Sometimes you can read whole chapters of the Bible that speak to you, and sometimes all it takes is a simple sentence. This next verse is short but contains what I feel is a powerful truth.
Psalm 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
So many people who don’t know the Lord view him as this wrathful deity waiting to rain down fire and brimstone on those who don’t do exactly what He says the moment He says it. They’ll find a nice vengeful verse from the old testament and cling to it as their definition of God. There are also those who know they have a need for God in their lives, but they feel like they’re not good enough for Him. They think they need to clean themselves up, try to wrestle with the sin in their life and then they’ll come to church and follow Jesus.
I think this verse works for both categories, because it’s just such a gorgeous look at the heart of God. And what I love is that this was written during the Old Testament times. In an age when God did at times rain down vengeance on the wicked, David still understood the heart of the Lord. He’s a God of right and wrong, yes, and He’s a God who will seek justice, yes, but look at what David says in this verse. He doesn’t say that the Lord destroys sinners. It doesn’t say that He casts out sinners. It doesn’t say that He hates sinners. It says that He instructs sinners in the way. What way? The way of goodness and holiness and righteousness and love.
When I hear people talk and they reveal this idea they have of a hateful God, it breaks my heart, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s not waiting in the heavens, cackling with glee over the chance to shove sinners into hell. The Bible tells us that’s not the case.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
He doesn’t want to condemn people, He wants to teach them a better a way. A way that leads to joy and purpose and freedom and everlasting life.
Then there’s that second category, the people who think they need to clean themselves up before they come to the Lord. I think sometimes people can get that way, especially when they’ve maybe had some less than favorable interactions in church in their past. I used to think this way even, a long time ago. When I was a teenager I felt a lot of pressure at my church because I viewed it as a holy place filled with these holy people. It seems so naive now, but I remember this pressure I had to not let on that I didn’t have it totally together because in my mind everyone there had it totally together. That’s not what a church is. It’s a soul hospital, and the people who are there go because they need healing and help. We go because we recognize that we’re sick, and we need the touch of the great physician. If you’re in a church with people who act perfect and look down on you because you’re not perfect, you may not be in the right church. Or at the very least, you’re interacting with someone who isn’t being honest and isn’t acting like they should. Nobody’s perfect, and God doesn’t expect us to be. We need Him, and He knows it. He’s the cleanser and the redeemer, we come to Him full of weakness and sin and fall at His feet and allow Him to make miraculous moves in our lives. Like the verse says, He instructs sinners in the way. It doesn’t say He instructs perfect people in the way. He wants to help sinners walk the good path, the God path, but that can’t happen until you come to Him. I know I’m going on and on about this, but it’s just on my heart. Maybe someone reading this falls into this category or maybe you know someone who has used this excuse before. God loves sinners. He sent His only son to die for them. He wants us as we are. He wants to work with us, to instruct us in His way. But He can’t do that if you won’t let Him, you have to take a step and come to Him and allow that instruction to take place.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
For prayers today, I just felt the gift of the Bible on my heart, so I want to pray about that. Father God, today I just want to thank you for your word. So much of my life was wasted being ignorant of your word, but I’m so thankful that I have the Bible in my life now. There’s no other book like this book. Thank you for the joy and wisdom and knowledge that just pours out of this book when I read it. Thank you for the hunger you awoke in me for your word this year. It’s been such a blessing and honor to dig into the Bible and start experiencing the goodness of this book. You love us, God, and I know that because I feel it every day, and every time I read your word it reaches out and reminds me of that love. You’re present on these pages, and I’m so thankful for that. Thank you, Lord, for your book. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
As usual, the blog is off tomorrow before returning on Thursday. As I move into Psalm 26 and 27 I’m so excited as the Lord really blew me away with something in Psalm 27. There’s also a great story I’ll share sometime (maybe Thursday also) about the writing of that particular study.
I love you guys and I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start. God is in your corner, and He loves you and is there for you. Remember Him in the good times and the bad!