Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning.” Psalm 73:13 CSB
When going through difficult seasons, it is easy to lose perspective, focus shifts from eternal to temporal. Why did we purify our hearts? Why did we choose to follow Christ? For ease of living? For prosperity during during the few allotted years on earth? What a foolish and small goal that is to have!
If that is our end game, we are fools! After all, the wicked prosper in this life and they have no regard for the things of God. They care not about holiness yet their lives are filled great prosperity many times. But we have an infinitely greater prosperity for eternal life is our prize! God’s face is what we seek!
No man can stand before God without holiness (Hebrews 12:14). For sinful man to become holy, there must be a purification. The sinful must be removed leaving only only the holy. Pride, hatred, self-reliance, self-righteousness and dozens of other sinful traits must be killed off and that is the purpose of trial in the life of God’s children.
Only being humbled will kill pride. Experiencing the effects of other’s hate filled acts toward us reveals the hatred in our heart. Self-reliance only yields to dependence upon God when met with the end of our ability. Self-righteousness is only brought to light when the consequences of our sin is laid bare for all to see.
No my friends, we did not purify our hearts in vain and it wasn’t for mere earthly good but eternal blessing. We “afflicted all day long and punished every morning” to prepare us, equip us, make a way for us to live in the eternal pleasures and joy of God’s holiness! Affliction is not a curse but a blessing to those seeking eternity.
“When the wicked person dies his expectation comes to nothing”
What do you hope for? A better job? More wealth? Better looks? A New car? I ask again, what do you hope for? More knowledge? More power and authority? More business savvy?
The day we die, these hopes die with us, they “come to nothing”. If we acquired them, they stay here to be enjoyed by others. If they are still out of reach they will be for all eternity and we leave here with empty hands. Death does not concern itself with our hopes and dreams and despite our aspiring expectations down here we will have nothing show for them there if our expectations were confined to the here and now.
There is only one thing which we may hope for that will be in heaven. Only one hope is able to be carried with us and gloriously fulfilled through death. God! Place your hope in God, let your expectations be to see His face and that hope will come to pass. You will eternally bask in the glow of met expectations if your hope is in the eternal God.
“When arrogance comes, disgrace follows but with humility comes wisdom” Proverbs 11:2
Pride, the original sin of Satan, boasts of our ability. It proclaims we are worthy of admiration. Pride attempts to steal praise from God and remove Him from the thrown. It was pride Satan peddled to Eve in Genesis 3, “you will be like God” he boasted. It was pride which caused the people of Babel to build a tower saying, “let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:3). It was pride which made Samson believe he could “escape as I did before and shake myself free” in his own power after he caved to Delilah’s seduction not knowing “the Lord had left him” (Judges 16:20)
It was also pride which caused man to be cast out of the Garden and caused Samson to be rendered useless, a washed up blind man, the laughing stock of the heathens. Oh my friend, the pride of Babel which God had to “come down” (Genesis 11:4) to see. This mighty tower of Babel of which they boasted, “let us build a tower to the heavens” and yet with a word God, stooping to see this glorious work of man’s power, toppled it as if it were made of Lincoln Logs.
We can, in our ignorance, attempt to be God but He will always be higher! He will always be wiser! He will always be stronger! We vainly seek praise, honor, and glory for ourselves while reaping an abundance of disgrace. “Pride goes before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) is the immutable law of arrogance, yet we return day after day, like flies trying to escape a car through closed windows, to try to defy it. Oh the preposterousness of pride!
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God'” Matthew 22:29
There have always been those who passionately debate, calling themselves proclaimers of truth, having no idea they are actually fighting against it. Their passion, zeal, and dedication, like the early morning fog, clouds the view of the light bringing confusion not clarity. Without an understanding of scripture, passion becomes pretense. As a result they unknowingly battle to make wrong seem right and in doing so hinder (if it were possible) the advance of truth.
Jesus said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures…” but simply knowing the scriptures intellectually is not enough. That is why He followed that up by saying, “…nor the power of God”. Our knowledge of scripture must be coupled with the power of God. It is vitally important we submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, searching scripture with His mind and not ours. Without doing so our knowledge is incomplete and our debate for truth becomes the foolish babbling of ignorant arrogance.
“…For I will forgive their wrongdoing and I will never again remember their sins” Jeremiah 31:34
It is mind boggling to think God, who by nature cannot forget, would choose to do just that. Yet, he promises He will remember our sins no more! Can God recall the events of our sin? Yes, but he chooses not to and instead remembers His son died to redeem of us from that sin. What does that mean for us?
“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28
We are inundated with what we call the American dream in this country. From birth we are taught we can work hard and buy a house with a white picket fence, two car garage, and lots and lots of stuff. The purpose of making money is to buy things that will make us feel accomplished, admired, secure, and happy. The problem with the American Dream is there is a glaring hole in the middle of it, and it will never satisfy us because we were made for more.
“The world was not worthy of them” Hebrews 11:38
In this day when the church is trying so hard to find relevance and acceptance, to be loved by the world, these words are a glaring contradiction of thought. We seek to be counted worthy by the world but those listed in this chapter of the faithful are said to be such that world is not worthy of them.
I guess you could say they were too sexy for this world. Are you?