Most of us don’t know what it means to be persecuted for the Gospel…to suffer for our beliefs…enduring hardship for the sake of His name. Most of us have never persevered under threat of bodily harm…or death, in order to reach others for Jesus. So why then do we lose heart and become offended so easily when we meet opposition? Suddenly it’s not fun anymore and we don’t like how we’re being treated…so we quit. Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Not giving up means surrendering our life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and looking to Him as our example of righteous tenacity.
What does God hate? The short list is right here in this proverb. God tells us over and over again not to have a relationship with any kind of unethical or immoral activity. But our pride and arrogance makes us think we know more than Him, so off we go, dabbling in things that confuse and slowly draw us in. And before you know it, we’re snared by the grip of sin. But even then, our willful and obstinate nature refuses to accept responsibility and turn away from the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. Our corrupt human nature is constantly pulling us away from what is right and good…when God is telling us to shun evil and put away all our wicked ways.
Jesus had called Lazarus from the grave, and out he stumbled. But he was still bound by the grave-clothes wound around his body and face. Others had placed these winding cloths on him, and now it took others to free him from them. When we become a Believer we are raised from the dead unto eternal life, but for many of us, we continue to wear the trappings of the tomb. These hindrances cling to us like grave-clothes, impeding our movement forward and blinding us from the truth. And just like Lazarus, it was someone else that placed them on us, binding us up in sin, addiction, and pain. So it takes others to free us from these grave clothes…to come along side to encourage, exhort, and unloose the sins that still bind us to the past.
In this prayer, King David was acknowledging that it was only from God – the source of everything – that he possessed abilities and achievements. David was also acknowledging the sovereignty and authorship of God as he viewed the world around him. Later, his son Solomon would write in Ecclesiastes 5:19-20, ” When God gives any man wealth and possessions,and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” Recognizing and thanking God for His benevolence in our lives gives rise to one of the greatest gifts we can ever receive…it’s peace and contentment.
Truth comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in you. We are to be firmly established in that truth, which is ultimate, absolute, and divinely revealed, but at the same time difficult to distinguish from all the world’s noise. That still small voice is a whisper against the clamber of everything around us. Oh how wonderful it would be if the Holy Spirit had a blow-horn poised by my ear to direct me! But instead I must listen…and listen acutely for His voice. Do you want to know the truth? Then you must train your ears to listen carefully, blocking out the din around you and disciplining your mind . As this verse says, the truth lives within you…you just need to listen.
When Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt of the earth He meant it both figuratively and literally. Within our bodies are electrolytes – minerals (sodium, chloride, etc.) that are essential for life… without them, our heart, nerves, and muscles would malfunction. “To be the salt of the earth” defined is a person that is considered a representative of the best elements of society. It’s someone chosen and capable of effectively demonstrating what we stand for. We all have been called to be the salt of the earth…chosen by God to represent Him and the Gospel Message to the world.
Most of us have a very short attention span. So attempting to understand the concept of forever more can be mind-boggling. We can’t stay focused on something for 15 minutes, and this verse tells us to praise the Lord for an indefinite, limitless amount of time! But if we think about forever more in another way…someday we’ll find ourselves in the very Throne Room of God singing in the heavenly choir, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13) …and time won’t matter anymore, for we’ll be in the presence of the Lord.