Down, but Not Out

Since my youth they have often attacked me, but they have not prevailed against me.Psalm 129:2

The opening verses of this psalm spell out the simple but powerful message that though the world has always harassed the people of God, the world will never win. “Since my youth they have often attacked me,” says the psalmist, “but they have not prevailed against me.” The man or woman who clings closely to God outlasts all oppressors. He or she is provided with an inner fortitude that is enduring. Perseverance, patience, stickablity—this then is the message of Psalm 129.

There is no better way of seeing the persistency of faith than by setting it in the context of history. God’s people have been ostracized, ridiculed, humiliated, scorned, persecuted, and beaten, but in the midst of the most horrific trials they have continued to serve God. If the persistence that flows from faith was merely a fad, then we would not be talking about it now.

Faith—persistent faith, that is—is not a fad; it is a fact. It runs like a thread throughout all history and is shared by the men and women of every generation. Those who think of the Christian faith as a plant that flourishes only in good weather ought to take a look at history.

Faith is a hardy perennial that survives all weather conditions—drought, storm, even floods. J. B. Phillips, in his brilliant paraphrase of the New Testament, sums it up admirably: “We may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!” (2Co 4:9). A preacher friend of mine puts it equally well when he says: “We may be floored but we are not flattened.”

Prayer

Gracious Father, help me see that my perseverance is not so much a matter of my persevering but Your persevering in me. I supply the willingness; You supply the power. Together we will make it, You and I. All glory be to Your wonderful name. Amen.

Further Study

Jms 1:1-27; 5:1-11; Gl 6:9; Heb 12:1

What is Paul’s exhortation?

What will enable us to persevere?


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