You Are My God is the theme of the 2016 Florida College Lectures that Norma Jean and I are attending this week.
It is a series of lessons from the Psalms that addresses our relationship with God. The question that President Buddy Payne raised in his forward to the lecture book is one that is often asked by spiritually minded seekers: “How do I get closer to God?”
The Psalms deal with issues that have a common thread through the history of humankind. How do you deal with difficult times? How do you pray when your heart is breaking? Where do you turn when life throws you an unexpected curve? Why do the wicked seem to prosper when I’m struggling? And more importantly, as my friend Wilson Adams expresses it, “Where is God when I hurt?”
This week promises to be a wonderful week not only studying and learning, but growing closer to God and feeling a deeper spiritual intimacy with Him.
Last night Gary Henry, a former classmate of mine, delivered the key-note address from Psalm 1, His Delight is in the Law of the Lord.” As Gary suggests, this Psalm seems to introduce us to all the other Psalms. His lecture presented the hearer with a series of two contrasts of the two basic ways of life.
There is the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.
Righteous people reverence God. Respect spiritual values. Walk in Divine wisdom. And avoid evil. Wicked people revel in unrighteous. Ridicule righteousness. Live according to their lusts. And embrace evil.
Everyone has 2 fundamental choices in life: Follow the path of reverence or walk the road of rebellion.
The person who is blessed by God does not “take the wicked for his guide.” He does not take his counsel from the ungodly. Gary correctly pointed out that “whatever shapes our thinking shapes our lives, and so when we choose our advisors, we make an important choice.” Righteous people reject the advice, values and attitudes of wicked, worldly people. They do not “stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffer,” who mock God, defy Truth and ridicule righteousness.
Righteous people, as Gary succinctly said it are “directed by God’s Word (and)delighted by God’s word.” They are separated from world and saturated with the Word.
Our choices lead to two different qualities of life
The Psalmist uses two vivid metaphors to mark the stark contrast between the saint and sinner. Godly people are like the tree situated by the water. They are sustained by the nourishment that feeds its roots. They proposer. They’re fruitful. They enjoy God’s blessing.
The wicked are like chaff. The wicked “have no real strength or stability…rather the being solid and substantive, they are easily blown away,” writes Bro. Henry in the lecture book. He further observed that when you are like chaff “you will doom yourself to a life of insignificance, devoid of anything that has lasting value.”
These two decisions produce two dramatically different results in life.
“Ideas have consequences, observes Gary, “and so do decisions.” God, the sovereign Judge, will separate the wicked from the righteous. Our eternal destination depends upon which path we choose. The way of the wicked ends in ruin. The road of the righteous results in reward.
Gary’s lecture concluded by challenging us to make God, our Creator, our King. Submit to Him as our Redeemer. Seek Him as our place of refuge. And learn the true meaning of reverence for Him and His Word. This kind of life will be blessed by God. And produce joy, peace, and delight for the doer of His Word.
This is going to be a good week. A really good week.
Thank you, Lord, for the Psalms that encourage us to a higher and nobler way of living.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman