The Danger Within

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.” Psalm 55:10 NLT

David lived in a day when battles and bloodshed were common. Today the seasons of battle are played out in sports stadiums in a variety of ways. In David it was real battle. The verse always gets my attention when I read, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…” (2 Samuel 11:1 NIV) Spring time was battle season.

The threats from various Kings and kingdoms was a constant threat. It seems the battles were vicious and frequent. Kings needed to possess a constant vigilance to keep their people and their kingdom safe. Cities were walled fortresses to provide security. Guards would keep constant watch with an eye on the horizon and any signs of pending trouble.

We see this pictured in the opening words of verse 10 of Psalm 55. But David quickly and wisely, points to the place where the battle is often won or lost. He is aware that while eyes may be focused outward that danger also exists “within the city.”  

The founders of our nation understood the threats to freedom from outside of our country and within our country. That is why the oath of office includes a commitment to, “defend [the country] against all enemies foreign and domestic.” 

But even that doesn’t capture David’s focus. His words are clear. “The real danger is wickedness…” John Adams one of our nations founders and early President’s stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We can look at nations throughout time and see that moral decay, injustice and wickedness was the precursor to their demise. The same can be true of individuals. The news in recent days has focused on the immoral actions that continued for years, of one of Hollywood’s richest and most renown  and powerful producers and “star makers” and one of the elite “movers and shakers.”

We can dedicate time and be diligent to protect our financial assets and our standing in the eyes of the community, our profession and church; but we need to keep an eye “within” on our hearts. I recently was visiting with a pastor friend who is recovering from his own physical challenge. He asked me before we concluded our meeting. “How is Ken? How are you doing physically, emotionally, spiritually?” It made me realize that even in a time of life when the pressures are less than in the past, and the schedule is not as intense, that it is still important to pause in life and have an inward assessment.

We need to be in prayer for our communities and our nation. We need to take a stand against injustice, evil and wickedness. We need to examine our own hearts. I think of the words of the old “spiritual” – “It’s me o Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” We can spend all kinds of time and focus and energy protecting what we believe to be important, but it what’s “within” that is the most important.

Prayer for today…. Lord, search our hearts and reveal our hearts to each of us. Keep us strong within and on guard “without” that we may be faithful to You and strong and safe in challenging days.