Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own understanding.”
If Thou Couldest Know
“I think if thou couldest know,
O soul, that will complain,
What lies concealed below
Our burden and our pain,
How just our anguish brings
Nearer those longed-for things
We seek for now in vain,
I think thou would’st rejoice, and not complain.
I think if thou could’st see,
With thy dim mortal sight,
How meanings, dark to thee,
Are shadows hiding light;
Truth’s efforts crossed and vexed,
Life’s purpose all perplexed,
If thou could’st see them right,
I think that they would seem all clear,
and wise, and bright.
And yet thou canst not know,
And yet thou canst not see;
Wisdom and sight are slow
In poor humanity.
If thou could’st trust poor soul,
In Him who rules the whole,
Thou would’st find peace and rest,
Wisdom and right are well, but trust is best.”
Adelaide A. Procter
“No affliction would trouble a child of God, if they knew God’s reasons for sending it.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Fortunate and enviable is the person who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down to relax where the mockers and scornful gather.”
“Seated With the Scoffers”
Psalm 1 Part 5
“There is no other virtue than that of not being scornful.”
Theodore of Pherme
How do I choose what I should scorn?
What does it mean to be found “sitting in the company of the scornful”?
“The things that worldly men and women scorn and shun are honoured and valued by God and His saints, and those that worldly individuals embrace and prize are scorned and hated and shunned by God and His saints. People hate everything that should be loved and love what should be hated.”
Giles of Assisi
“Beloved, I am now writing you this second letter. In both of the letters I have stirred up your sincere mind by way of remembrance. That you should recall the predictions of the dedicated prophets and the commandment of the Lord given through your apostles. To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, people who walk after their own fleshly desires and say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’’’ (II Peter 3:1-4, Amplified Bible).
Near the end of the New Testament are two small books in Scripture attributed to the bold and brash Apostle Peter. While I love the Apostle John and the tenderness found in his gospel and epistles, there’s something about Peter’s flawed behavior and persevering devotion to Christ that draws me closer to my Lord. Thus, I want to take a few moments to look at the revealing message this faithful disciple left in II Peter 3. Biblical scholars date the writing of this book some time between A.D. 63 and 68. It is likely the passage in II Peter 3 was written while Peter was a prisoner in Rome awaiting martyrdom by crucifixion.
Knowing that soon his life on this earth would be over, this stalwart for Jesus wanted his Christian brothers and sisters to find their encouragement in the sure word of Jesus. But he also wanted to alert the young Christian church to be aware of scoffers, whose voices were often loud and mocking, as they howled, “Where’s your God now? Have His promises worked for you? He said He would come again so where is He? It seems your faith is grossly misplaced. What do you have to say about your God now?”
Peter not only warned the early Christian church members that they would hear mocking voices, but then he went a step further by writing the words, “to begin with.” Evidently, scoffers were, as Peter wrote, one of the first signs God’s children, down through time, should keep our eyes open to when it came to the end of time as we know it. And just to help us understand how “scoffers” should be a warning to us “in the last days,” if we thoroughly study the New Testament, over and over again there are warnings for us to take heed and be on the look-out for those individuals who express scorn and derision at the “things of God.” The great Biblical commentator, Matthew Henry, in reference to II Peter 3:1- 4 makes this enlightening comment: “There will be scoffers in the last days…men and women who make light of sin, and mock salvation by Jesus Christ. One principal article of our faith refers to what only has a promise to rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lord comes. They will not believe that He will come. Because they see no changes, therefore they fear not God. What He never has done, they fancy God never can do, or never will do.” As the Apostle Paul warned the Christians in the church at Corinth, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4, E.S.V.).
It is the words of Paul that should draw our attention back to Psalm 1: 1, where we find a clear warning penned – signaling us like a lighthouse to shun the place where the scornful sit to rest and relax as they gather to mock the God of heaven and earth.
One of my favorite pastor/authors, Dale Ralph Davis, in his thought-provoking book, The Way of The Righteous in The Muck of Life, shares these important insights regarding the way we walk and stand and where we choose to sit: “We must always remember that the lure of the wicked and sinners and scoffers does not usually appear in its grossest form. It may come in rather bump-a-long fashion from teachers or friends or families – or even spouses, it simply suggests that if you don’t think this way, you will not be thought sharp; if you don’t act this way; you will not be ‘cool’; if you don’t laugh at what we mock, we don’t want any part of you. Verse 1 of Psalm 1 is not merely a description but a warning, a sort of Old Testament Romans 12: 2, ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Phillips).”
As the Psalmist cautions us, “Don’t walk with and listen to the counsel of the ungodly; don’t stop along the pathway and stand with sinners; and last but not least, don’t get so comfortable you find yourself sitting in the middle of a crowd of scoffers.” In the beautiful words of poet Malthie D. Babcock:
“We are not here to play, to dream, to drift,
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle, face it, ‘tis God’s gift.
Say not the days are evil – whose to blame!
And fold the hands and acquire – O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.”
“In thee would we lose ourselves utterly; do in us what thou wilt.
“Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.
Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to thy rest.
Choose thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose thou my cares for me,
My poverty or wealth.
Not mine, not mine the choice
In things or great or small;
Be thou my guide, my strength,
My wisdom, and my all.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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