Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, your Savior.”
“’When Thou passest through the waters,’
Deep the waves may be, and cold,
But Jehovah is our refuge
And His promise is our hold;
For the Lord Himself hath said it,
He the faithful God and true;
‘When thou comest to the waters,
Thou shalt not go down, but through.
Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain,
Rolling surges of temptation,
Sweeping over heart and brain,
They shall never overflow us,
For we know His word is true;
All His waves and all His billows
He will lead us safely through.
Threatening breakers of destruction,
Doubt’s insidious undertow,
Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
Out to ocean depths of woe;
For his promise shall sustain us,
Praise the Lord, whose word is true!
We shall not go down or under,
He hath said, ‘Thou passest through.’”
Annie Johnson Flint
Today’s Study Text:
“The ungodly are not so.”
“You’re Not Like the Wicked”
Psalm 1 Part 14
“Don’t ever expect the world to shine for you. God calls you to shine for the world. The world is a dark place, and God has put us where we are to be lights.”
What does it mean in my personal life to be a light to the world?
Where exactly has God put me to radiate His glory?
“Love not the world therefore. Nothing that it contains is worth (our) life and consecration.”
“Now we have not received the spirit that belong to the world, but the Holy Spirit Who is from God, that we might realize and comprehend the gifts of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us by God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12
During our study of God’s Word, we frequently come upon transitional clauses – a group of words which link diverse thoughts together. We find this particular technique used in Psalm 1: 3-4. After an in-depth description of the righteous as a firmly planted fruit tree, the Psalmist turns to laying out what the ungodly are like. But his agricultural comparison between a flourishing tree and dried up chaff is preceded by this very blunt statement – “the ungodly are not so” or as the Amplified Bible states: “Not so the wicked” (Psalm 1: 4). If we want to take one further step in Scripture we can go to The Message Bible which describes the situation with those who honor God in this way: “You’re not at all like the wicked.” What a statement of identity – and these are the words which are found at the beginning of Psalm 1: 4. As I reread the text, it got me to thinking about the word ungodly which appears four times in six verses in Psalm 1. The Hebrew definition of “ungodly” is straight forward: an individual who is morally wrong. In addition, it would help us if we broke apart the word “ungodly.” We find that “un” means “not.” Godly means holy, morally pure. Let’s place these opposites in this fashion – Godly – Godlikeness. Ungodly – Not godlike.
It is in this context that I’d like to take another look at the way Psalm 1: 4 reads in the Everyday Bible: “But wicked people are not like that.” In other words says the Psalmist, those that are not Godlike will not develop into strong, healthy trees. Likewise, those who are Godlike will not be found walking on a path with the ungodly or standing around with sinners or relaxing in a lounge chair with mockers and scoffers.
As David Redding in his treasure of a book, Psalms of David points out: “The ungodly are not so…” They won’t let God live in their lives…they pick and choose for themselves so that they won’t miss anything – and they miss everything. The God-forsaken way is not glamorous, not smart, after all. It peters out because it is an illusion in the evil mind.”
What is it that we can identify as the core problem in the life of the ungodly? The church members in Corinth who received the Apostle Paul’s letter read that you are not self-focused now that you have accepted the Spirit and no longer belong to the world. It would do us well to add these insightful words from author Max Lucado found in his book, Come Thirsty: “The lack of God-centeredness leads to self-centeredness. Sin celebrates its middle letter – sIn.” As Professor Ismael Garcia’s commentary on Psalm 1 points out, “The way and fruits of the wicked, insofar as they disregard or deny God’s Word, are not fitting for God’s providential purpose and thus will not endure. They will not be remembered and will not be part of God’s providential purpose. The self-centeredness of the wicked becomes an obstacle to recognizing that the only true way is the one initiated by God. Further, there is no way of overcoming our sin by ourselves, because left to our own devices, we cannot recognize our self-centeredness as a sin.”
More than one Biblical scholar kept returning to the fact that being “ungodly” doesn’t have to mean I murdered someone which would outwardly appear as a heinous crime in the eyes of the public. Instead, my ungodly behavior could be seeking what the world tells me is important and trying to appease that hungry “I want” feeling which screams out in my life rather than following the guiding hand of my Father.
Pastor Carolyn Waters sheds even more light on Psalm 1 when she describes the happy and blessed person as “those who do not live by the advice of the wicked, but rather walk hand in hand with goodness.” She then details the fact that the Psalmist knew better than anyone that “turning from the advice of the wicked or walking hand in hand with goodness could be accomplished only with God’s help…We forget that we cannot live this life by ourselves. We cannot be the people God desires us to be without complete surrender and dependence on God. It is not right behavior and actions that win us God’s favor. Rather the realization of our need for God in our lives softens the places that wickedness comes from and empowers us to be a loving people. Blessed are those who find such a relationship with the Creator and one another!”
“Don’t presume to direct your own life on your own terms. Discovering the will of your Creator and Savior – and walking in that will may not be the most ‘secure’ way to live, according to the world’s standards. But I assure you of this: It will be the most fulfilling thing that could ever happen to you.”
Circle Me Lord
“Circle me Lord
Keep protection near
And danger afar
Circle me Lord
Keep hope within
Keep doubt without
Circle me Lord
Keep light near
And darkness afar
Circle me Lord
Keep peace within
Keep evil out.”
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God
But it is a much more fearful thing to
fall out of them…
Save me, O God from falling into the
ungodly knowledge of myself
as I am without God.
Let me never know, O God
let me never know what I am or
should be when I have fallen out
of Your hands, the hands of the
Save me, O God!
Let me never know myself apart
from the living God!”
D. H. Lawrence
“Write Thy blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity, shall ever move me from Thy love. Be Thou to me a strong tower of defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble, and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life.”
Thomas a Kempis
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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