THE PROBLEM WITH FRETTING
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I am astounded at the moral turmoil in our country, America. Everywhere we turn, it seems, in public education, in the military, in the government, in business practices, the moral decisions are not what they used to be. It is as though there is a new spirit. The America I have been used to for the past 86 years seems to be vanishing. Perhaps it is because I live in California, which tends to be “progressive,” although there are many conservative people in California who are attempting to retain the old values.
One question is that of homosexual marriage. Another is the forcing of curricula in the lower grades that deal with sexual preferences. Although such curricula is wildly inappropriate, it is heralded by people at the state government level as though it somehow makes sense. Public institutions appear to be terrified in the presence of anything Christian. There does not appear to be the same reaction to other religions. One bizarre reaction, from my point of view, is the removal of crosses from all government lands. Those crosses, particularly in cemeteries, mean much to people who have lost loved ones in combat. Who are they harming? If I were to see a Star of David on the cemetery of a Jewish veteran, it would not bother me, or an Islamic, or Buddhist, or Hindu symbol.
Why this desperation concerning the Christian religion? Recently, an elementary school forbade some children from studying the Bible during recess. Twenty-five years ago, the children would have been commended. They still should be commended, not rebuked. And the furor over Christmas. Can you believe this? I read in the paper where the President told some foreign country that America is not a Christian country. When did it change?
I realize that God is withdrawing from our country because of abortion-on-demand and sexual perversions, and no one is going to be able to prevent the slide into the moral cesspools without God’s help. But how can God help us when the Christian ministers are preaching lawless grace and a pre-tribulation rapture, instead of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God?
I guess we are not going to be able to save our nation from Divine judgment because of the erroneous doctrines being preached in so many churches. But we can, as individuals, press into Christ until we are living by His Life. In this manner, we can save ourselves and our loved ones from the increasing moral confusion and corruption.
Since we are not yet being jailed or herded into detention centers because we refuse to teach our children that homosexual behavior is a good idea, it may be true that our greatest problem today is fretting.
I have never heard a minister preach about fretting; but we who proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom need to emphasize the danger of fretting, and that God’s Word commands us not to fret.
It is quite difficult not to fret, when we read about what is going on in our government, but I have wrestled with this problem successfully by refusing to think about it and in its place repeat in my mind what is joyous and loving. Believe me, this is a daily battle.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Here is what you are to do. When you realize that the wickedness of the people in the world is floating into your mind, you are to—with all your might and the Lord’s help—quote Philippians 4:8 to yourself and keep quoting it until you have cleansed your mind of what tears you down from your high place in Christ. Or, any good and loving idea will do.
Unless there is something that God shows you to do about the moral corruption in America, you are not to fret. Fretting will tear you down from your high place in God, and then you are of no use to anyone.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; (Psalm 37:1)
There always have been evil men in our country, but with the television and Internet we are made more aware of their wicked behavior.
The Bible commands us to not fret about those who do wrong or to be envious of them. What then should we do about them? Nothing, until we know from the Lord what we are supposed to do.
I know there are many good people who are actively attempting to prevent some of the corruption. The problem is, unless we are hearing from God, He is not helping us. We see the problem of evil in front of us. Meanwhile, God is looking down at the developing fetus who is being killed.
The mother wants reproductive rights. In many cases she has them. She has the right to abstain from sexual intercourse if she does not want a baby. I understand that among poorer people, sexual intercourse may be forced on the mother against her will. I know of no solution to this except prolonged prayer until there is deliverance of some kind.
The fetus also has the right to live. When that future child is killed, God is angry, and when enough people kill their children, God removes His protection from the country and will not assist those who are attempting to remedy some other evil that is taking place.
God considers the issue of abortion more important than whether the economic system of the country is capitalism or socialism.
It is not easy, is it, to keep our mind stayed on what is pure, lovely, and admirable. But it is necessary if we are going to stay in the place with Christ where He wants us to be. It is not necessary for us to keep ourselves occupied with Satan’s antics.
