This is a message I preached at the first of this year entitled, “How to Live a Life Worth Living.”
strong>“but God says to the wicked: ‘what right do you have to recite my statutes and take my covenant on your lips? You hate instruction and turn your back on My words. When you see a thief you make friends with him, and you associate with adulterers. You unleash your mouth for evil and harness your tongue for deceit. You sit, maligning your brother, slandering your mother son. You have done these things, and I kept silent; you thought I was just like you. But I will rebuke you and lay out the case before you. Understand this, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to rescue you.” (Psalms 50:16-22)
Much is being said this morning about our presidents use of scripture to justify his actions of amnesty toward illegal aliens. Many have used, or should I say have abused Scriptures through the years to justify their actions. What I think really doesn’t matter, but what God thinks is of tantamount importance.
God, in speaking through the psalmist, castigated the wicked for reciting the words of His covenant (verse 16). God hates hypocrisy! To quote one part and ignore the rest is not only hypocrisy but lunacy.
After blasting the wicked, God verbalizes six indictments of the wicked that will be evident from their hypocrisy:
Verse 17 says they will hate God’s instruction and turn their back on his word.
Verse 18 says they would become friends with thieves.
Verse 19 says their mouths would be full of evil and their tongue would be full of deceit.
Verse 20 says they would even criticize their brother and slander would be in their mouth.
Verse 21 says when the wicked quote Scripture, they would be guilty of all of these things.
The last part of verse 21 is the greatest outrage: The wicked will think that God is just like them.
The president’s practice of injustice
and deceit and his support of late term abortion and the murder of unborn babies reveals his character. Verse 22 records the impending justice of God on those who practice such things and who quote the Scripture.
Our president, and all who would follow in his footsteps, must repent and turn back to the living God.
“Lord, you light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness. With You I can attack a barrier, and with my God I can leap over a wall.” – Psalms 18:28-29
God is the source of my sight, my strength and my success. To me, nothing seems as precious as the ability to see. Many days, I have had eyes, but not seen. Because the Father is the illuminator, He is also the Liberator. There is freedom for me in sight. Seeing Him and what He is doing frees me from my own way and my own plan. To be without vision is a terrible thing. To flounder and wander aimlessly is torture for the soul who is intent on pleasing God. Vision gives direction. It builds purpose and meaning. Vision validates existence. It shouts, “You are important to me!” Vision is life-giving. It calls me from beds of ease and bids me to risk and live. Vision is stability. I walk surely, securely and with determination when I see what I am facing, where I am going and how far I have been. The Father is personal in this (He is my lamp), and He is powerful in this (He illuminates my darkness).
God is my strength. I am not taken out of the warfare of life, but am joined in it. He comes along side of me. With Him: what a glorious prospect, partner and provision! What I could never do alone, I can do with the Almighty! With Him my strategy is clear…attack! My life has been full of barriers…many of which I have created myself. There are none which cannot be overcome through Him. My lot is to live on the offensive. Away my soul with passive pretending! God has commissioned me to attack…to occupy till He comes! The sword and shield are fitted to my hand; I can do nothing else…but stand in Him and do battle. My success is prescribed…”with Him.” I am nothing without Him. I am nothing but successful with Him! The efficiency and efficacy of the Holy Spirit enables me to leap over the walls of barrier to God’s purposes. With Him, jousting becomes jumping; laboring becomes leaping. I remember the words of Daniel, “but the people who know their God will be strong and take action. (Daniel 11:32)
We are challenged to cast down everything to gaze steadfastly into His face. He is our sight, our strength, and our only hope of success. He would own us by His mercy and use us by His might.
“So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God.” – 2 Chronicles 27:6
The fear of God is a rare thing in our day and time. The anemic state of the Church can be attributed to the lack of fear on our part. We have become brazen, yet barren; prosperous, yet powerless; and prideful yet pitiful.
Jotham feared God because he saw in his father, Uzziah, the consequence of not fearing. Uzziah, in his pride, acted foolishly in the House of God. He was presumptuous. Jotham wouldn’t even darken the door of God’s House because of this.
Uzziah’s undisciplined life caused Jotham to discipline himself. He ordered his life out of a healthy respect for the holiness of God.
Discipline — the catalyst that moved Jotham toward mightiness is the challenge that must move us in these presumptuous days. After almost 41 years as a Christian, this simple message is still profound in my heart. This morning God is again calling me, calling us, to discipline.
Jotham did not live long (41 years), but he did live strong! It is not necessarily the length of your life, but the strength of your life that makes the biggest impact. God’s design is that we move toward mighty. His design must become our desire. Only in ordering our lives before Him can this become a reality.
“If only my request would be granted and God would provide what I hope for: that He would decide to crush me, to unleash His power and cut me off! It would still bring me comfort, and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” – Job 6:8-10
It is amazing to me how adventurous and dangerous we become when trials rear their ugly head. Desperation drives us and defines us in the realm of prayer.
Job’s prayer came from the desperation of abandonment. Instead of comfort from a friend, Job received criticism. Nothing hurts like being alone. His cry to God reveals his heart in five requests that he made:
– Consider me! (If only…)
– Crush me! (vs. 9a)
– Cut me! (vs. 9b)
– Comfort me! (vs. 10a)
– Conquer me! (vs. 10b)
In the storms Job faced he had a sure footing…a firm foundation. He had not denied the words of the Holy One. I can endure devastating events and desperate times if I have a safe place to stand. David’s song has become my song, and hopefully your song as well: “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalms 40:1-3)
What a wonderful work of the Lord that brings us out! Perilous prayer opens the door to the grace of God in our lives and brings about a powerful deliverance! Trust Him today in your storm. Cry out to Him in surrender and brokenness. Wait…and watch Him work!
“These are but the fringes of His ways; how faint is the word we hear of Him! – Job 26:14
Even in the midst of his despair and suffering, Job’s heart was filled with praise for the Lord. In his humility, Job declared his efforts at communicating the greatness of God was hopeless. Job was saying that his praise didn’t even scratch the surface of who God is and how great His glory is! Of God’s greatness Job said:
– He helps the powerless. (vs. 1)
– He counsels the unwise. (vs. 2)
– Hell is naked before Him. (vs. 6)
– He stretches out the sky. 9vs. 7a)
– He hangs the earth on nothing. (vs. 7b)
– He wraps the water in clouds. (vs. 8)
– He hides Heaven in the clouds. (vs. 9)
– He laid out the horizon on waters between light and darkness. (vs. 10)
– The sky shakes when He speaks. (vs. 11)
– His power stirs the seas. (vs. 12)
– His breath make the heavens beautiful. (vs. 13a)
– His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. (vs. 13b)
One old preacher said, “This description of God is so weak, it is about to pass out!” The fringe is enough for me to have a fit! His ways are so much greater! No wonder Job was captivated by His presence. No wonder why his appetite for the words of his friends was non-existent.
Forget theology…I want Him! Forget denominations…His fellowship is sweetest! Forget the world…I’m latching on the hem of His garment…even the fringe is awesome!