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Seeds of the Kingdom

In the Presence of the Enemy

by Paul Griffin

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.’
Psalm 23:5, NIV

Have you experienced one of those moments when a sentence or phrase in the Bible jumps out at you? You suddenly see something you don’t ever remember ever seeing before or you understand a spiritual truth in a new way. It happened to me recently when reading the well known and familiar Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 talks about the faithfulness of the Lord and how, like a good shepherd, He is able to guide and help us through all of life’s circumstances. The phrase that suddenly jumped out was the phrase ‘in the presence of my enemies’ followed immediately by the sentence ‘You anoint my head with oil’. In the old Testament anointing with oil was symbolic of something or someone being set apart for the purposes of God. When applied to individuals, notably kings or prophets, anointing symbolically represented that they were being given power and authority. Such was the significance of the anointing that David refused to attack King Saul, even though his life was being threatened (2 Samuel 24). When Queen Elizabeth was being enthroned some sixty-five years ago, anointing her with oil was considered the most sacred and important part of the coronation service.

What a picture the psalmist paints! God picks us out and anoints us with His authority and His power. He doesn’t do this in a secret place but in the sight and presence of our enemies. God leaves the enemy in no doubt that we have the authority of God bestowed upon us. It reminds me of Jesus’ words to his disciples, ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy’ (Luke 10:19).

If you are facing difficult situations, or if you are feeling oppressed and under attack, do not allow the enemy to control you with fear. Remind yourself that God has delegated His power and authority to you. And remember also that the enemy knows this fact.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You won the victory over Satan at the cross. Please help me to remember that You have delegated Your power and authority to me, and help me to exercise this power and authority to resist and overcome any work of the enemy directed against me. Amen.

Paul Griffin Paul spent 20 years working as a chemical engineer for an oil company in South Africa, the Middle East and Japan prior to going to Bible College. Paul and his wife Liz have been involved with Ellel since 1991 and are associate teachers as well as being authors of the books ‘Anger …How do you Handle it?’ and ‘Hope and Healing for the Abused.’


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