Let us remember that God at any time can prevent the evil that is taking place. Therefore, our responsibility is to live so close to Jesus that we know what He wants us to do and when to do it. To charge around in our own strength doing what we think is correct can do more damage than good.
If we are to live in the rest of God, we must cease from our own works. We must focus on doing what God has commanded us to do. If we become occupied with the antics of Satan in the earth, and do not go to God to find out what God desires, we may end up fighting against God.
An illustration of a person fighting what he perceives to be evil, but who actually is fighting against God, is described as follows:
After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Neco had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.
Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, “Take me away; I am badly wounded.” So they took him out of his chariot, put him in the other chariot he had and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. (II Chronicles 35:20-24)
King Josiah was famous in Israel for being zealous to please God. From the time he was sixteen, he began to seek God. By the time he was twenty years old, he was tearing down and smashing the idols. He restored the Temple and caused a great Passover to be celebrated.
God told Pharaoh Neco of Egypt to go up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah in his zeal to serve the Lord, and without going to the Lord to find out what he was supposed to do, marched out to attack Pharaoh Neco.
Pharaoh Neco sent messengers to King Josiah, and this is what he said: “O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” Isn’t that interesting? This is what a heathen ruler said to the king of God’s chosen people. “God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” God spoke to King Josiah through the mouth of Pharaoh Neco, but Josiah would not listen.
The actions of King Josiah of Judah illustrate a very important point. He assumed that God wanted Pharaoh Neco stopped. But this assumption was not true. How many Americans of today are assuming they know what God wants. Are they going to Him and asking Him what He wants done, or like Josiah, are they assuming what God’s will is?
Josiah would not listen to what Neco had said at God’s command, but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. The mountain of Megiddo is a famous battleground. The Battle of Armageddon will be fought in this area. What Pharaoh Neco had said was God’s command. Did you notice that in the verse above?
King Josiah was far out of line. He did not inquire of the Lord, reminding us of Joshua and the Gibeonites. Pharaoh Neco was obeying God, who had told him to hurry. The archers of Pharaoh Neco shot and killed Josiah.
Today, there are numerous distinguished Christian leaders who are seeking to tear down President Obama because his policies are not in line with the values of many of the American People. My question is, are these leaders hearing from the Lord, or are they doing as King Josiah did? I am as upset about many of the government policies as are other Christian leaders. But we need to remember that, in spite of our democratic customs, it is God who exalts one and puts down another. This is what the Bible says. However, I am not suggesting we not vote our conscience!
What we in fact are to do, until God informs us differently, is to pray concerning each decision that is made by the government, and then praise God for the answer. We are going to get a lot farther praying than we are fretting about the evil we see in our country.
So I think we need to go to God before we attack the President. We might be, as Pharaoh Neco said, opposing God. Are we certain we know what God is planning, or are we just reacting in the flesh in terms of our own background?
While carefully reviewing the 37th Psalm, I noticed that God emphasized we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will cut off the wicked in His time.
If God makes clear to us that we should do something about the current evil, then we must do that. Otherwise, we are to think happy, loving thoughts and pray earnestly for changes we would like to see made. We are not to permit Satan to tear us down to his level where we rage and curse about the darkness.
For like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. (Psalm 37:2)
I can remember when Adolf Hitler’s name, and that of Mussolini, were in the paper every day. Where are they now? So it is with the wicked. They flourish like weeds for a season; and then they wither and die.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (Psalm 37:3)
The verse above is all that God is requiring of most of us. We are not obligated to spend our time cursing the darkness. There always is some present good that we can do. If we will obey God in this, He will see that we are kept safe even though the dark clouds swirl about us.
Here is an example of doing good: a boy in our church is being especially kind to another boy in his school. The other boy has muscular dystrophy and is unpopular among the students. He is ungainly in appearance and actions, not being able to walk.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
The above is one of my favorite verses. We can delight ourselves in the Lord in most circumstances. The promise is if we delight ourselves in God, He will give us the desires of our heart. Not the desires we express in words, necessarily, but the desires of our heart. Sometimes we do not know what the desires of our heart actually are. But God does, and He is faithful to give us what we truly want, not always what we ask for. And thank God for that!
