God is our only secure & reliable stronghold to run to in times of trouble. In the midst of anxiety and fear we can seek solace in His Presence, taking shelter in the goodness of His promises…or as Psalm 34:8 tells us, ” Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him…” The goodness of God’s promises are found in the goodness of His Word, and because of that we can rejoice in the face of difficult circumstances…for God is our refuge in the storm, our shelter during the attack, our protection in the tempest, and our haven in the middle of the assault.
God does not change…He is light & in Him is no darkness at all…unlike nature’s luminaries that vary in magnitude and are always changing, depending on phases, eclipses, etc. God is the ultimate Author of light…and in Him there is no fluctuation in brightness or clarity. And this goes also for the gracious gifts that come down from Him. These good and perfect gifts are over and above what is necessary or expected, and in design, character or effect always promote righteousness in the benefactor. God only gives good gifts, (Psalm 85:12) they are always useful, beneficial, and profitable in glorifying Him.
The Church in Corinth was grappling with something no Church wants to contend with…the matter of Church Discipline. But Paul not only reminded them that the purpose of Church Discipline was to restore not destroy the individual, but exhorted them to be extremely careful not to give Satan any kind of victory in the matter. How? The Church could chose to neglect the need for discipline altogether…brushing the matter under the carpet and turning a blind eye to the allegations…or it could choose to discipline harshly and then shun and ostracize the person they had supposedly “forgiven”. Both would add up to a victory for Satan and more unrest within the Church body.
In these verses David is addressing those closest to him…those who live under his roof and under his authority. Now for many, that means the Dad, but for others, the head of the house may be a single Mom. Regardless of the situation, the directive is the same…you need to actively guard what comes into your house. Doing disgraceful things such as lying and cheating can start out so covertly, but before you know it, ungodly actions have firmly established themselves within your home and you’re left wondering how all this calamity came to be. So take David’s advice… every morning establish God’s authority over your dwelling…determine to head off and put an end to all unrighteous behaviors within your dwelling…finally, confront the troublemakers, showing them that their lives are contrary to what God and your household desires.
In these verses we see David actively opposing unrighteousness in his area of authority…in other words, the conduct of his employees in the workplace. One Saturday evening I was hosting a lovely dinner party when the phone rang…it was my 2nd shift Team Leader informing me that the 3rd Shift Team Leader had just walked in drunk. Now I could of made excuses why I couldn’t come in, marginalized the impact of allowing her to stay on the clock, or told my Team Leader she was just gossiping …all of which would of impacted my entire Staff negatively. So instead, I served dessert, changed clothes, and went in to alleviate her of her job and work her shift. As Director of Nurses in the facility, it was my responsibility to maintain an excellent work environment for all by employing honest, truthful people filled with integrity and exemplary skills. For by not doing so, I risked the conduct of one reflecting badly on the entire facility in the eyes of the Community.
In these verses, David is disavowing and rejecting wicked deeds and actions… and the men involved in them. He is declaring to God and himself that he won’t tolerate, be sucked in, or even have contact with wicked men. He is earnestly seeking to hate what God hates, but when it comes to “bad people”, who are they? We only have to look at Proverbs 6:16-19 to get a comprehensive list. “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him – haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” So in other words , if you have any acquaintances that you can recognize from this list…you may need to do something about removing them from your circle of friends.
Over the next 4 days we’ll look at a Psalm written by David and his earnest desire to do what is good in the eyes of the Lord. We all know that David’s life was filled with mistakes, but his steadfast personal longing was that of obedience to God, pursuing holiness, and seeking to root out evil from his life. David tried to live a life of repentance, integrity, and honesty all the while seeking God for guidance. We see this explained well in Paul’s prayer to the Philippian Church when he wrote, “May your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…” So as we read through this Psalm the next few days, we’ll see concrete ways of incorporating living a life of repentance into a walk of prudence, wisdom, and consistency.
To abide in love is to abide in God. For this unconditional Agape love of God’s is shown in His relentless pursuit of sinners in spite of their rebellion or indifference… but can we say the same about how we love people? Our love usually has strings attached to it and is based on how we can benefit, where as God’s love is perfect. So how do we strive for this unconditional Agape love? I John 2:5 tells us, “If anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.” It’s simple then, to abide in Agape love is to abide in God.
The king of Assyria had sent a group of thugs to intimidate king Hezekiah and the Jewish people…even taking it to the point of speaking in their native tongue of Hebrew in order to further threaten them. But when the prophet Isaiah was told about it, his answer wasn’t that of a fearful man dreading the worst, but rather the strong resolve of a person who knew God had everything under control. In other words, Whose report are you going to believe today? The enemy whispering threats, or the Lord speaking truth, love, and reassurance that He’s right there with you all the way? “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified and don’t be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
When we’ve received redemptive revelation…the saving truth of the Gospel Message and Jesus Christ as our Savior…but we willfully and intentionally rebel against Him…there’s nothing left for us but judgment. Peter summed it up well in II Peter 2:20 when he wrote, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they’re worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” Here Peter was calling out false teachers who claimed to be Christians but in reality their knowledge of Christ was only superficial, their escape from the world’s influences were only temporary, and their confessions of faith rang hollow and were quickly abandoned. It was as if they were deliberately and defiantly trampling Christ’s shed blood underfoot, so little regard did they give His sacrificial death.