The wicked and righteous are opposites on more than just actions. Their rewards, methods, and ‘cheering section’ are opposed to one another.
I’m forever trying to find one uniting thread in the verses that are grouped together. I’m challenged quite often. Today is one of those days. I pray the Holy Spirit ties it all together for me, and you too.
Looking quickly at our verses they say something about the lives lived on two different paths. One of righteousness and the other of evil. One would expect EVERYTHING to be perfect for the one living a righteous life. Rainbows and lollipops. It doesn’t always work that way though. We spoke of this last time too. Even with that in mind, what I feel like today is showing God’s heart looking at the two opposite paths. He has promised to balance the scale but in the meantime, here is what He sees along the way.
God is NOT blind to our sin. He sees it ALL and loves us still! That’s why He sent His Son Jesus. But day to day, what does He see?
Verse 9 speaks of one who refuses to hear God’s word. It is all around him. Spoken of is the streets. Promoted in the celebrations. Stories so familiar that EVERYONE seems to know them, or at least have heard of them. This person certainly has. He may even be a man who goes to church out of a sense of duty. He receives nothing from his time there except recognition and praise for a ‘life well lived’. Outside the church, he does as he pleases. He engages in whatever vices he chooses. And there is NO remorse.
The prayers this man offers as part of his ‘ritual’ turn God’s stomach. They stink to high heaven because of the pretense they are filled with. Any that he does offer that are sincere are for his own benefit. God looks on those and shakes His head. “Does he think I am blind!” How could we turn away from God’s laws/relationship with Him and then expect Him to answer our prayers?!?! The NERVE of man!
Next we visit the man who makes it his mission in life to take as many people to Hell with him as he can. He will say whatever he can to get his foot in the door. It will often be a half-truth painted over to be easily swallowed. Then he begins to twist the facts and even God’s word to suit his evil purposes. By the time the ‘upright’ person figures it out, they are in the middle of sin. They are up to their neck in trouble. But in leading the righteous one away from the truth, the ‘leader’ is in as deep as those that follow. They fall into their own pit.
The “Heavens Gate” cult is a prime example of this. Doctrine changed just a little bit, to entice followers, ends up so convoluted that there is NO recognizing it from its origins. By the end, the leader was just as delusional as his followers. He ‘drank the kool-aid’ first. He fell into his own trap. I can see God shaking His head in disbelief at how far afield this group ran.
Those that hold fast to the truth WILL inherit from the Lord. NOT from some false prophet or con artist but from the Lord Himself. Our inheritance is Heaven, but that doesn’t mean God can’t bless us along the way to that inheritance. He watches over His children and gives good gifts along the way.
Money does NOT buy understanding, wisdom, favor. Money doesn’t mean anything to God. What matters in the heart. Regardless of rags or rubies, understanding raises one man above another. Man may not recognize it but God does. Understanding GOD’S word, NOT Plato’s or Shakespeare’s.
A man with understanding from the Lord will NOT be fooled into equating wealth with wisdom or godliness. Satan may help an evil man become ‘important’ in this life but he will have NOTHING in the next. His money will burn away as quickly as straw in a furnace. And their eternal state will be no better; eternal burning. At least their money had an end to its ‘pain’. They won’t. God shakes His head again at what they are putting their trust in.
Our last comparison looks more at those effected by the lives of the individual than the individual’s specific consequences. One group who is ALWAYS looking on is the angles. When a single soul turns to the Lord, the angels rejoice. EACH soul is celebrated. I have a feeling that the demons mourn with the loss. I have a feeling that it works in reverse when even one man dies, rejecting God’s precious gift. As Jesus said, “Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. And you would not let me!” (Matthew 23:37).
When men rise to power in our world, the ones who are righteous USED TO inspire us all to be better ourselves. The people rejoiced as the benefits of a righteous and caring leader rolled down onto them. Yet, on the other side of that coin, when an evil leader rises the people scatter in fear. Ivan the Terrible was one such leader. Hitler was another. They divided the masses with their ideas and anyone who didn’t go along with them had better RUN. A world impacted by the evil of a few men. Or a world raised up through the good of another.
Sometimes I wonder why God allows such men to rise to power. Then I remember all the men in such positions He used to complete HIS plan. He knows what He is doing. I have to trust in that alone. And HANG ON TIGHT!
Father God, forgive me for every time I made You shake Your head in wonder or sorrow while watching my life. I wouldn’t mind the ‘wonder’ if it is for a good thing I did. I don’t want to disappoint you. Please keep me safe while the battle of opposites rages on in this world. I HATE the state that it is in now, but I also KNOW that it has to go here to meet up with the plans You already laid out for it.
Soon Father? Is it time yet?