We cannot delight ourselves in the Lord while we are cursing the darkness. In fact, sometimes we are fighting against God because we do not understand what He is doing. This is where faith comes in. We must pray until we know God has heard us, and then leave the answer with Him.
I imagine the Lord’s disciples cursed the Roman soldiers numerous times, not realizing that they were causing the atonement that would take away the sins of the world. In spite of what we are seeing about us, all things are working together for the good of those who love God.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalm 37:5)
It is a good thing every morning to commit our way to the Lord, praying that God will control our thoughts, words, and actions. We trust as we do this that He will give us the desires of our heart.
Sometimes we are “shut up and cannot come forth,” as Heman declared. The periods of imprisonment may endure for increasing lengths of time as we become more mature in the Lord. But if we will maintain our trust in the Lord, the time of our imprisonment may result in fruit that will nourish many people.
Not everyone is content to just wait on the Lord when nothing exciting is taking place. But those who do mature into that ability can be a source of refreshing to others who are attempting to survive in their own Valley of Baca.
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:6)
How anxious we are at times to show that we are doing the right thing! We must learn wait continually on the Lord, committing our way to Him. Our goal is the rest of God, that is, the place where we are living by the Life of Jesus.
People may not understand why we do not rush hither and thither to accomplish this or fix that. But we do the most good when we wait and listen to the Lord to see what He has to say. If we will do this, He will justify us in the sight of people. This is so important when people are speaking evil of us. God Himself justifies us when we really are doing His will, even though people may not understand or approve of what we are doing.
The expectations of people are one thing. But the desire of the Lord may at times lead us in a different direction. A preacher, such as myself, must always remember that he is to speak so as to please God, not to try to please people.
It is natural for us to want the approval of people. But remember Jesus said, “What is highly esteemed by men is an abomination to God.” To please God, we must follow Him as closely as we can. He then will justify us when justification is needed. It will be clear to everyone that our deeds were wrought in God.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)
Do not fret! If we would allow ourselves to do so, we could rage and fume at the things taking place in our nation. But we are not to do this. Rather we are to tell the Lord about how we feel and what we would like to see take place, and then wait quietly for Him to do what is righteous.
There always will be wicked men carrying out their schemes, it appears. They apparently may succeed in attaining their wicked objectives. But remember! God is in control of the earth. There is nothing anyone can do without God’s permission.
We may find ourselves fighting against God if we rush out and attempt to force what we believe to be righteousness. Remember also that every person will die one day, and then he or she will answer to God for his behavior. And God has perfect a perfect memory!
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
When I read about the decisions that are made at the various governmental levels, they make me angry. But this is not pleasing to God. Since God is not directing me to do something about the problems at this time, it is my place to keep my mind focused on what is lovely and joyous.
“Turn from wrath,” we are commanded. “Do not fret because it leads to evil.” None of us wants to practice evil. Therefore we are not to fret. We are not to permit the evil that surrounds us to cause us to do evil in the sight of God. But this is not easy, and we must pray without ceasing if we are to prevent our mind from drifting to the abominations that are taking place.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. (Psalm 37:9)
Now here is a promise for us. We need not cut off Malchus’ ear, as Peter did. We are to let God do the cutting off. When we become angry and cut off someone’s ear, so to speak, we might be preventing that person from hearing God.
The promise to us, if we will just keep hoping in the Lord, is that we will inherit whatever “land” our heart desires.
When the Bible commands us to not avenge ourselves, it does not mean that harm will not be avenged. It means that vengeance belongs to God and He will avenge the unrighteousness. When we avenge ourselves, we are taking what belongs to God.
When we become bitter and hateful against someone, then they have hurt us twice!
A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. (Psalm 37:10)
Whenever I read this verse, I think of Adolf Hitler. When I was a young man, it seemed like he was going to conquer the world. I do not know if they ever found his body. I read years ago they were looking for it. “Though you look for them, they will not be found.”
God does not want us fretting about wicked people. He uses them for His purposes, and then removes them.
But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (Psalm 37:11)
After all the boasting of great men, after the nations spend billions of dollars seeking to accomplish their will, the meek will inherit the earth. That is God’s way.
It seems to me that Christians are not always meek. Sometimes they are arrogant and act like they are God’s gift to the creation. They can “accept Christ” all they please, but unless they are meek of spirit, they never will inherit the earth.
To be meek is to be humble and teachable. God is meek. The Lord Jesus is meek. God much prefers the Lamb to the Lion, and that is why the last two chapters of the Bible refer to the Lamb and not to the Lion.
God has a gentle, childlike nature and loves little boys and girls. We do not get very far into His Kingdom until we become a child at heart. God could tear up the Milky Way galaxy if He chose. But he would prefer to speak gently with a small child. Their angels see God’s face.
The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; (Psalm 37:12)
The Lord Jesus said the world would hate us because we are not of the world. This is true, providing we behave righteously. There are Christian believers who lie, hate, and steal. They are wicked even if they have “accepted Christ.” Such “Christians” will plot against those who are behaving righteously, being assured that they themselves are righteous by imputation. Today’s preaching of lawless grace has produced a mess!
But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (Psalm 37:13)
When we see the wicked making their immoral statements, performing their wicked acts, we easily can become furious. But stop and think! If God is laughing at the wicked, why should we be raging? Why should we be fretting ourselves and losing our love, joy, and peace?
Obviously, we are not to permit the wicked to upset us. It is not easy, and requires a lot of prayer to keep from hating those who are destroying our country. But in order to please Jesus, we must look to Him instead of becoming angry. If He does not tell us to do something about it, some action to take, then we are to refresh our trust in God and have confidence in Him, that He knows what He is permitting on His earth.
Harmful decisions are being made in America by those in charge. But if we are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus, we cannot be harmed by those decisions. Those who have made the decisions will reap what they are sowing, but we will not be harmed if we keep looking to Jesus. We all know this. We just need to be reminded once in a while.
The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. (Psalm 37:14)
We may believe everyone loves us. They don’t. The more we mature in Christ, the more we are a threat to Hell. The evil spirits, if they are able, will deceive us, or move people to hurt us in some manner. For this reason, we must remain prayerful at all times.
Every Christian must “post a guard” continually. There is no moment, night or day, when we are safe from the attempts of the enemy to destroy us. Wherever we are, whether at home, in church, at a party, at a store purchasing something, we must keep looking to the Lord. Otherwise we soon get caught off-guard and say or do something harmful.
A few moments of foolishness can result in years of problems and pain!
But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. (Psalm 37:15)
If we will keep committing our way to the Lord, we need not worry about what evil spirits or people can do to us. God will see to it that their curses and their attempts to destroy us will turn back against them and they shall be the ones to suffer.
We are not to avenge ourselves. We are not to permit ourselves to become angry at people or to seek to harm them. We can maintain our peace if we will keep looking to Jesus and asking Him to remove our anxiety or desire for revenge.
The Holy One of Israel is with us. Whom are we to fear? God never sleeps. He sends His angel to camp around us. If we are serving God diligently, there are warrior angels who keep us from stumbling. God never forsakes us or turns us over to our foes. We are safe in His keeping.
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; (Psalm 37:16)
I have been thinking about the fact that when we pass into the spirit world, we will not use money for the exchange of goods and services. My eyes are opening to the statement of the Apostle Paul that money is the root of all evil. If one were to remove the topics that concern money from our local newspaper, there would be only two or three pages left.
It may not be true in other countries, but in America, the principal issue of life appears to be possessing money. If God removed money from civilization, I suspect there would be much less crime and no wars. How different, how much better the world would be, if money did not exist.
