Psalm 91 assures us that God is our protector. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him, for He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:2-4 NLT). Even before we knew Jesus Christ in a personal way as our Savior, most of us can site examples of God’s protection at precarious times in our lives.
In fact, as our Great Shepherd, the Lord so envelops us in safety that Psalm 23:5 declares You prepare a table (feast) for me in the presence of my enemies. Feasts are usually joyous occasions—lots of good food and merrymaking—like a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. How excited would you be if Adolf Hitler or Jack the Ripper sat across from you at such at gala?
It’s important to know who our real enemies are, because according to the Word of God, they are not people. Our real enemies are the demonic forces behind the people and situations that torment and harm us. Ephesians 6:12 says, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
In war, if soldiers cannot discern who their enemies are, they cannot fight effectively. Likewise, in life, if we cannot discern the forces of evil behind troubling situations--whether within families, friendships, churches, governments, or nations—our attempts to settle the matters will be ineffective, like a boxer beating the air. The Apostle Paul says, “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air,” (1 Corinthians 9:26 NIV).
Satan’s kingdom has an established rank and file, just as any military operation does. That is where our real enemies are found, not in the Adolf Hitlers and Jack the Rippers sitting at our table. Rick Renner, an excellent Hebrew/Greek scholar and teacher of the Word, brings definition to the four types of evil beings in the unseen world that are the power sources behind the evil that prevails in the world:
1. Principalities—from the Greek word archai, meaning ancient times. Principalities are evil beings that have held their power and authority in Satan’s kingdom since ancient times, probably since Satan’s fall.
2. Powers—from the Greek word exousia, denoting delegated authority. These evil beings are demonic spirits who have received delegated authority from Satan to carry out evil as they desire. They are second in command in Satan’s kingdom.
3. Rulers of the darkness of this world—from two Greek words that mean order or arrangement and raw power. Combined, the meaning is raw power that has been harnessed and arranged into some kind of order. Imagine a military training camp where young recruits are assembled and trained to become a mighty army. Satan orders demonic spirits like a military troop to accomplish his three-fold mission against humanity: steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
4. Spiritual wickedness in high places—from the Greek word poneros, meaning something that is bad, vile, malevolent, vicious, impious, and malignant. (Rick Renner, The Rank and File of Satan’s Kingdom).
When evil descends on us, we are wise to not beat the air aimlessly, but rather to ask the Lord, our Great Shepherd, who knows full well what enemies are sitting at our tables, to help us discern the evil beings behind problematic situations. The good news—actually, the GREAT news—is that the authority given to us by Jesus Christ, Himself, supersedes Satan’s authority to deal with these evil beings! With a word, we can silence them, just as He did, and peace can be restored. Sometimes, of course, the fight lasts longer than we’d like, but through our God, we shall do valiantly. It is He who will tread down our enemies (Psalm 60:12 NKJV)! Endurance is a requirement in the Lord’s army!
Let’s become skillful at discerning and dealing with our real enemies, so we can enjoy the feast the Lord has prepared for us, even if our enemies are right under our noses!