – stop reading and get on your knees. God has not forgotten that sin, which was really against Him. You may have forgotten, but He has not. 

In fact, we read about this in Psalm 51. Verse 2 through 4a says, “2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight,” 

If those verses describe you, spend some extended time in prayer asking the God of the universe, who gave His only Son to die for you, to forgive you and cleanse you. I always feel better physically after a bath. A spiritual bath also makes us feel better. Try it. 

Thank You, Lord, for protecting me from those who would take from me from a callous heart. 

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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Abuse, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Encouragement, Scripture

VOMIT

JONAH 2:10

“Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.”

I don’t like to vomit. Excuse me for using a biblical word (lol). The disease I have has attacked my stomach and digestive system. Every two to three weeks, I have a bout of vomiting and upset stomach. My doctor says my gut just shuts down and has to “rest” to keep going. I hate it, but that’s my life.

Jonah, on the other hand, wasn’t vomiting. He WAS the vomit. That big ole fish just upchucked him onto dry land. Wow! I bet that changed some beach lovers’ lives. What would you have done if you had seen that? So, here is Jonah, lying in a puddle of fish vomit. Now what?

APPLICATION

Have you ever been puked on? Once, when our family was at a theme park, I got sick on a simulation ride. I puked everywhere. My kids were so embarrassed. But I didn’t do it on anybody. Luckily, I was sitting on the end of the row up front. But people do get vomited on, and I don’t mean physically.

Being mistreated and devalued is like being vomited on. The feeling of being treated unfairly or abusively are hard to shake. You feel like getting a shower to wash off the disgust. But this stuff doesn’t wash off easy. I have the secret ingredient. It is Jesus.

Before Christ we all feel “less than.” We believe we do not really matter. Our lives are not important. But when we come to Christ, He gives us our value. He tells us we matter. He sees us differently – glorified. There is no vomit here. Only love and mercy. Is that something you want? You can have it in Him.I

give You all the praise, Jesus, because You picked me up in my slimy mess, cleaned me off and called me Your child.

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Abuse, Anger, Bible, Bitterness, Choices, Courage, Disciplemaking, Forgiveness, God's Will, Modeling, Scripture

RETRIBUTION

OBADIAH 18

“‘Then the house of Jacob will be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau will be like stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,’ for the LORD has spoken.”

When you’ve been wronged, it is only natural to want to get “payback.” Our flesh demands it. We can’t wait to see those who have hurt us hurt themselves. I didn’t say that was right, only that our flesh leans that way. God calls us to a higher standard, a different response.

Esau has finally and completely been dealt with by God. He has made Jacob “a fire” and Joseph “a flame.” They will be rekindled, and life will emerge from death. Esau, on the other hand, will have “no survivor.” And those final words of today’s verse, “for the LORD has spoken,” says it all. Finality! Completion.

APPLICATION

Wait on the Lord and see the splendor of His handiwork. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. But it’s so hard to wait when you are the one suffering. I understand that. As I have mentioned many times in this blog, I worked for over 30 years in the child welfare field. I read stories of child abuse that angered me. I wanted those people punished for what they had done to an innocent child.

I quickly learned that I could not shoulder that burden. I was in no position to punish them. But I could extend the hand of Jesus to them. That was hard at first. I remember telling my staff that and encouraging them to do the same. It was amazing how much better the children responded to us when they saw us loving their parents.

I don’t which side of the fence you are on today – Jacob or Esau. It really doesn’t matter. Both sides need Jesus. Have you surrendered your heart and life to Him? Do that today. Lay down all your intentions on getting even. It’s not worth it and doesn’t satisfy. Only Jesus does.

I love You, Lord, and I lift You up. I praise You for all You have done and continue to do in my life.

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Abuse, Bible, Covenant, Faithfulness, Promises

A HOLY PLACE

OBADIAH 17

“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their property.”

Do you ever feel alone? Do you feel forgotten? I have heard of parents who forgot a child somewhere, only to discover they weren’t with them when they got home. That child could easily feel less valued. Perhaps they were thinking mom or dad didn’t want them anymore. All the situations I am personally aware of turned out okay and the kids were safe. But it can scare a kid.