“The wealth of many wicked,” the Bible says. Does money bring love, peace, and joy? We know the answer to that. Yet not having enough money to meet our daily needs results in a miserable life.
The principle that governed the manna was, “He that gathered much had nothing over. He that gathered little had no lack.” I believe that holds true for those who diligently are serving Jesus. The Lord told us that we need not worry about having enough to eat, clothes to wear, or other necessities of life. He said that God knows what we have need of, and we should spend our energy and time seeking the Kingdom of God.
Since Jesus said this, we know it is true. We also understand how difficult it is to place ourselves in God’s hands and not worry about money. But we must keep on making the effort to put finding the Kingdom of God in first place in our life.
Sometimes a devout Christian will choose his job or where he lives according to his material desires, without regard as to whether there is a good church in the area, or whether he will have time and opportunity to worship God. There are practical decisions we can make that facilitate our finding and entering the Kingdom of God.
I suspect that in America, the number one consideration is our material happiness, not our grasp of the Kingdom of God. I realize many people come from other countries so they can enjoy the material prosperity of America. When they get here, they will discover that some of the basic aspects of a peaceful life are absent, as people strive to earn the money they need to survive.
A materialistic society is not necessarily a happy society. Better to be in poorer circumstances and enjoy God’s peace than to live in nervous confusion in wealthier surroundings. There are many circumstances, such as a loving family, that are far more to be desired than having thousands of dollars in the bank.
For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. (Psalm 37:17)
Notice the repeated emphasis about how God destroys the wicked and preserves the righteous. Therefore we need not fret ourselves about the evil that is prevailing in the places of power in America.
One of the great evils of the theology of Dispensationalism is the notion that the Christian Era is a sort of parenthesis among God’s covenants. What it means to be righteous was quite clear to believers under previous covenants, just as it is clear today to other religions and even the people of the world.
But what it means to be righteous is not clear at all to Christian people. If you don’t believe me, ask a Christian friend how important it is that Christians live righteous lives. You may hear a confusing answer.
Righteous behavior is one of the central topics of the Bible, as we find in the verse we are examining. “The Lord upholds the righteous.”
Today, a Bible teacher might claim that “It used to be true that people had to practice righteous behavior if the Lord was to uphold them, but no more. Now we are righteous by believing in Christ, and so the promise in the verse above no longer requires actual righteous behavior, but applies only to those who believe in Christ.” A little reflection will demonstrate that this present belief is incorrect.
- Does God uphold us when we are filled with unforgiveness and bitterness?
- Does God uphold us when we steal, when we fornicate, when we behave in an arrogant manner?
- Does God uphold us when we lie, when we curse others, when we gossip, when we rage and fight with people?
Do you believe that grace covers the sinful behavior of Christian people so that God upholds them while they are sinning? I don’t believe you do.
I wish today’s theologians, teachers, pastors, and evangelists would ask themselves these questions. If they did, they would discover they do not believe what they are preaching. They would discover also that they are the blind leading the blind.
I have spent my adult life attempting to convince God’s people that Dispensational theology with its teaching of lawless grace is unscriptural and destructive. I don’t believe I have convinced many people, maybe a few. But I can’t see where I am in error! I know intuitively, by experience, and by the Bible, that God will not have fellowship with unrighteousness.
One time, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Liars will never eat at my table.” He did not add, “unless they are covered by grace.” Am I hearing from the Lord? If I am, numerous Christian preachers of our day are preaching spiritual death.
We have God’s assurance that the “power of the wicked shall be broken.” Therefore we have no need to fret or even to take some action, unless we are certain (not just assuming) we are doing what God desires.
So we have in the verse above the contrast between the righteous and wicked. Does that mean between people who practice righteous behavior and those who practice wicked behavior? Or does it mean between those who “accept Christ” and those who practice wicked behavior. Really, this question ought to be answered by those who claim we are in a new dispensation of lawless grace.
