Does Psalm 144 Contain a Unique Strategy for Stopping Riots?

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As is often the case, when I read a Psalm, I find that the words relate to a situation that concerns me. As I recently read Psalm 144, I found a verse that seemed to refer to looting and shouting in the streets. It grabbed my attention, so I wondered if it offered solutions to the riots that have been happening around the USA and in other parts of the world.

… that there be no breaking in or going out…That there be no outcry in our streets (Psalm 144:14b)

This made me look more closely at the chapter to see if it offered keys to bring a stop to looting and angry cries.

We Live in Distressing Times.

We watched in anguish the killing of George Floyd by police officers. Along with millions of others, my heart, was disturbed and broken. I know that this has especially distressed my friends of color, for it is a stark reminder to them of times when they and others they know have been mistreated.

People are taking to the streets with shouting, accusations, and demands. Their anger toward racial discrimination, mistreatment, and unfair treatment in the criminal justice system is understandable.

However, in many cases these demonstrations have resulted in mounting anger, violence, and rioting. Obscenities are being shouted. Many police officers have been shot or have had objects thrown at them.. Businesses have been vandalized and looted.

Much of the looting has happened in low income neighborhoods and has hurt and even closed businesses which were hoping to recover as quarantines from COVID-19 are lifted. The loss of these businesses will likely lead to even more poverty in these neighborhoods.

Sometimes it’s hard to find words to convey and express grief and concern about all this without entering into words of anger. Those of us who know and follow Jesus must express caring and concern, while giving a listening ear to those who are dealing with raw emotions.

In our distress, we are looking for answers.

What Is The Solution?

As I have been crying out to God to heal our land and bring peace to our streets, I have wondered how we can see changes in a nation that is so torn apart right now.

I realize that many want to take extreme measures in a physical and political sense. But the true solution to evil in the world is for hearts to soften and change. Psalm 144 reveals a process that happens supernaturally – not by man-made means.

Spiritual Warfare

The Psalm begins by saying that God trains us for war. This training is for spiritual warfare. In the New Testament, we are shown that we are in a spiritual war that can’t be won by fighting and opposing people. We are fighting against unseen powers of darkness which do their best to influence people and nations.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)

We fight an ongoing spiritual battle through prayer, speaking God’s Word, and binding and breaking the power of these demonic spirits. Only God can train us for this warfare. We can’t fight it in our own strength, but find victory through the power of the blood of Jesus.

In any war there are times in which the warriors need protection and rest. In Psalm 144:2 we are told that God Himself is our fortress, high tower, deliverer, and shield. We run to Him for strength, protection, and His leadership.

Prayer for Deliverance from Lying Words

Prayer, in the name of Jesus, is a powerful weapon against the attempts of the enemy to put divisions and hatred between individuals and groups of people.

A prayer in the middle of Psalm 144 gives insight into one important thing that we should pray for. It is a direct prayer for deliverance from deceivers and liars who are not of God’s kingdom. Satan is the father of lies, so it makes sense that he influences people to lie and to believe lies.

As we listen to those in the news media and to politicians, it is easy to be deceived. It’s hard to know who or what to believe, for leaders and journalists use persuasive words to sway us in the direction they want us to go.

Therefore it is important to seek God to make clear to us what is true and what is false. In my own prayers, I also ask God to remove the veil of deceit that blinds us and others to truth, and that He will reveal truth in our society. As He shines His light into our nation, He can make the truth come out, regardless of how much people try to hide it.

Numbers 32:23 warns, “Be sure, your sin will find you out.”

Praying for truth to be revealed is an important part of our spiritual warfare. I have found that when I try to question lies that people believe, my words to them do not cause them to change or to see the light. It is only the power of God working in them that will reveal this. My prayers for them are more important than my words to those who are deceived.

I must do this with a spirit of self examination as well, asking God to show me if I am believing something that is not true and is not from Him.

Praise and Worship Bring Change.

Psalm 144:9-10 shows us another important factor in doing spiritual battle. To the natural mind, spending time in praise and worship doesn’t seem to have anything to do with seeing changes in society or seeing riots stop. But God’s ways are not something we fathom with our natural minds. We can only understand His ways through the Holy Spirit living in us and revealing them.

These verses reveal that lifting our voices and musical instruments in praise to the Lord brought protection to David, the writer of this Psalm. It also brings us into to blessings of God.

True worship is more than just making music. It is lifting our spirits to God and allowing Him to work in us as we worship. In a way that we can’t quite comprehend, the work that He does within us, as we worship, flows out to others. And it brings changes even into our communities and nation.

Our praises change the spiritual atmosphere. Thirty or forty minutes of worship time once a week at church may not be enough to bring huge changes. We need to regularly spend time in personal worship and in group worship. The more we praise and worship Jesus, the more we will see God do.

We Receive Blessings Through Spiritual Warfare and Worship.

By entering into the spiritual war through prayer, proclaiming God’s Word, by running to God, and through worship, we enter into His blessings. The rest of this Psalm lets us know that abundance is the reward. Jesus said He wants to give us an abundant life.

The abundant blessings mentioned in Psalm 144 are these:

  • Prosperity
  • Seeing our children being blessed
  • Living without fear of looters coming into our homes
  • Having peaceful streets.

The Psalm concludes with a simple, but profound statement in verse 15:

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

It seems to me that this Psalm is saying that believers doing spiritual warfare, praying for truth to be revealed, and truly worshiping, reap a harvest of blessings from God, including peace and happiness.

This was posted by Karen Roberts’ Daily-devotionals.com on June 8, 2020.

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