Allowing the Enemy Prepare us for Growth
Verse 3 Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long.
We spend another day talking about the pain of dealing with our enemies, as we try to understand why God would allow us to go through these struggles.
The imagery has changed from merely being enslaved and oppressed to veer into the place of being beaten and tortured. One would never willingly subject themselves to being injured but if we were to slow down to observe how God could be using this event, we may be surprised at what God could be doing in and through us.
The very thought of having a blade being dragged through our back is unpleasant. The back is a very important of our body. It holds the pathway of our nervous system and supports us to remain upright. Its strength allows us to carry, push, pull and reach. Our back is essential to our very being and therefore it is understandable that it is used in this psalm as the place attacked by the enemy.
Plows are not like whips. While whips can do great damage on the flesh the psalmist was purposeful in using something that goes deep and does more than merely scratch the outermost part of the back. The psalmist wanted to make sure that it was understood just how much pain was being inflicted. He didn’t want his readers to think that this was bearable in any form. It was important for those singing this journey song to remember that serving God didn’t mean a life of complete ease.
As they traveled to worship in Jerusalem it was important for them to remember that it wasn’t without purpose that they endured the pain from their enemies. Many of the people understood how plows worked as they were coming to the city from the countryside. They understood that the plow wasn’t used aimlessly. It was used to prepare the ground for planting. Knowing the faithfulness of the Lord, singing these words would have been able to guide their thoughts to thinking about how He may desire to use their pain for His good. When there is pain in our lives it could be that God is preparing us for some new growth. He is always faithful and our enemies will never have the last say.
Making It Personal
When have you felt ripped to the core of your being by an enemy? How has God used that to grow you to be more like Him? Have you thanked Him for this work in your life?
Making It Personal Kids
Why would Jesus allow you to be hurt by others? How could He grow you if you are hurting? What hurt can you thank Jesus for today?
Father, forgive us for complaining about the pain we suffer. Help us look to You to see how You could be using it to make us more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.