The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. (Psalm 37:18)
You know, if we go back to the Old Testament, we find that the promises of God are to those of blameless behavior. Is it true that today, belief in Christ replaces blameless behavior? One might protest that belief in Christ is blameless behavior.
How about the Christian who is bitter and unforgiving, or is a gossip, and yet believes in Christ? How about the Christian who divides his or her congregation, and yet believes in Christ? Are the days of such people known to the Lord? What do you think? I hope I am not belaboring the obvious. This is a very important question in American Christianity and has an awesome impact on the testimony given by the lives of the believers.
If an individual does drugs, swears profusely, is addicted to excessive and perverse sexual activity, and yet makes a profession of believing in Christ, will the inheritance of that person endure forever? The worldly person would say, “That person is not a man or woman of God.” He would be correct in saying this.
Jesus told us to let people see our good works that they may glorify God.
Am I incorrect here? Does anyone care that most of the Christians in the United States are believing and living a lie?
If we were to ask an unsaved person what it meant to be blameless, how would he respond? If a known adulterer told an unsaved person that he (the adulterer) was blameless because he believed in Christ, how would the unsaved person respond? Would we then be serving as the light of the world, the salt which makes the world palatable to God?
In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. (Psalm 37:19)
The promise of not withering in the times of disaster, or enjoying plenty in days of famine, refers back to the “blameless.” Dare we trust that our belief in Christ is an acceptable substitute for blameless behavior? There could be undesirable consequences for us if we are incorrect about this!
Can you see from the above what a deadly issue is raised by Dispensational theology with its lawless-grace assumptions?
But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke. (Psalm 37:20)
There is no need for us to fret about the seeming success of wicked people. The wicked are like the flowers that fill the fields after the showers in April. They are beautiful when they first spring up. But after a season they die and their beauty with them. So it will be with those who are vaunting themselves in America. They despise our traditional moral values. They have no problem slaughtering the unborn. They indulge in perverse sexual activities and dare anyone to comment on their behavior.
They are so fine, well accepted and well protected by our legal system and our government. We who are older remember the former days in America. To be sure, there were terrible crimes committed in those days. But in general in America, as well as in England, there was a higher standard of morality than we see today.
Each day we read of some new abomination—sometimes in the state or national government. We wonder if our leaders are truly wicked or have just lost their senses. Money, sexual lust, pleasure, and entertainment are worshiped in our country. The entertainers sometimes throw off all restraints. There are public parades that remind us of Sodom.
“But the wicked will perish.” God has said “the wicked shall perish.” We cling to that promise. We ourselves are to confess and turn away from our sins as the Spirit of God directs and helps us. There is coming a day when righteousness shall prevail as a great rainbow throughout our country. A bit more patient waiting, and then we shall see the hand of God in America.
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; (Psalm 37:21)
Who are the wicked? Those who cheat in business. Who are the righteous? Those who are generous of heart. We would say today that the righteous are those who “accept Christ.” Have we not been greatly deceived? Is not the theology of Dispensationalism the greatest lie and the most destructive error ever to enter Christian thinking?
The Church is supposed to be the light of the world because it reveals in itself (not talks about, but reveals in itself) the righteous character and behavior of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Behold the craftiness of Satan. He has extinguished the only true Light of the world, the only light that shows people where and how to walk.
Those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off. (Psalm 37:22)
There is no need for us to rage and fume about those who bring wicked devices to pass. If we behave righteously, God will bless us and we will inherit the earth, its peoples and all its resources. As for the wicked, the Lord will cut them off and we need not concern ourselves. When we have the opportunity, we are to do good and live in righteousness, love, peace, and joy.
If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23,24)
God takes pleasure in our way, not our belief. The Lord Jesus is the Way to the Father. We teach that He is the ticket to Heaven. Jesus—the ticket or the Way?
When we walk humbly with the Lord, making righteous decisions and showing mercy, God makes our steps firm. The Lord upholds us. This is not true if we have a religious belief but do not walk humbly with God—not making righteous decisions and being unmerciful. We can “accept Christ” all we want to. But if we do not walk humbly with God, we are a deluded religionist—not a true Christian at all.
