Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Choosing Our Associates

Psalm 26:1-12

A Psalm of David.

 “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Psalm 26:1-2)

As we saw in the previous Psalm, David was very conscious of some serious sin and iniquity in his own life, yet he didn’t hesitate to present himself for judgment, knowing God’s mercy.  David had trusted in God and had nothing to fear.  Christians should have that same assurance that as I John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   God does not simply ignore the sin, but as Romans 3:21-26 tells us, Jesus pays our penalty. 

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)

As a result the record of our sin is erased from the books so that there will be no charges against us  when the books are opened on the day of judgment, as Colossians 2:14 tells us.  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”  We will not even have to appear at the Great White Throne judgment because we will not be on trial. 

Knowing that, Hebrews 10:35-39 warns us not to lose confidence in God’s forgiveness.  “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.   For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”  Why insult God by not believing him.  While those have not truly believed will be condemned, those who have will not lose their salvation, and should not live in that fear.

“For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.  I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.  I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked.   I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. ” (Psalm 26:3-7)

Because he was so aware of how much God loved him, David had done his best to follow God’s commands as a demonstration of his love, just as Jesus said in John 14:15.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”   He had chosen to avoid association with those who thought they were better and smarter than others or tried to fool people into thinking they were.  He refused to go along with or condone the things wicked people did, even when it was accepted by the majority.  He was determined to keep his life right and to focus on the things of God.

People often don’t realize how much those we associate with affect our relationship with God.  David made the choice to avoid those associations so a sense of guilt would not destroy his relationship with God, as Hebrews 10:22-27 warns.  “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” 

One of the most important reasons for attending church is to associate ourselves with people who will encourage us in doing what is right rather than in the things that are wrong.  In the process we also encourage others.  Without that encouragement, we are likely to get involved in sin and find ourselves living with a conscience that interferes with our peace with God.  

“LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.  Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.” (Psalm 26:8-10)

David had loved going to God’s house, and asked that he not find his attitude change so he wanted to associate with the bad boys, the cruel and selfish who love to cause trouble and cheat or bribe people to get their way. 

“But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.  My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.” (Psalm 26:11-12)

David had committed himself to doing what was right and felt free to ask God to protect him and save him because he was standing on level ground where there was no danger of slipping.  He wasn’t pushing the envelope, trying to see how far he could go.

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