In his book, 21 SECONDS TO CHANGE THE WORLD, Dr. Mark Rutland makes the following statement: “I will (not might) have enemies.”
He continues by saying,
“This last assumption is probably the most painful to learn. When I was young, and I believe many young folks feel this way, I thought that if I was a nice person I would not have enemies. Now I see that nothing you can do can keep someone else from deciding that they are your enemy. You may indeed make enemies with your own actions, but you are likely to have enemies regardless of how nice or good or generous or anything you are. It is so hard for those who desire to be no one’s enemy to realize that they themselves have enemies not of their own making. On the other hand, it is a joy to realize that though I may be surrounded by enemies, I am not abandoned. Even in their mocking presence, I am loved, guarded, and provided for by my Father and Shepherd…
It is dangerous naivete to think that because you are a decent, God-fearing person who tries to be friendly and fair to everyone, you will have no enemies. Psalm 23 assumes the presence of enemies, not the absence of enemies. Just like Mordecai, you have enemies. And just like Haman, they feel justified, even righteous in their every attempt to bring you down. Haman justified his efforts to destroy Mordecai by wrapping it in the claim that it would be good for Xerxes and his kingdom. You have enemies who assume your destruction might even be good for God and His kingdom. When my soul most needed restoration, I was shocked to discover that some did not want me healed, but instead wanted me strung up.
As in the case of Haman and Mordecai, God will also care for you miraculously. At one point, Mordecai’s archenemy, Haman, must lead Mordecai through the streets of the capital, proclaiming the kings favor on the hated Jew. Finally, of course, Esther is used by God to foil the murderous plot, and Haman himself is hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai.
We can rest in the knowledge that God will protect us and give us victory over those who hate us without cause.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
I might paraphrase this line from Psalm 23 in this way: “He puts food on the table for me and makes my enemies stand around and watch while I eat.” That puts a whimisical little touch of gloating on the verse. Not enough to be sinful, I think, but enough to be fun in the face of adversity. Yes, there are enemies around me, some of whom I do not even realize are enemies. I will not worry that they are watching me. I rejoice for them to see how extravagantly God takes care of me.” (published Bethany House, 2016)
To be hated without cause is very painful indeed. Nevertheless, we must set our faces like flint and finish the work God has called us to do.