The patriarch Abraham practiced righteous behavior. The Apostle Paul used Abraham’s belief in God’s promise to show that an individual could be righteous apart from the Law of Moses, the Law not having been written at the time of Abraham. But Abraham always believed God and did what God commanded. When it was time just to believe, Abraham believed in obedience to God. When it was time to act, he acted in obedience.
The problem with today’s teaching is the doctrine that we don’t need to obey Christ and His Apostles; instead, merely believe that Christ died for our sins. To say the least, this is a destructive warping of Paul’s teaching about Abraham believing God. Paul never would countenance such an interpretation!
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalm 37:25)
When I came to the Lord, I was nineteen years old. Now I am 86. I was not raised in a Christian home. I promised God at that time that I would attempt to do what the Bible said. If the Bible proved to be reliable, I would testify to that. If the Bible proved to be humbug, I would testify to that.
That was 67 years ago. I am here to say that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word. It has never let me down. As far as I can see, it is the only truth in this crazy world in which we are endeavoring to live.
Who are the righteous who are not forsaken? Those who believe in Christ? Not necessarily. Many who profess faith in Christ are not trustworthy. The righteous are those who do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. (Psalm 37:27-29)
What should people do if they want to please God? They should receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Then they should turn from evil and do good.
What if they do not turn from evil and do good? Then the promises of the 37th Psalm do not apply to them. How could they? Does God take care of people who profess faith in Christ but do not turn from evil? If we believe that He does, we have been deceived by contemporary preaching.
What is the promise to those who turn from evil and do good? It is that they will dwell in the land forever.
Our traditions have made our goal to be eternal residence in Heaven. Our true goal is the earth and its peoples. If we have turned from evil and have done good, then in the day of resurrection, we will return with Christ to the earth and find our Paradise here, for the Lord Jesus Christ shall fill the earth with righteousness, love, joy, and peace. The nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are His and our inheritance.
The Lord loves the righteous ones and never shall forsake those who are
faithful to Him. How long will it be before the Christian ministry rejects
the teaching of lawless grace and begins to preach about faithful service
to Christ? After all, to be a Christian, a disciple of Christ, we must deny
ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and trudge along each day
after the Master
“They will be protected forever.” If I am hearing the Spirit correctly, we in the United States are facing days of bloodshed. We slowly but surely are driving God out of our country.
If we want to be protected along with our loved ones, then we must turn from evil and do good. It is not enough to go to church and sing hymns or choruses, no matter how fervently. We absolutely must turn from evil and do good.
We have no need to be concerned about the wicked or their offspring. It is those who turn from evil and do good who will inherit the earth and dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.
Is this true today? Is it the man who practices righteous behavior whose mouth utters wisdom and whose tongue speaks what is just? Or is it the man who professes belief in Christ whose mouth utters wisdom and whose tongue speaks what is just? What does your experience tell you is the correct answer?
If we wish to avoid slipping and falling into the snares of Satan, the
law of God must be in our heart. The new covenant is the writing of the
law of God in our mind and heart
Paul said we are to be an epistle that is read by people. This means our thinking, speaking, and acting must be in harmony with what Paul and the other Apostles had written.
People cannot see imputed righteousness, only actual righteousness of behavior. When the only righteousness we have is what is imputed to us on the basis of our belief in Jesus Christ, then there is no epistle for the world to read.
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial. (Psalm 37:32,33)
Hell today is furious. The time for the torture of the wicked spirits is near. America has stood for the Christian Gospel. Therefore it is subject to attack. You may notice how every symbol of Christianity in America is being attacked. It is Satan’s desire to erase all references to Christ and His cross. As a result, much of our culture is being removed so as not to annoy those of a different religious persuasion.
I cannot tell you how it all will work out in the future. The Lord is warning me of moral chaos and persecution on the horizon. This can be expected, because God is displeased with being rejected in America, a country He has blessed so richly.
