Beside Still Waters: To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. —Psalm 92: 13-15

DID YOU KNOW that if you are planted in God’s house now, you will flourish in His courts one day? It’s so easy to get our eyes off of that idea and onto the wickedness that surrounds us. But in these verses, we’re reminded that although the wicked spring up like grass (and they do seem to!), the righteous stand tall like the cedars of Lebanon. The wicked will indeed flourish, but it will only be for “a moment,” and then they will be destroyed forever, while those who dwell in the house of the Lord will flourish forever.

When I read verse 14, I think of Caleb. In Numbers 32:11-12, the Lord speaks: “Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb . . . and Joshua . . . for they have wholly followed the Lord.”

Caleb appears before Joshua, saying, “The Lord has kept me alive . . . these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war. . . . Now, therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there. . . . It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said” (Josh14:10-12).

Biblical righteousness is twofold. There is positional or imputed, righteousness, which is directly from the Lord. And there is practical righteousness, or obedience, which is what is in view here. Obedience to the Lord will always be met with divine power and opportunity. There may not be many 85-year-olds like Caleb, who can say, “I am as physically strong as I was when I was 40,” but our spirits never age. We can still bear fruit and bring God glory even in our old age. In fact, we ought to be stronger in trust and praise than ever before, the older we get, because God’s faithfulness has been evidenced in our lives so many times in the past.

And this, too, is a reason to trust and praise the Lord yesterday, today, and forever. God blesses our obedience with divine power and opportunities to bear fruit, independent of age: “I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Ps 37:25). We should be fresh and even flourish in these last days, friends. Our purpose, as God’s chosen people, is the same: “To declare [publicly proclaim] that the Lord is upright and is our Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Although the words of a known compromiser are seldom believed and have no power, the words of those who are obedient to God will bear fruit all the days of their lives as they glorify the upright and righteous God whom they serve.

True praise is an expression of thankfulness for all that God has done, is doing, and will do. The will of God cannot change, for He changes not. So praise Him in the morning for His loving-kindness, and praise Him for His faithfulness at night, when those plagues of life keep you awake. Praise is an ointment to your soul. In a world of lies and injustice, remember this: in the end, truth and justice will prevail. Finally, obey God, and you’ll be blessed with power and opportunities to bear fruit all the days of your life. Obedience brings what is better than anything the enemy or the world has to offer every time. And this is true, yesterday, today, and forever.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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