Who are God’s Enemies?

Reading through the Psalms I’m once again struck by the many references the psalmist makes to his enemies, and God’s. There are warring armies, threatening adversaries, and faithless friends, all of whom disturb the peace and create chaos. Who are they?

Our first clue is the serpent in the Garden, a talking serpent, no less, who not only does not startle Eve, but engages her, while Adam haplessly looks on. The conversation is more about God than the fruit (Genesis 3), and Eve believes the lie that God has withheld something good rather than protect from something bad.

Whatever you make of the serpent and the story, the question remains, in a Creation where everything was declared, “very good,” how could these two creatures made in God’s very image, be prompted to disobey Him? And why? Why, indeed? God is love.

The clues continue throughout the narrative, but the very first time the word normally translated “enemy” appears is Exodus 15:6 in Israel’s song of victory over Pharaoh’s pursuing army, now drowned:
“Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power.
Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.”

Israel’s enemy was God’s enemy, revealed as an enemy only after many warnings. We read the story in Exodus 1-14, where Moses had repeatedly asked Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Neither word nor miracles nor even massive plagues would soften his hardened heart.

This pattern holds throughout Scripture. People prove to be God’s enemies as they choose not to be His children. They show themselves to be God’s enemies by spurning His grace and turning their backs on His Word. They confirm themselves as God’s enemies by refusing the evidence for the Creator in the Creation. See Romans 1.

It’s true that each of us is born a sinner, but that is not the final word. Jesus has proven that we need not remain God’s enemies. Paul put it like this in Romans 5:8, 10 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . we were God’s enemies. . . reconciled to him through the death of His Son.”

In Jesus, God comes to earth, and turns toward us. Have you turned toward Him?

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:17, 18

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