I will praise the LORD!
Reading: Psalm 37
The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
but the LORD laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous (NIV).
As stated in my first post on Psalm 37, this psalm is a stark night and day comparison of the life of the evil person with the life of the individual who does right in God’s eyes. The contrast is profound.
I cannot read the passage above without thinking of the evil that is loose in the world today. Here in Canada in recent years, we had the trial of Luka Magnotta for his slaying of Jun Lin, a Chinese born university student. Magnotta posted his killing of Lin with an icepick on YouTube. After dismembering his body Magnotta mailed various body parts to schools and political party headquarters.
In Iraq and Syria, ISIS militants defiantly beheaded journalists and international aid workers in a cowardly display of their depravity. Any who hold different religious views have been executed, their women raped, their children enslaved. It appears we live in a wicked world where hatred and evil are trumpeted as worthy pursuits—pursuits that attract adoring young fanatics.
The opening line of this psalm posting is as true today as when it was written three thousand years ago. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them… The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
The sin process is still at work in the hearts of men. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15).
But thanks be to God! We have this promise: for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. God will uphold us as we put our trust in Him.
Response: LORD God, you are my upholder—my help in evil times, in times of trouble. I put my trust in you. Hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Your Turn: How do you fight evil? Where does it start? We must examine our hearts.
Reading: Psalm 15
A psalm of David.
LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the LORD;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken (NIV).
Where are you living? Please note, I did not ask, “What is your address?”
For the Old Testament believer, God had an address. He lived in the Tent of Meeting on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Later this was the location of the great temple built by Solomon. But this entire psalm is based on the premise that we can live in the presence of God. Why else would David ask, “LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?”
It would appear that wherever we are, it is possible to live one’s life in the conscious presence of the LORD. What an awesome privilege. But how is that possible? On an intellectual level, this is a no brainer. God is present everywhere. We are continually living our lives in full view of an omnipresent God.
Am I always aware of His presence? No, not always.
What can I do to change that? The psalmist lists some requirements for living in the LORD’s presence. Apparently, God is vitally concerned with the way we walk out our life of faith—the words we speak, and our interactions with neighbours and friends. The list of requirements found in this psalm is all about practical day to day living, being true to our word, loving our neighbour, and being generous to those in need.
The day is coming when I will meet the LORD face to face, but can I see Him before that final day? Do I see Him in the face of my neighbour?
Response: Heavenly Father, I don’t want to come for an occasional visit. I want to live in your presence now and in eternity. Today, help me interact with others with the knowledge that you are watching every thought, word and action. I’m living with you. Amen.
Your Turn: When are you most conscious of God’s presence in your life?