The Spartans are at the door, so to speak, and America is continuing in its merry way, attempting to please the vicious followers of another god—a god who would love to kill us all. But we keep on with our television and backyard barbecues. It is not that we Americans are intent on doing evil; rather, it is a case of being at ease, not realizing that we have deadly enemies who are seeking our destruction.
I do not wish to be dramatic here, but it is the truth that their god hates our God and desires to take His place in the land our God has blessed to such an extent. Your part and my part is to seek the Lord Jesus as we never have before. If we do, then He will not leave us in the power of those who despise us.
We very well may be brought to trial in the future because we refuse to participate or permit our children to participate in sexual practices that we know are abominations to God. If we are brought to trial, God will not let us be condemned. That is God’s promise to people who practice righteous behavior.
But those who today are at ease in Zion will suffer terribly in the future in America!
Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it. (Psalm 37:34)
We must wait for the Lord, meanwhile patiently keeping His way of righteousness. Sometimes we must wait a long time before God shows us what is taking place in our lives. But if we do wait patiently, we will be exalted and inherit what we desire so intensely.
The wicked, who seem today to be prevailing on every side, will suddenly be cut off. I cannot tell you how it will happen, but I have seen during my lifetime that what God says always comes to pass—usually in such a normal, natural way that we don’t give thanks, thinking it would have happened anyway. Be careful of this! Always remember to give thanks when you see your prayers being answered in such a simple, “of-course” manner.
Whether we are on the earth or with the other “witnesses” in the spirit world, we will see the cutting off of the wicked. That is the Lord’s promise to us if we walk in His righteous paths.
I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. (Psalm 37:35,36)
I have seen such wickedness lately that I have told the Lord I do not want to live on the earth any longer. The world of today is certainly no place in which to raise children. Perhaps the Lord will be taking many children to Himself at this time. If He does, then we rejoice because we know they are playing in a land that is free from evil, ruthless people.
Today, the wicked and the ruthless are flourishing. They trample on the poor as they increase their monetary wealth, supposing they never will need to answer to God for their selfishness.
But they will surely answer to God. That is our hope. They soon shall pass away. When they enter the spirit world, instead of people applauding them for their ability to exalt themselves, they will be met with the demons who will rejoice at the opportunity to torment them. Their money and fame will mean nothing in that day, as they stand in their filthy garments before a God whose eyes are fire.
The wicked shall be gone from the earth some day, and there will be no memory of them or of their works. The earth shall be cleansed from the works of Satan and Antichrist when Joel’s army is given the signal to march.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. (Psalm 37:37,38)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Blameless and upright people have a glorious future to anticipate. But those who practice sin, Christian or not, will have no future. They shall be cut off.
At the beginning of the 37th Psalm, we are commanded not to fret. And this is why. Those who are blameless and upright can look forward to a wonderful future. The wicked, who parade around so confidently today, will have no future except severe punishment at the hand of God.
So let us be blameless and upright. Then we have no occasion to curse or be disturbed by the wicked. Their end is certain, and we are not to tear ourselves down from our high place in God by fretting about the antics of Satan-inspired people in the earth.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39,40)
Our salvation comes from the Lord more than we understand. Our very desire to receive Christ and live a righteous, holy life comes from God. It is not because we deserve such salvation, but because God according to His own wisdom and desires has chosen to make us a vessel of honor.
If we will respond by seeking Christ each day so we can live so as to please Him, we justify God’s decision in making us a vessel of honor. He will be our Stronghold when His judgment falls on America. He will help us and deliver us from evil people. He will save us because we have made Him our refuge, our hiding place.
But as for the wicked, they soon shall be cut off. There is no place for wicked people in God’s new world of righteousness, in which children can play with every animal without being harmed. The best is yet ahead, so let’s wait patiently for the Lord Jesus and walk in all His ways.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
(“The Problem with Fretting”, 3501-1, proofed 20211007)