Christian Living

Hate What God Hates

My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments.” (Psalm 119:120)

The psalmist sees God and he “trembles.” This is absolute fright! In Job 4:15 the term is used to describe making the hair stand on end because of fear. The psalmist fears the judgment of the God who is his protection and security. That is what we see here. He doesn’t want to disobey any of God’s commandments and he is “scared stiff” of the consequences of doing so.

The psalmist really shows his opposition to evil because he knows the weight of God’s opposition to it as well. He feels the weight of God’s disdain for evil.

We live in a society that believes God to be weightless. Let me explain.

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In my 1st year of college at Masters, I was required to read a book entitled No Place for Truth by David Wells, who is a professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Wells is very gifted at giving a commentary on modern culture and showing the vast differences between orthodox theology and how people actually live. Anyway, in his book, he speaks about one his great concerns in modern America of that being too many who think God to be weightless. He writes,

“It is one of the defining marks of our time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that He is ethereal but rather that He has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life.

“Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God’s existence may nonetheless consider Him less interesting than television, His commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, His judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and His truth less compelling than the advertisers’ sweet fog of flattery and lies.

“That is weightlessness. It is a condition we have assigned Him after having nudged Him out to the periphery of our secularized life. . . . Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality.” (No Place for Truth, pg. 88)

This is certainly our society. We, by nature, want to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him.

Not the psalmist, he adjusts his life to God. He sees the weight of God opposing evil and he opposes it with the same disdain.

Desert Living vs. Irritable Living

“It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.(Prov 21:19)

I have never lived or camped in a deserted area, but my car broke down outside of Needles, CA once and I had the opportunity to experience a few days of living in a city in the middle of the California desert. It was hot; it was lonely; it was forgettable. The resources were limited; the variety and quantity of possible activities was short. The food was scarce. The shade was nowhere to be found.

I know some people love the desert life, but I am not one of them.

And generally speaking, the desert is not a preferable place to live. If it were, we wouldn’t have hundreds and thousands of unoccupied sand.

Solomon tells us that living in the desert does have appeal over living with one type of person – an argumentative or irritating woman.

Image result for dripping faucetThe argumentative woman says things like, “I told you so” or “You never” or “You are so annoying” or “I cannot stand it when you…” The argumentative woman cannot let things go. The argumentative woman is not quick to forgive and is looking for the next fight.

And these characteristics of her make her irritating, as Solomon says. Elsewhere he calls such a woman a dripping faucet (Proverbs 19:13). If you have ever tried to sleep and her that bathroom faucet dripping ever slowly, but consistent, you know the annoyance of such an experience.

How about you? Do people look forward to talking with you? Are you a peacemaker? Are you one who leaves a conversation having built up those you spoke with? Or do others dread when you are around or sigh when you being to open you mouth?

George Mueller, On Persistent Praying

Image result for george mueller“One or the other might suppose that all my prayers have been thus promptly answered. No, not all of them. Sometimes I have had to wait weeks, months or years, sometimes many years…During the first six weeks of the year 1866 I heard of the conversion of six persons for whom I had been praying for a long time. For one I had been praying between two and three years. For another between three and four years; for the fifth above fifteen years, and for sixth above twenty years. In one instance my faith has been tried even more than thin. In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without one single intermission whether in sickness or in health, on the land or on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagement may be…two remain unconverted…But I hope in God, I pray on, and I look yet for the answer… Therefore beloved brethren and sisters, go on waiting upon God, go on praying, only be sure to ask for things which are according to the mind of God.” (George Mueller)

 

Who Should You Trust?

Image result for battle horseIt is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).

The psalmist is saying that God is worthier of our trust – anyone’s trust. Not even the most powerful of men or rulers have equal weight to God when it comes to dependence.

Why is this the case? How is trusting God better than anyone else? This is probably a rhetorical question to most of us, but let me share a list of six answers to that question, as adapted by Albert Barnes (Psalms, pgs. 169-171).

Man is weak and God is almighty (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 139:2-5). Man is limited in his capabilities; God is not. God is capable of anything (Psalm 115:3) and man is capable of very little.

Man is selfish and God is benevolent (Psalm 106:1; Nahum 1:7). Man is self-focused, self-centered and driven by personal ambition. God is humble, others-centered and eager to serve mankind.

Man is faithless and deceitful and God is truth (John 14:6-7). Man breaks his covenants, lies and not dependable; he cannot be trusted. God never commits a promise-violation (Hebrews 6:13-18); He loves to be faithful (Isaiah 25:1; Lamentations 3:22-23).

Man cannot help in every occasion and God can assist at any time (Revelation 196). Man is limited in his resources and cannot always offer help when needed (Jeremiah 32:27). God has an infinite supply of resources and can meet any need. Thus, God is more able (Psalm 66:5-7) and likely to help.

It is morally right to trust in the Creator (Psalm 19:7; 111:7) and not His creation. For creation to trust in creation is foolish. For man to depend on He who formed Him is righteous.

Trusting in man creates false dependence; it creates a trust in others who are not trustworthy. Trusting in God creates holiness; it makes one sanctified (I Peter 1:13-16) and living in the manner He ought.

So yes, trusting in anyone or anything but God makes no sense.

 

Men of God Are Known For…

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.(Prov 10:17)

Christians are distinct people. They are not the same as the heathen who has never trusted in Christ. Jonathan Edwards has said,

“They who are truly converted are new men, new, creatures; new, not only within, but without; they are sanctified throughout, in spirit, soul and body; old things are passed away, all things are become new; they have new hearts, new eyes, new ears, new tongues, new hands, new feet; i.e., a new conversation and practice; they walk in newness of life, and continue to do so to the end of life.”

In this succinct statement by Solomon from Proverbs 10:17, we see a few differences between the man of God and the heathen.

First, the man of God is known by reaction to God’s Word.

  • He obeys. He heeds. He loves. He submits. He delights. Or as Psalm 1:3 says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
  • Not so the heathen. The heathen rejects. The heathen hates. The heath disregards. The heathen rebels. The heathen disdains. Or as Psalm 1:4 says, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.”

Second, the man of God has a different destiny.

  • Heaven. Blessing. Glorification. Light, joy. Or as Psalm 1:6 says, “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
  • Not so the heathen. Darkness. Banishment. Despair. Pain. Hell. Or as Psalm 1:5 says, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

Father, filled is with delight. We want to be happy in you. Give us the strength to stray from the path of the wicked. Give us the strength to not plan for evil or mock or scorn your law. Make your Word our delight all the time. Ground us deeper in Your Word so that fruit is abundant in our life and so we produce more fruit next week than we did before. Protect us from being worthless and dead. Bring ungodly men to justice. And be merciful to us so that we don’t perish.\

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Charles Spurgeon, On Why We Must Remain Humble

Image result for charles spurgeon“We are nothings and nobodies, but that we think otherwise is very evident, for as soon as we are put on the shelf we begin anxiously to enquire, ‘How will the work go on without me?’ The fly on the coach wheel may just as well enquire, ‘How will the mails be carried without me?’ Far better men have been laid in the grave without the Lord’s work having been brought to a standstill, and shall we fume and fret because for a short season we must lie upon the bed of languishing? If we were laid aside only when it was obvious that our services could be spared, then there would be no jolt to our pride, but to weaken our strength at the precise moment when our presence seems most needed is the surest way to teach us that we are not essential to God’s work, and even when we are most needed he can easily do without us…for surely it is desirable beyond all things that self should be kept low and the Lord alone magnified.”