Home > Scripture Reflections, Spirituality > Enemies of the soul

Enemies of the soul


Harmless sins by Duncan Long (used with permission)

In reflecting further on Psalm 18, I expect most of you are like me–likely no one is trying to kill you, rob you, or threatening your life.  But that does not mean that we have no enemies.  In addition to spiritual forces in the heavenly places (see Ephesians 6), I can identify a number of enemies of my soul.  And because of the integrated nature of personhood, a threat to my soul or to my heart (to use both biblical imagery and reflecting on Eldredge’s book) is a threat to my well-being, my shalom, my life.

The enemies and enemies in Psalm 18 are real. Look at the verbs in 18:4 and 5–encompassed, assailed, entangled and confronted!  Looking at these verbs reveals the following:

  • cords of death encompassed me.  The word ‘apaq “is used exclusively in poignant descriptions of crisis, in a prayerful lament to move God to intervene (Ps 40:12 [13]), and in thanksgiving songs, looking back to the crisis with the intent of enhancing God’s gift of deliverance (2 Sam 22:5; Ps 18:4 [5]; 116:3; Jon 2:5 [6]). It serves to convey the idea of intense suffering.”
  • torrents of destruction assailed me The word ba’at predominantly expresses the terror of a lesser individual who stands in the presence of a greater individual; terror or horror is involved here. Life threatening situations are involved
  • cords of Sheol entangled me Sabab is used in hostile or military settings
  • snares of death confronted me

Who or what threatens my life.  Not intending to be paranoid, but a few enemies that periodically threaten me:

  • cynicism
  • negativity
  • critical spirit
  • self-preoccupation
  • self-pity
  • fear of men
  • irrational fears
  • unresolved conflicts
  • unforgiveness
  • guilt
  • shame

How about you? From where do your enemies arise?

Next question–do I want to be saved from my enemies? This is not a silly question.  Remember Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Do you want to be made well?  Jesus asked this question to both the disciples (Mark 10:36) and the blind man in Mark 10:51.

And if we do want to be saved, if we are needing relief, what then do we do?

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