It would be easy if living a Godly life was a once and done…or if we could somehow attain “Christian perfection.” Unfortunately, our walk is a lifelong journey…our race is a marathon not a sprint. What we learn one day…we apply to the next…and slowly we’re changed…day by day.
We live in a very disposable world. There is nothing we own that will last forever…everything will eventually be thrown away. But as the Psalmist proclaims here, there is one thing that will last forever…and His name is the Lord Almighty. For God’s reign is everlasting. His throne is firmly established in justice, and He will reign without ceasing…for eternity.
In Paul’s letter to the Church in Corinth he’s stressing the need for forgiveness. One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to draw us into a attitude of unforgiveness towards others. He exploits our feelings of resentment and anger, and sadly our soul deteriorates as bitterness takes over.
Lord, we know of Your intense hatred of idolatry and hypocrisy, and that You will repay Your foes according to what they have done. (Isaiah 59:18) As we look at all the evil in the world, we remember the words of the Psalmist who said, “…as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.” (Psalm 68:2) So we echo this verse and say, “Rise up, O Lord! May Your actions be immediate and dramatic…may Your enemies be scattered.”
Persecuted Believers of the early Church had scattered…looking for religious freedom. Some had traveled to Antioch and spread the Good News to the Greeks…who accepted the Gospel and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11: 20-21.) Barnabas had been sent to Antioch to investigate these rumors. Now Barnabas could have headed there with a hardline, judgmental attitude, with his mind already made up. But instead, when he witnessed proof, and the Holy Spirit affirmed that this was of God not man…he was exceedingly glad and exhorted all of them to follow Jesus. Too many times we too go into a situation with our minds already made up…having already judged the person guilty before hearing a single word. God’s in the business of making the impossible possible, and just because you can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean God can’t pull it off. We need to stop pre-judging God and what He can accomplish.
Have your parents always been active in Church, but you’ve held back…maybe thinking it’s not for you? Look around your Church and assess the age of those who serve the most. Are they in their 20’s or 30’s…or is it more like 60’s and 70’s, or older? The sad fact about many Churches today is that the vast majority of those ministering and volunteering are the elderly of the Church, not younger adults. In this verse, it speaks of the Gatekeepers being chief men…men who were strong and in the prime of their life…charged with guarding and protecting with self-discipline and integrity. The Church is only as young as the people who serve. And when those precious Saints of the Church are gone…what happens next? Who will fill their shoes? Will you?
Here Paul is comparing the human body with the body of Christ…the Church. Just as the many parts of the human body work together in complete harmony…each with its own unique purpose, the body of Christ – the Church and its many parts need to come together in like-mindedness also. And just like the human body, one part cannot work in isolation from the rest. That would be like one Sunday morning your heart getting up and deciding not to be part of your body that day! You may think that your presence at Church doesn’t matter…but it does…the whole body suffers when one part is absent.
So many times our humanness gets in the way of a right relationship with the Lord. In a twisted form of arrogance, we place our wretched past up on a pedestal and proclaim it to be “too terrible” for the Lord to forgive. Yes, your past may be riddled with bad choices…but nothing God hasn’t forgiven beforehand. Murder, adultery, rape…the list goes on in the Bible of deplorable actions done by people in difficult situations. But when they took responsibility for their sins and asked forgiveness…God forgave them. For there’s nothing so serious, so vile, that God’s redemptive power can’t forgive.
We’ll readily agree that God is our Heavenly Father and the Master of the universe. But our actions seldom match the honor and respect we should be showing the Lord Almighty. Our reverence and appreciation usually goes to material things and our comfort… rather than God. We should all then ask ourselves if we’re showing God the respect and honor He’s due, or placing ourselves on the throne instead.
How much time do I squander away worrying? I’d hate to count up the minutes I spend stressing over the most stupid things…worse case scenarios that 99.9% of the time never happen. Rather than worrying, we should be worshiping…rather than glorifying our anxiety, we should be exalting the Lord. For God has kept His promises to us in the past…and He’s not going to stop now.