Even after all the desecration and destruction that took place in Jerusalem, God says it will be holy. A remnant shall possess it. God did not forget about His holy nation. Yes, they rebelled against Him which justified their discipline and exile. But He did not forget about His covenant.

APPLICATION

God has not forgotten you. He loves you. Even when you feel alone, He’s still there. God often allows us to go through times like that to show us just how much He loves us. Perhaps you feel all your friends have left you. There is no one to help. God may be preserving you during this time to maintain a remnant.

Carl, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would God do that? Because God never breaks His covenant with His children. Did you know that? He hasn’t forgotten where you are. He needs you to remain faithful. You are the one He has chosen to remain. You are the seed of the promise.

I know I can rely on His promise. He has great plans for me. I know that. I believe that. My problem is me. I want what I want when I want it. That’s not how God works. He gives us what we need when we need it. He’s never late. He’s always on time. So, don’t fret if you feel alone. He’s got a plan.

Father, when I am all alone, You are there. You know exactly how I am feeling, and You love me through it.

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Abuse, Advocate, Bible, Compassion, Encouragement, Judgment, Mercy, Passion, Rescue

OUR PROTECTOR

AMOS 8:7

“The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob, ‘Indeed, I will never forget any of their deeds.’”

Growing up in my home in Southwest Georgia, I never doubted for a second that my dad had my back. I mean, he was my protector. My dad wasn’t the biggest man in town or the toughest. But my dad loved his family and would stop at nothing to protect it if necessary.

The Lord swears by Himself (the pride of Jacob) that He will protect the poor and needy. The previous few verses told of the injustices that were on these people. God says here that He would never forget what those people had done to them. He came to their defense.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. Who are you protecting? Do you look out for those less fortunate than you? Do you try to help those who come to you? Jesus tells us in Luke 6:30a, “Give to everyone who begs from you…” Have you done that lately? I have to confess that I haven’t.

God is always picking up the downtrodden. He lifts up the fallen. His heart is bent towards those who are struggling. So, He calls on us to be His hands and feet. He may call on you to deliver some much needed food to a widow. Or He may ask you to help a single mom with some childcare needs.

Just be willing to do whatever He asks you to do. Don’t be like the Israelites who looked over or took advantage of the ones who were hurting in their midst. I bet you those are the first ones Jesus would go to if He were here. Don’t you?

Forgive me, Lord, for looking over those in need. Help me see their need and do whatever I can to help.

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Abuse, Apologies, Bible, Conceit, Condemnation, Guilt, Judgment

FLIP FLOPS

AMOS 8:6

“So as to buy the helpless for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

I remember getting my first pair of flip flops. You know those shoes that just have a place that fits between your big toe and your second toe and is usually made of rubber. I loved those flip flops. I loved the way they sounded when you walked in them. That distinctive flip flop, flip flop could be heard all around. One thing about those shoes, though. The cheap rubber ones didn’t last very long. They weren’t worth very much.

I don’t know why, but that’s the image I got when I read this verse today. The rich and powerful people in Israel were treating the poor and needy like a cheap pair of flip flops. Use them and them throw them away. They looked down on them and really abused them. This was another reason God was judging them.

APPLICATION

I pray you would never treat someone like a cheap pair of flip flops. It’s demeaning and cruel. But people do it all the time. Even people in the church can be guilty of this. People in positions of power can take advantage of those who serve under them. Instead of shepherding them, they abuse them.

We need to see everyone through God’s eyes. He sent His Son to die for every single person we encounter. There is not a soul on planet earth who wasn’t the object of God’s love when Jesus came to save us. If God values them that much, shouldn’t we do the same.

The older I get the more I see the sins of my life. I have been guilty of looking down on others. It may be in jest to begin with, but it can rapidly become a serious thing. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for those actions in the past. Will you do the same? Ask Him to reveal your sins to you. He will and then make them right.

O Lord, my God! I beg Your forgiveness for every belittling one of Your creations. Help me see others as You see them.

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