Our Choices Determine the Outcome
INTERESTING FACTS : George Washington, JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; "FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY"
"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are."
Daily Reading : PSALMS 17 - 20
TEXT : Psa 18:24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. Psa 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; Psa 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. Psa 18:27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.
THEME : SOWING AND REAPING
Nothing is more apparent in life than the clear observation of what is sown is grown. Perhaps, when our culture was more agrarian than today, this truth would be remembered better since the application was before the people all the time. In any case, the principle of sowing and reaping is easy to understand - we grow what we sow. There is not a more simple principle in the Bible to comprehend. Moreover, this fact of life permeates all that we do. It shows itself in every aspect - from our [private] thoughts to our public statements. All of our deeds, actions, and activities have a corresponding result. The Newtonian Law - "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" applies as well.
What concerns us most, or should concern us most, is God's Moral Government. There is judgment in this world, and more so in the world to come. Moreover, how we are judged depends on our character. No one can complain that God is unjust. He judges us by our own standards!
Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
"The dealings of the Lord in his own case, cause the grateful singer to remember the usual rule of God's moral government; he is just in his dealings with the sons of men, and metes out to each man according to his measure. "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright." Every man shall have his meat weighed in his own scales, his corn meted in his own bushel, and his land measured with his own rod. No rule can be more fair, to ungodly men more terrible, or to the generous more honourable. How would men throw away their light weights, and break their short yards, if they could but believe that they themselves are sure to be in the end the losers by their knavish tricks? Note that even the merciful need mercy; no amount of generosity to the poor, or forgiveness to enemies, can set us beyond the need of mercy. Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner." [C.H. SPURGEON]
If we are ever to err in life, let us err on the side of mercy. The reason is apparent - we reap what we sow. Many a professing Christian has no room for mercy, but would rather judge by law, usually [a] law, or laws of their own making. Many Churches have standards not found in the Bible, yet make these same [laws] equal to God's Moral Character. Thus, we perpetuate problem after problem. Living for the LORD is difficult enough in this world without the added affliction of being castigated by superficial, or perhaps thoroughly unrighteous Church members. Thus, since we will judged by the standard we have employed to judge others we should exercise caution and compassion.
"With the merciful - From the particular statement respecting the divine dealings with himself the psalmist now passes to a general statement (suggested by what God had done for him) in regard to the general principles of the divine administration. That general statement is, that God deals with men according to their character; or, that he will adapt his providential dealings to the conduct of men. They will find him to be such toward them as they have shown themselves to be toward him. The word merciful refers to one who is disposed to show kindness or compassion to those who are guilty, or to those who injure or wrong us." [ALBERT BARNES]
The Scriptures are clear - those who are born of the Spirit do not sin. That is, those who [truly] know Christ no longer willfully disobey God. They cannot because they have the Spirit of Christ. The occasional "slip" or lapse of judgment is common. However, the "practice" of sin is no longer a part of the man or woman who is a follower of Christ. To willfully sin, is to depart or defect from Christ. However, Christ will show Himself faithful as we are faithful - even as we read in Psalm 18.
"Those that forsake the ways of the Lord, depart from their God. But though conscious to ourselves of many a false step, let there not be a wicked departure from our God. David kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands. Constant care to keep from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, proves that we are upright before God. Those who show mercy to others, even they need mercy. Those who are faithful to God, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. The words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on, and very sweet to be delighted in. Those who resist God, and walk contrary to him, shall find that he will walk contrary to them, Lev_26:21-24. The gracious recompence of which David spoke, may generally be expected by those who act from right motives. Hence he speaks comfort to the humble, and terror to the proud; "Thou wilt bring down high looks." And he speaks encouragement to himself; "Thou wilt light my candle:" thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit; thou wilt guide my way, that I may avoid the snares laid for me. Thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee. Let those that walk in darkness, and labour under discouragements, take courage; God himself will be a Light to them." [MATTHEW HENRY]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "OUR CHOICES DETERMINE THE OUTCOME!"
The Scripture is clear on this point - draw near to God and He will draw near to you. This is one of the many aspects of sowing and reaping. So is the [metaphor] of cleansing our hands from wrongdoing. The best seed sown in life comes from a mind that is singular and undivided in its purpose to love, serve, and obey God. [Jas_4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.]
"With the froward - עקש ikkesh, the perverse man; he that is crooked in his tempers and ways.
Thou wilt show thyself froward - תתפתל tithpattal, thou wilt set thyself to twist, twine, and wrestle. If he contend, thou wilt contend with him. Thou wilt follow him through all his windings; thou wilt trace him through all his crooked ways; untwist him in all his cunning wiles; and defeat all his schemes of stubbornness, fraud, overreaching, and deceit.
My old Psalter has, With the wiked thow sal be wike. Here the term wicked is taken in its true original sense, crooked, or perverse. With the wiked, the perverse, thou wilt show thyself wike, i.e., perverse; from to draw back, to slide. As he draws back from thee, thou wilt draw back from him. It may, as before intimated, come from to seek for enchantments; leaving God, and going to devils; to act like a witch: but here it must mean as above. The plain import is, "If thou perversely oppose thy Maker, he will oppose thee: no work or project shall prosper that is not begun in his name, and conducted in his fear." [ADAM CLARKE]
When a person is pure - in heart, he or she is free from contamination and corruption of thought or deed. Therefore, the LORD shows purity to the pure, and with the impure, He permits the fruit of uncleanness and vexation of spirit to reign in their life. However, He permits Man to choose his way - the way of the LORD, or the way of the world [wickedness].
"Pure - Free from the least mixture or appearance of unrighteousness, or unfaithfulness. Froward - Thou wilt cross him and walk contrary to him." [JOHN WESLEY]
Again, with respect to mercy, the person who sows generously in this area will reap plentifully. Pity the man or woman who does not sow mercifully, for they shall have no mercy in their own judgment by God! God, is no respect of persons. He gives according to what people have sown.
Rom 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Rom 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. Rom 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: Rom 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Let us all keep in mind that our choices determine our outcome!