Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
John 10: 10
The Message Bible
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
John 10: 10
“The abundant life which Christ offers is the possession alone of these whom He designates ‘my sheep.’ It is a spiritual fullness conditional altogether upon likeness to the Lord and walking in that obedience toward God wherein He walked…Have we come to the fountain of life? Are we drinking of its fullness? Are we living in His love? This is the life of our spirit; the health of our body; the secret of our joy! May we seek this overflowing life, and become ‘channels only,’ with ‘all His wondrous power flowing through us’ so that He can use us every day and every hour!”
Evan H. Hopkins
Today’s Study Text:
“Therefore the wicked, those disobedient and living without God, shall not stand in the judgment.”
Psalm 1: 5
“Living Without God”
Psalm 1 Part 18
“Every choice we make in life has the possibility of changing our lives forever.”
What specific choices have I made in my life which resulted in painful consequences?
What do I think the Psalmist meant when he said that those who turn their backs on God will not “stand in the judgment”?
“Your choices on earth have direct consequences on your life in eternity.”
A Life God Rewards
“It is true, that men (and women) may have Christ whenever they are willing to comply with His terms. But if you are not willing now, how can you think you shall be willing hereafter.”
The words above were spoken by Richard Baxter in his sermon entitled, “The Causes and Dangers of Slighting Christ and His Gospel.” Baxter continues by pointing out that at the end of our life, we will be called to “answer for all our sins in our own name.” And then he asked this thought-provoking question: “O then, what would you give for a Saviour?”
This inquiry appears in my eyes to be at the heart of the last two verses of Psalm 1. We recognize the fact that the Psalmist directs our attention to the reality that if we get to the idea we can do as we wish and live without any boundaries in our lives, that there will be direct consequences as a result. Pastor Leah Horton’s comprehensive summary on Psalm 1 leads us back to the words of Moses found in the book of Deuteronomy. I find great wisdom laid out by Moses when addressing the children of Israel at the end of a 40-year trek across the desert wasteland from Egypt to Canaan. Pastor Horton emphasizes the fact that “humans live their lives in relationship to a God who gives them freedom to make decisions.” This, I might add, is something the wandering Israelites knew full-well as they yo-yo’d their way, back and forth between God and thinking that their own judgment was somehow superior to that of the Creator of heaven and earth. Horton obviously recognizes the consequences of disobedience when she writes that in Psalm 1 there are “life-shaping implications of two alternative ways which are clearly laid out.” She states that these two paths are “Echoes of Moses’ speech to the Israelites as they stood ready to cross into the Promised Land: ‘See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in His ways, and observing His commandments, decrees and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30: 15-19).
Then as Pastor Horton concludes her insightful remarks she states that, “The choice that the hearers of the Psalmist and of Moses’ speech are called to make – for or against the Lord their God – is not simply a lifestyle choice. It is a matter of life or death.”
We uncover the same process laid out by the Psalmist who, in describing the plight of the ungodly, reminds us that when judgment is undertaken, the wicked will not be standing in the company of the godly. They will be nowhere to be found among the obedient, or as the Hebrew translation defines the godly: “those who hear intelligently and attentively.” Lest we find ourselves confused at all by the words the Psalmist chooses to use to describe the “judgment” and the position of the ungodly at that particular moment in time, Psalm 1: 5 states that when a verdict is passed down, when the judge makes a determination and a sentence is ready the ungodly will not rise up. As the great Bible commentator Matthew Henry clearly lays out, “The doom of the ungodly is this: they will be cast, upon their trial, as traitors convicted. ‘They shall not stand in the judgment’, that is, they shall be found guilty. They shall hang down their heads with shame and confusion, and all their pleas and excuses will be overruled as frivolous…The ungodly may hope to come off with honor, but their hope will deceive them. ‘They shall not stand in the judgment’ so plain will be the evidence against them and so just and impartial will the judgment be. They will be forever shut out from the society of the blessed.”
While there are dire consequences to the individual choices we each make in our lives, how thankful our hearts can be that we are promised in the words of Horatius Bonar, that as we seek our Father, we will indeed “behold that God who loveth us.”
The poet Edgar Lee Masters in most eloquent language penned this thoughtful prayer:
“Dost Thou not see about our feet
The tangles of our erring thought?
Thou knowest that we run to greet
High hopes that vanish into naught.
We bleed, we fall, we rise again;
How can we be of Thee abhorred?
We are Thy breed, we little men
Have mercy, Lord!”
“In penitence and faith we come before You,
Holy God, and say:
‘This is who we are.’
We are the people
who long for the new heaven and the
new earth but can’t always take the first
step towards it.
Forgive us, gracious God.
We are the people who commit ourselves
to build the community of the Gospel
but we so often betray that hope
and fail each other.
Forgive us, gracious God.
We are those who sometimes see the vision
for our own lives
but we are weak and fall far short
of the dream
Forgive us, gracious God.
In Jesus Christ, we may always announce…
The old order has passed away
and the new creation is before us.
Thanks be to God.
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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