You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes. The proud have formed a lie against me, but I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
We ended our study yesterday with the admission by the psalmist that when he went astray he suffered affliction. Today he affirms that even with all of that, God is good! And He is good, always! In 1 John 1:5 we read, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” “Darkness” and “light” symbolize good and evil. Since God always does good, then for Him to teach us hard lessons is also good. Keeping His statutes is of value when one is being lied about by the proud. But the Bible says, “[although] a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him. Do not fret because of evil doers, nor be envious of the wicked; for there will be no prospect for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those given to change; for their calamity will rise suddenly” (Proverbs 24:16-22). And in Romans, we read, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:17-21).
People often idolize those who are “winners,” even if they’re utter failures in other ways. But not only are we called to a higher standard as sons of God, but His people define success differently from the world’s idea of success. Early role models in the lives of many Christians are men like Chuck Smith, Billy Graham, D. L. Moody, or Charles Spurgeon—fallible men, to be sure, but dedicated men because of the cross of Christ. Therefore, they’re associated with “success” in the Christian realm. Whose name comes up in your family when talking with your kids about “heroes”? A moral failure who can put a ball in a hoop or run across a goal line? Or someone who’s seeking to bring glory to God?
Let’s go back to the Shema in the Old Testament.” Take a look at the “Father Hood” from that perspective: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of then when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut 6:4-9).
Men, if you’re teaching the Word to your children through words and actions, God sees you as a success, and you’ll be prosperous and successful, according to His definition. My hope is to sharpen the ax for all of us that we might succeed as God’s children and that every home here today would be a holy habitation. If you’re a success in the things of God, you’ll be rewarded greatly in heaven. Success in God’s eyes means living by His Word—even when you’re lied about—and returning good for evil, doing good to those who hate you.
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