Devotional Word for Wednesday, May 13, 2020
It’s funny how the Holy Spirit puts particular verses in your mind to stay. Psalms 25 and 34 are memorable to me because of the songs I learned from them. I’ve explained that to you previously. In a completely different fashion, the Holy Spirit made verse 8 of each of those Psalms memorable to me as well. Why verse 8 of each Psalm? I don’t know. Those two verse 8s serve as a double-barreled explanation of how God works in the lives of His people. Let me explain to you what I mean.
Psalm 25:8 says this: Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way. That may seem like a nice little verse that doesn’t say much out of the ordinary. That would not be correct. What it does say is that God instructs sinners. One thing people resist is the notion that they are truly, beyond any reasonable doubt, in-the-flesh sinners. Most folk will say they may go astray from time to time, or they may go astray a lot, but they have good hearts, they’re not bad people.
In our contemporary society there is an assumption that people are basically good. The problem is with society, or with lack of education, or lack of opportunity, or some other cause. But if left to themselves, people would be OK. Any suggestion to the contrary will get you labelled as a hater. That’s not a good designation. In verse 8 of Psalm 25 God is described as good and upright because He instructs sinners in the way.
The apostle Peter certainly understood such to be the case. Remember the beggar lame from birth whom God healed when Peter told the man he had neither silver or gold, but told the man to rise and walk in the name of the Lord Jesus! The man did so. He entered the temple complex with Peter and John. He did so walking and leaping and praising God. As you can image, that attracted a crowd. It was an occasion Peter did not waste: he preached to the people. The whole account is found in Acts 3. But listen to the winsome way Peter concludes his sermon: God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways. [Acts. 3:26] From scripture and from personal experience, Peter had no delusions about the character of the human heart, nor of the gracious goodness of God in confronting the situation with real people. That’s barrel number 1. Humans are sinners.
Psalm 34:8 says this: O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Despite the fact that God confronts sinners, they should not be put off by that. Don’t run from God, run to Him. That’s one thing we Christians should know. Yes, God confronts us about our sin, but not for the purpose of condemning us. He invites us to take refuge in Him. Draw near to the Lord, that is, taste and see that the Lord is good.
Peter – the same fellow who told the crowds in the temple about their wicked ways – in his first epistle describes the Christian experience like this: . . . though you have not seen Him [i.e. the Lord Jesus], you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. [1 Pet. 1:8] There’s nothing better than knowing God. Especially if you’re a sinner! He fills you with the light of life; He fills you with insuppressible joy. That’s barrel number 2. God makes sorrowful sinners into jubilant saints.
Those two verse 8s are steady pillars in my walk with the Lord. I’m certain that God will make my sin in its particular expressions known to me – because He is good and upright. I also know He invites me to come to Him, to taste and see the wonderful provision He has for sinners who take refuge in Jesus’ atonement. What I find is what Jesus Himself said in John 7:38, He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” I don’t try to convince people they do not have a sin problem, quite the opposite. Everyone needs to know they have a sin problem. It’s right and good to know so. I do try to convince people to go to the Lord, to seek Him, for they will find that He is good. They will find that He has food that will delight and satisfy their soul.
There you go! Two verse 8s to place a pillars in your walk with God, and as pillars in your talk with those in your sphere of influence. Let us pray: Lord God, we know the problem with us humans is that we don’t face up to who we really are, what we’re really like. Thank You for confronting us, for making us see how lost and confused we are. We pray for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, to bring joyful assurance of pardon, and to transform sinners into saints. May the Gospel of Jesus Christ bear fruit here where we live and all around the globe. May Your name be praised. Amen.