The recent months have seen several racial attacks in America comprehensively covered in the new media. The harassment includes black children in Philadelphia who were not allowed to swim at a primarily white country club after being invited. Reports of the incident state that racial slurs were hurled at the children by parents of white children at the pool.
Another attack occurred in Missouri where a black teenager was set on fire by two white classmates. Ironically, it is now the black teenager who has been charged with assault for an earlier altercation with one of the teenage relatives of the white kids who set him on fire. Even First Lady Michelle Obama was compared to a gorilla by the former chairman of the South Carolina Election Commission.
It is truly heartbreaking that at a time when a black man can be elected President, a black man can be appointed Attorney General, and a black woman can be nominated Surgeon General that African Americans of any station are still victims of verbal and physical attacks solely because of their race.
As we know, the persecution of people of African descent in the United States of America is as old as the country itself. But, how long do African Americans have to wait for the persecution to end? And, what does God want African American do to while they are being persecuted?
David calls out to God in Psalm 143 when he is being persecuted. Davis reveals his innermost feeling about the persecution to God. Many times when persecuted, African Americans feel the same way. In this Psalm, we find how the one after God’s own heart responds to persecution.
A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues (persecutes) me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
We find in this Psalm that David’s enemy tried to destroy him. The enemy kept going after David relentlessly. David’s spirit became overwhelmed and his heart desolate. David was being terminated by the enemy. But, David knew that he was to “cast his burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you; he shall never permit the righteous to be shaken” which is found in Psalm 55:22. God tells us to cast the burdens of persecution on Him.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:11-12 that “blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” We will be rewarded greatly in Heaven because we are persecuted. We are blessed because we are persecuted. And, we are to rejoice and be glad.
Jesus also tells us in Matthew 5:44, “but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” He wants others to know that we are His children. We prove this by doing the opposite of what the world would want us to do to those who mistreat us.
God wants us to know that we are not the first to be persecuted wrongly. Jesus was persecuted wrongly. Jesus tells us himself in John 15:18, “if the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” God also wants us to know that He will stand with us, hear us, and always be with us whatever happens to us. In 2 Corinthians, it tells us that “we are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
God wants us to lean upon Him when the enemy attacks us. We are to run under His protection. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore … boast all the more gladly about … weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake … delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” God will be our strength in our times of weakness – when persecutions, insults, hardships, and difficulties happen.
God never intended for His creation to try and destroy and hurt one another. But, we do. Therefore, God has reassured us African Americans in His word that He hears our call, He is there for us through the persecution, and He will combat and renew us. We have nothing to fear in the persecution of any of us African Americans because our big Daddy will take care of our enemies. So, have faith child of God, lean into God, and let Him deal with our enemies.