The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 23:10-21 Do not move the ancient boundary Or go into the fields of the fatherless, For their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you. Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge. Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; And my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak what is right. Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.
If you are a born again, eyes illuminated, Spirit filled child of God, a quick glance around will reveal a world in which it seems as if evildoers are not only flourishing, but are in fact running the show. The world in which we live operates in a state of constant rejection of God and His decrees, saying “ Let us tear their fetters apart and cast their cords from us!”. Everywhere you look, even within places that identify themselves as the “church”, the wicked scoff at God, revel in their rebellion, and seem to be having a fun time doing it. Sexual immorality, drunkenness, envy, gossip, grumbling, backstabbing. Day after day we see this in the workplace, on facebook, in our families, in the marketplace, in public schools, co-ops, homeschool, and from the oval office, and it seems as if all is well. Admit it, this is at times disheartening.
For the Christian, the realization of how sin leaves no realm untouched is at times overwhelming, bringing us to our knees in prayer for those trapped in bondage. But sometimes, probably more frequently than we would like to admit, we wish it was us. Secretly, in those places where only God can see, we often look at the godless and desire to run straight down that wide path of destruction right along with them. “Who, me? I would never. Oh no. Not me. I hate sin. I know that the wages of sin is death, and would never find it enticing or something to be desired.” Really? If this is your response, ask yourself: Why is there a warning for us in scripture about this very thing? Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. Did God throw that verse in there for everyone but you? Be honest with yourself this morning: sin always looks appealing on the front end. It’s one reason why we are so easily enticed. If sin appeared to us as the monstrosity that it actually is, and those who engaged in it received the due penalty immediately, we would not be so quick to to envy the wicked.
The truth is, when the wicked are engaged in their dark arts, we often times do not see their end, do we? We hear the tall tales at work, we see the rebellion at co-op, we watch as men and women reject their God given roles to pursue after the lust of the flesh, and we see the fake smiles and photoshopped facebook pictures and think “Looks like they ARE having a good time. They look so happy, how can it be wrong?” Brothers and sisters, sin is deceitful, it is why we are told that those who think they stand ought to take heed lest they fall. We are commanded to live in the fear of the LORD. One way we do this is by hating evil. Proverbs 8: 13 says “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate”. Every single sin occurs when we stop fearing the LORD. Every. Single. One. When we as Christians sin, we are setting aside the belief that God will punish evil. We ask rhetorically, “Did God really say?”. When we envy the sins of the wicked, we suspend belief and ignore God when He says that the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. We must repent of our envy and fear the LORD.
Psalm 73:1-28 NASB
Let us kneel and cry out to God for mercy for how we often envy the wicked. Heavenly Father, we are weak, frail, sinful men, women, boys, and girls. Though You have saved us from the wrath to come through Your Son Jesus, our old nature dies hard. We cry out with Your servant Paul, “Oh wretched man that I am!”. Our hearts grow numb to sin. Our minds are often in a fog, so that the truth seems unclear. Our flesh lusts after things to satisfy, needing more and more each time. We are often restless, ungrateful, and self deceived. Father, we see scoffers appearing to thrive, and we forget that they have been prepared for the day of destruction. Father, please forgive us for envying the wicked. Please forgive us for chasing after the wind, rather than seeking satisfaction in You. Please be merciful towards us sinners, and shine Your countenance upon us, that we may behold Your beauty, power, and love for us. Fill us Lord, with dread over our sin, Godly sorrow meant to lead us to repentance. Please fill us with Your Spirit, and enable us to walk in newness of life. It’s in the name of Your Son Jesus that we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.- Isaiah 443:5
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lift up your hearts!
(From the 9-9-18 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)