“Smack ‘Em One, God!”

July 31, 2015

Psalm 137:7-9

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

I have a dear friend who is shy about praying out loud.  But one day on the phone we were talking about a certain individual who was a pain in the neck.  I was praying for this situation, and my friend – out of the blue – offered this:  “Smack ‘em one, God!”  I started laughing.  I told her, “That’s a fine way to begin praying publicly!  Do you realize this is your first ‘out loud’ prayer?!!”  We have teased each other about that prayer ever since!

But there are some “Smack ‘Em One, God!” incidents in the Bible, and with good reason!  Let’s look at a few:

•      In Acts 12 is the story of King Herod Agrippa who started to crack down on the new Jesus movement to please the Jews.  In verses 2 and 3 it is recorded:  “Then he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.  And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.”  According to verse 4, the same fate that James suffered awaited Peter.

The story of Peter’s miraculous release is in Acts 12:6 through 10. Here are verses 6 and 7:

      …when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping,
      bound with two chains between two soldiers, and the guards before the
      door were keeping the prison.  Now, behold, and angel of the Lord stood
      by him, and a light shone in the prison, and he struck Peter on the side
      and raised him up, saying “Arise quickly!”  And his chains fell off his

I am glad Peter had such peace facing this deadly situation that he was soundly asleep!  But God had to wake His apostle up!  I can just hear the Lord tell the messenger angel, “Smack ‘Em One!”

“Smack ‘Em One, God!” is a good prayer to implore the Lord to wake up His Church!  Paul wrote in Romans 13:11 (Easy-to-read version):  “…we live in an important time.  Yes, it is now time for you to wake up from your sleep.  Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”  And in Revelation 3:2 (Contemporary English Version),Christ has this admonition for the apostate Sardis Church:  “Wake up!  You have only a little strength left, and it is almost gone.  So try to become stronger.  I have found that you are not completely obeying God.”  My prayer for the sleeping Church in the western world has lately been, “Wake up! Look up! Stand up! And kneel down! – God, whatever it takes, wake up Your people!

“Smack ‘Em One, God!”

•      But lets apply this in a different way – this time to the unsaved – as Paul does in Ephesians 5:14 (loosely quoting Isaiah 26:19 and 60:1):  “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”  Is it worth it to get smacked by God to wake up to the fact you are lost and going to hell, and you need to be saved?  Considering the fact that hell is a place of eternal and horrible suffering (see Matthew 24:51; Mark 9:48; Revelation 14:1; 21:8), it would be well worth it to experience the temporary pain of a God-smack if that would result in escaping hell!

“Smack ‘Em One, God!”

•      When the glorified Lord Jesus appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos, He dictated seven letters to churches in Asia Minor.  In Revelation 3:2 He tells the Sardis Christians, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”  Be watchful reminds me of what Jesus told His disciples the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He instructed them to be awake and pray as He left to pray a stone’s throw away.  It says in Matthew 26:40 and 41, “Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, ‘What, could you not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.’

We are to watch and pray!  “Pray without ceasing,” Paul admonishes us in I Thessalonians 5:17.  And watching is being aware of what is going on around you so you can pray intelligently!  Yes, we need to pray more.  But we need to be awake and watchful so we can pray effectively!  So…

“Smack ‘Em One, God!”

•      Finally, there is a legitimate reason to pray this prayer concerning the enemies of Christ and the Cross!  In Psalm 137:7 through 9, the Psalmist is reflecting on what happened when the Jews were taken into captivity to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem was sacked and burned:

      O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, happy shall he be who
      repays you as you have served us!  Happy shall he be who takes and dashes
      your little ones against the rock.

It sounds like a severe prayer!  Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-45)?  Yes, but if they will not turn to God and away from sin, and if they keep on in their opposition to God and good, then I do not think it is wrong to pray…

“Smack ‘Em One, God!”

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