Cover to Cover
Paul and the men on the boat landed on an island called Malta. While on Malta, and while a prisoner, Paul ministers. Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake, and the natives of the island expected his immediate death, but Paul shook off the snake into the fire with no physical reaction to the poison.
Sometimes in life there are some poisonous things we need to shake off. Offenses can either be picked up, or we can shake them off. Worry can keep us up at night, or we can shake it off. Depression can try to keep us down, or we can shake it off. Temptation can try to attach itself to us, or we can shake it off. Attacks from human or Satanic sources can try to take us out, or we can shake it off. Doubt can try to creep into our hearts, or we can shake it off. Hurts and self-pity can try to stick to us, or we can shake it off! Come on, now, that will preach! Shake it off! We are overcomers!
Then Paul laid his hands on a sick man and healed him. The laying on of hands is a way for the anointing, or power of God, to be transferred from a minister to the person in need. It’s a point of contact. When the people saw what Paul had done, of course they ran to get their sick loved ones. Everyone brought to Paul on Malta was healed. How wonderful when every person receives their healing! What a demonstration of God’s love!
Then the journey to Rome continues, and along the way, Paul is greeted by Christians and stays with them. Then in another place, Christians come to visit Paul and encourage him. It is a truth that Christians can lift up the spirits of one another, thus, making it very important that we do not neglect gathering together in groups or for church services. We don’t just go to be blessed, but to be a blessing, amen?
Psalms 56-60, as well as Psalm 16, are called Michtam psalms. The Hebrew meaning of a Michtam is not clear, but they do seem to refer to deliverance from death (see also Isaiah 38:9-20). Psalm 56 was written when the Philistines captured him in Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
Psalm 56:5 says, “All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.” Has anyone ever intentionally or unintentionally twisted your words to make it sound like you meant something other than what you meant to say? Why would someone unintentionally twist your words? Some people have become dysfunctional based on their own past hurts and trauma, poor upbringing or development, anger and bitterness, or mental illness. Their perspective is distorted. If that person is open to understanding, the goal would be to win that person in truth and love. If the person is closed to understanding, there isn’t much that can be done. Intentional twisting is a malicious and hateful attempt to damage you or destroy you. Some want to categorize you as a horrible person to make themselves feel superior or more righteousness, so they tear you down.
Verse 6 says that they gather together, they hide, they mark my steps, they lay in wait. It’s one thing for one person to attack; it’s another for enemies to come together for the common purpose of attacking someone. One reason why enemies gather together is to make themselves more credible to others who support their enemy. Another reason is to make themselves more powerful. They often wait to catch you in something you say or do that they can use against you. This happened to us when someone in our church wanted to be promoted to a staff position, and we asked them to finish their training first. They were offended that we would not give them a leadership position right away, so they twisted our words and rallied as many people against us as they could. It was put on social media, and we lost several families in our church because of it. As shepherds, when someone attacks our sheep, we care. It hurt us personally, which is what the offended person wanted to do; only, the one they really hurt was Christ and His kingdom. My husband, the Lead Pastor, instructed me and our team not to retaliate, so we didn’t. Instead, we prayed, put our trust in the Lord, and He moved us forward. Our accusers, on the other hand, scattered and disappeared, some suffering sickness and loss. The Bible is true. God will protect those who reverently serve Him.
Verse 8 says, “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Does God keep a record, whether literally or figuratively? See Exodus 32:32, Malachi 3:16, and Luke 10:20. Let’s be sure that God takes notice of everything we do and say, whether other people have heard us or not. God once gave me a song about someone in church leadership, saying, “You think no one heard; you think no one knows, but in the middle of the room was the Holy Ghost!” I’ve had to learn to trust God when He decides to remove someone from my life or ministry. He has often shown me how displeased He is with someone’s attitude, thoughts, words, or behaviors that come against HIS local church or HIS church leadership. God is a God of love and authority, and we don’t want to find ourselves opposing GOD when we think we’re simply opposing a person or a church family. I’m glad God is merciful, and He gives us time to line up with Him; however, if we repeatedly come against something or someone God has blessed, that person may just reap what he or she has sown. I do believe if someone genuinely repents, God will forgive. He may even restore. What a merciful God!
Verse 13 asks, “Have YOU not kept my feet from falling?” None of us are perfect, and none of us has the ability to always save ourselves out of trouble; however, GOD is perfect and GOD has all the strength and skill to preserve us when the enemy attacks. Sometimes people are our enemy, and they are people we are told to love, pray for, and bless. We also should pray and ask God for wisdom on how to deal with human opposition and help to overcome it. Sometimes there is a Satanic enemy working through the people that surround us. We should submit to God, resist the devil, and expect him to flee. Our place is to fulfill what God has called us to do.
Psalm 57 is a Michtam, where David writes for God to rescue him from Saul when he fled intoa cave (1 Samuel 22:1). In verse 2, David says, “I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me.” The Hebrew word for perform means “to perfect or finish.” David was appointed and anointed to be king, and he trusted God to complete that work.
Psalm 58 is also a Michtam of David concerning his enemies and justice. In verse 5, David talks about not heeding the voice of charmers, charming ever so skillfully. Some people have a charisma that can win people over, or persuade them. When used by a dominating person for the wrong purpose, that charisma gift can be used improperly. Charm can be hypnotic, not in the sense of being put in a hypnotic state, but in the sense of persuasion or even coercing. The word hypnotize has more than one meaning, and one is, “to charm into another way of thinking.” Charisma can be deceptive, causing a person to do something they wouldn’t normally do. To hypnotize also means, “To influence, control, or direct completely, as by personal charm, words, or domination.” For example, the speaker hypnotized the audience with his powerful personality. Another meaning is, “to frighten or startle so movement is impossible.” Charm can become harassment or even abuse. Many cult leaders are said to have charisma that has been used to completely fool even the most intelligent of people.
Instead of an attitude that says, “I can do this on my own!” we see David asking for God to help him. This is faith! Every person of faith can find encouragement to rely on God in times of trouble, especially when we are living in obedience and fulfilling HIS purpose for our lives. He is faithful! He is true!