Thursday, July 17, 2008

Righteousness Pays Better

Psalm 37 [Part 2 of 2]

I. Some Consequences Are Immediate

A. Wicked people make themselves obvious by doing less than they promise while in contrast the righteous do more than they promise. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. (Psalm 37:21)

B. God entrusts assets to the righteous but evil people eventually experience appropriate payback. “For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off ” (Psalm 37:22) “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” ( Matthew 25:41)

C. God coaches the righteous to their advantage. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)

D. Across David’s long life he saw righteousness lead to blessing. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. (Psalm 37:25-26)

II. Other Consequences Develop Over Time

A. The rule is simple: Live God’s way joyously or suffer irreparable harm for yourself and your descendants. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.” (Psalm 37:27-29)

B. Misplaced values are forms of idolatry and the consequences of both faith and corruption are long term.
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)

C. Good people live surrounded with the protection of God’s direction.
“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” (Psalm 37:30-31)

D. Wicked people try to hurt the righteous, but God guards His own.
The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.”(Psalm 37:32-33)

1. Wicked people go to great lengths to hurt the righteous.
The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. “For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. (Jeremiah 20:10)

2. The pattern was a constant feature of Jesus’ ministry.
“And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the Sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.” (Luke 6:7)

E. Death, which the wicked fear, is no great problem for the righteous.
“And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrew 2:15) Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

III. God Saves the Righteous

A. Leave the big picture to God.
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalm 37:34) Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee. (Proverbs 20:22)

B. David testified that he had seen the process; the triumph of evil is always temporary.
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Psalm 37:35-36) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:(1 Peter 5:6)

C. Take notes and keep records; history is on the side of the righteous.
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psalm 37:37-38)

D. Remember the story of Job.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1) “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days. (Job 42:12-17)

E. Trust in God works for the righteous, but it isn’t present to work in the wicked.
“But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.” (Psalm 37:39-40)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wait for the 9th Inning

Psalm 37 is an acrostic written when reflecting as an old man on lessons learned in the school of grace. (v. 25) [Part 1 of 2]

I. Do Not Assume the Wicked Have It all That Good

A. Do not fret over the prosperity of the wicked; evildoers die like mown grass.A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2) Who envies Kobe beef as it feasts in the stall?

1. Even serious believers misinterpret the apparent prosperity of evil; Asaph made the problem the subject of Psalm 73.A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:1-3)

2. Evildoers are actually moving into dangerous places; such people are oblivious to the trouble they cultivate for themselves. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalm 73:18-20)

B. Seek contentment in the Lord and it will develop eventually.Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4) There are many thing nature might want which grace will not seek.

C. Worry only makes life unnecessarily more unpleasant; God knows what needs to be done and He will do it.Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm37:7-9)

D. Life is too short to worry about the wicked; they don’t last long. “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:10-11) “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

II. The Wicked Are Clueless

A. The Lord laughs as the wicked throw their tantrums. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.” (Psalm 37:12-13) Wicked people will still bark when they can’t bite.

B. The wicked seem unable to comprehend that their own weapons strike back at them rather than at people under God’s protection. “The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.” (Psalm 37:14-15) Like Haman, the wicked build their own gallows.

C. The final accounting in life is the only one that matters; worldly wealth and prosperity, which disappear instantly at death, cease to be impressive compared to the eternal treasures of the redeemed.A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.” (Psalm 37:16-17)

D. Nothing escapes the mind of God; the final accounting will be good for upright people and irremediable for wicked people. “The LORD knoweth the days of the upright:and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psalm 37:18-20)

E. Avoid the deadly attractions of the damned. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

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