Monday, March 10, 2008

The Enemy of Delighting in God, Part II

"1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon

"7 not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out
their wicked schemes."
Psalm 37

The truth is, we tend to get incredibly disheartened when we see people that appear to care less about God and His truth getting what they want the way they want it! It is sad to see a brother in Christ suffer with a fatal disease that will end his life, leaving behind a wife and grandchildren, while at the same time observing a dishonest person looking like they are "getting ahead." How angering to know of faithful followers of Christ suffering for the Gospel through imprisonment and beatings while others criticize Christians as biggoted and work hard for better treatment of animals while real people are treated like "dogs." It is hard to do without while doing good especially as those who do bad are rewarded for their bad behavior.

God knew this would be the case. He knew that we can be tempted to be envious of those that do not love him "getting ahead." He knows that if we become too envious of these evil people getting riches and advantages in this world, we may very well lose heart and desire a life of earthly pursuits rather than in delighting and taking joy in Him. If all there was was getting the most "toys" in this life, then it may very well be advantageous to live for yourself and fulfill your own desires at any cost. However, God uses the Psalmist to tell us...

(v. 1) -Do not "worry yourself" over men that do not follow God who are getting ahead by doing wrong.

The Christian student that desires to honor God by respecting their authorities (parents, principals, teachers, coaches), being a good steward of their time by studying well (remembering that they are not really working for teachers bust God) and keeping themselves sexually pure for their future spouse is not to "worry themselves" or become "envious" of those living for lesser purpose.

The Christian adult that desires to honor God by doing their business honestly, refraining from gossip and other peace-destroying behaviors and being a good steward of their time, talent and possessions is not to "worry themselves" or become envious of those living for dishonesty and reveling in pleasing themselves alone.

(v. 2) Why? Their "care less about God" life leads to "withering" and "dying." People who live for themselves alone are compared to plants in this life. There is nothing more temporary than plants. Even the longest living trees on the planet come to an end. Either by natural death because of age, by disease, or at the hand of a Poulan! (Feel free to fill in this blank with your favorite brand of chainsaw.)

(v. 7) Again, another reminder and call not to fret even if they "succeed in their ways." Success is usually measured by a certain level of prosperity and power. For those that live their lives apart from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and do so for themselves, anything that they accomplish in this life is the very best that they can expect. Apart from Christ, it truly will never get any better than what they accomplish with the time they are given on this earth. How do we know this?

"...evil men will be cut off...A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found."
Psalm 37:9, 10

Just as a plant ceases to exist, so will those living for themselves and apart from Jesus. They will be "cut off"--meaning that they will not enjoy the privilege of permanence and joy and relationship granted to those that are God's people. It is a supreme honor to belong to God. If God is your God and you are His child, that reality alone should fill you with overwhelming joy. Even if you never receive anything that the world defines as good, you already have the very best thing and nothing in this world--evil men, evil schemems, suffering--can cut you off from the absolute permanence of that relationship.

Do not worry yourself over the apparent "success" of evil men that do not care about God. Unless they repent and turn to Jesus--and please, pray that they do and that God might grant you the opportunity to bear witness of His grace to them--they will meet a sure end from all that brought them temporary joy in this life!

Evil is temporary. God is forever! Evil men are for a little while. God's people are His possession and will enjoy his relationship forever! Take delight in that fact.

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