Monday, May 16, 2016

"What good does it do to believe in the God of salvation?"

Day #138

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 36 - 38 …

As I look at the world today, it seems that even those who are part of the Church, who confess Christ as Savior and who claim to be Christians don't understand the benefit and blessing of knowing the one true God and trusting Him as you and I live life in this world ... which makes me wonder if some really KNOW Him!  Even though God says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life!" (Philippians 2:14-16) ... believers seem to join in with those around them in complaining and murmuring (like the people of Israel!) about everything from the weather to what's for dinner!!

We desperately need to take a broader, deeper look at life and realize just how blessed we are as those who know God and who are called as disciples of Jesus Christ to be the light of the world!  Our Psalms today contrast the way of the wicked and the way of the righteous.  Remember, as believers our perfect righteousness is in Christ Jesus and we receive it by faith, and it is also true that the Holy Spirit produces righteousness in us as we draw near to Jesus Christ in faith, desiring to obey Him.  If that is NOT the case in your life, you need to examine your relationship to Christ.  God is in the business of transforming His people.

David begins Psalm 36 by describing the wicked:  "There is no fear of God before his eyes.  For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.  The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.  Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course ..." (36:1-4).  There are people who get up in the morning and think about how to take advantage of other people, how to have their way by breaking the law, how to get something for nothing, even how to hurt other people. 

But the righteous, on the other hand, declare, "O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.  How priceless is your unfailing love! ... For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light" (36:7,9).  Believers KNOW things that unbelievers do not.  We know the character of God, the love of God in Christ, the power of God in His Spirit, and therefore have peace, hope, joy and strength as we live in this world with the sure and certain hope of eternal life.  So David prays, “Continue Your love to those who know You!” (36:10).  Those who know God understand that good things come from Him, not from the world.  We who believe in God seek His grace and favor.  Evil is all around us, but faith overcomes fear as we rest in God’s love and trust in His goodness.

So, David writes in Psalm 37, "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong ... Trust in the LORD and do good ... Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this ... Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways ...  do not fret - it leads only to evil" (37:1,3-5,7-9).  Do you see how we are to live in this world by faith?  If you were to examine the evidence all around us it may well appear that in the end, evil will win; but GOD says otherwise!

God says through David that the wicked "will soon wither ... they will soon die ... will perish" (37:2,20).  Could the contrast be any clearer?  "The meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace" while "the LORD laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming" (37:11,13).  God’s plan from before the world began is moving forward and the day of judgment for the wicked is approaching as quickly as the day of salvation for His children.  Taking the short view of things leads to the wrong conclusion.  Knowing what the future holds produces endurance and perseverance.  "Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous" (37:16-17).  I love David's words in verse 25:  "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."

God takes care of those who know and love and trust in Him!  No matter how difficult life may become (as we read in Psalm 38), we can still call on God and know that He IS our Savior (38:21-22).  "There is a future for the man of peace.  But all sinners will be destroyed ... the salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them" (37:39-40).  Jesus told His disciples that they would face trials, hatred, persecution and even death in this world, but He also told them not to be afraid because He had overcome the world for them!  That message is for believers today, too.  Those who do not know God or the salvation He offers in Jesus Christ think only of what they can get out of this life.  Their desire is to have more of what this world can offer.

So what good does it do to believe in Jesus?  Judge for yourself.  As you read Psalms 36-37, you become aware that the choice to believe is a gift of God's grace, and then as you read Psalm 38 you remember why you and I NEED God's grace ... because we are sinners who stand guilty before a holy God.  Without a Savior we have no hope.  Without a Savior we deserve to be forsaken by God and left alone.  But through faith in Jesus we know that God will NEVER leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Live life today with confidence borne of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Delight in the Lord, trust Him, commit your way to Him and find rest for your soul.  Do not fret because of evil.  The wicked will perish in their sin.  Wait patiently for the Lord, for He IS good, and His mercy endures forever for those who know and love Him.  These are the blessings of the righteous, of those washed in the blood of the Lamb!

"Oh LORD, my God, how great You are and how worthy to be praised, for You have delivered me from the just rewards of my sin and have set my feet upon the rock of salvation.  May my life-song sing to You and declare to the world: My God reigns!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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