1 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. 3 But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. (Psalm 68:1–3, NKJV)
The mere presence of God scatters His enemies like so much smoke that the wind blows away. As wax melts before the fire, the haters of God perish before Him. So, instead of being overwhelmed with fear and doubt when the wicked appear to be winning the day, the righteous will continue to rejoice. They are sure the enemies of God will never overcome. He is always victorious; His purposes unshaken by those who hate Him. Rise up, O Lord, rise up. Our hope is stayed on You.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Ephesians 4:17–21, NKJV)
Evil thinking produces evil living. Paul describes the futile, dark, alienating ignorance that blinded the hearts of the pagans idolaters (the “Gentiles”). Ephesus was full of such people (cf. Acts 19:21-41). Removing the true God and knowledge of His truth from one’s thoughts always dulls one’s consciousness of sin, which invariably leads to choosing all manner of lewd, impure and greedy conduct. The gospel of Jesus teaches us to purify our hearts in order to live holy lives. The truth found in Jesus Christ does not keep us in sin. His truth does not lead us into more sin. Truth teaches us to put off the old man of sin (conversion to Christ) and to put on “the new man” of “true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:17-19, 24).
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24, ESV)
This is not a warning against making friends. Rather, it is a reminder to choose our friends carefully, for they will either contribute to our ruin or be a stalwart companion in time of trouble. A multitude of friends may indicate one is indiscriminate, unable to discern a genuine friend from an opportunist. Godly friendships are valuable and require trust. Loyal friends are a true blessing as they share their qualities of kindness, goodness, godliness and righteousness with us. A true friend does not lead us into the trouble, pain and spiritual death of sin. A real friend encourages us to think soberly, choose wisely, speak kindly and live honestly. Let us nurture godly friendships with others by being such a friend to others.
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NKJV)
How often has someone defended their immoral conduct with, “It’s my body, I’ll do whatever I want to with it!”? The word of God says your body really does not belong to you. Your body belongs to God. He created your body for your spirit to inhabit until you die (Eccl. 12:7). Because God gave us our bodies, He expects us to use our bodies for things that are pure, holy and good, not defile it with sexual immorality and other sins (1 Thess. 4:3-4). Everything we do with our bodies ought to honor God and not ourselves. Bodies are pierced, tattooed and disfigured, intoxicated and illegally medicated – all in the name of preference and personal freedom. Shouldn’t we be asking what does God prefer and propose I do with my body? Are you honoring God or dishonoring yourself in your body?
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8, NKJV)
Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, signify the exclusive nature of Jesus Christ. He alone is God’s revelation to man; the “Word” now given in written form (Jno. 1:18; Heb. 1:2; 1 Cor. 14:37). There is no God before Him or after Him. As the “Beginning and the End” He is all-inclusive, the source and the summation of all things. He is eternal God who has always existed and will never cease to be. He is “Almighty God” (Isa. 9:6). Many wish to relegate Jesus to inferiority below God Almighty. The very opposite must be acknowledged when today’s verse is compared to Isaiah 44:6: “This says the Lord, the Kind of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts; I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God” (Isa. 44:6). Jesus is God; Eternal in being, all-powerful in scope, and the complete revelation of truth for all of mankind.
46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:46–48, NKJV)
Jesus is the light of the world. His words are as a beacon of light, illuminating this dark world of sin and showing the way of salvation. Every person who hears His words and refuses to believe in Him is choosing to abide in sin’s darkness and spiritual death. The word that leads us to believe and follow Jesus is also the standard that judges all who refuse His words. Unbelievers will be judged in the last day by the word of Jesus. This gives us all the more reason to receive the words of Jesus and walk in the light of His truth (1 Jno. 1:6-7).
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1–2, NKJV)
Happy and fortunate is the person who positively decides to avoid the influences of sin and sinners, whether they be subtle or blatant. This person knows the ungodly have their counsel, the sinners have their path and the scornful have their seat. Let us learn from this wise one and not follow the counsel of those who are unconcerned about following God. Sinners find many ways to sin, and every path they take must be refused. Loitering in the way with sinners brings you into sin’s presence and even greater temptations. The scornful are those who mock at sin and at God. They are settled in their impiety and must be avoided. Take joy in God’s law and its righteous rule. Always have God’s law on your mind and let it direct you away from spiritual dangers. By doing so you can find contentment, peace and the blessing of God’s favor.
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23–24, NKJV)
Love is demonstrable, confirmed by our actions toward the one whom we profess to love (1 Jno. 3:18). Those who show their love for Christ by keeping His word are loved by the Father and the Son. Jesus promises an abiding relationship is established by God with the person whose obedience confirms his love for God. The converse is also true. A lack of love for Jesus is shown by not obeying His words. When we do not obey the words of God we cannot claim to love God. So then, Jesus gives us a verifiable way to know if we love Him and are in a relationship with Him. By keeping His word we confirm our love for Him, and His word assures us of His love and presence in our lives.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:9–10, NKJV)
Pride is subtle and sinister; a sin that is only overcome in Christ by godly sorrow and complete repentance. Pride lifts up a person in his own opinion of himself. Humility, on the other hand, lowers its estimation of itself before both God and men. Pride leads people to laugh at sin instead of mourning its pain, sorrow and spiritual death. We must mourn our transgressions instead of taking pleasure in sin. Then, our heart is in the right position for the Lord to lift us up. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll, that it may be for time to come, forever and ever: 9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11 Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:8–11, NKJV)
The rebellion of Jerusalem was reaching a climax in the days of Isaiah. God told Isaiah to announce their spiritual condition without ambiguity. They were rebellious liars who refused to listen to God’s word. They preferred “smooth things” – false messages that soothed their ears yet deceived their hearts. Therefore, they were on a path away from the Holy One of Israel — and they liked it that way! This still happens today. Better to hear and accept the stinging rebuke of truth that leads to repentance, correction and divine mercy, instead of rebelliously refusing to listen to God’s word and by doing so, push God out of your life.