A Word of Caution

The reality of Paul’s words in both Timothy and Romans in the previous entry can create different emotions in different folks.

Many respond with a feeling of self-righteousness. It’s so easy to judge and criticize others who are caught up in chaotic living. As if we are perfect.

Interestingly, Paul apparently feared the same thing, because in the verses following his almost prophetic description of today’s world, he turns around in the next chapter in Romans and warns us:

“Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.
But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.

You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” The Message, Romans 2:1-4.

Others might feel frightened because the apostle’s words ring true and it isn’t a pretty picture of our society today. It would be easy to get caught up in fearful living. While the world sometimes seems to be falling apart all around us, we can find hope in God’s love for His children. It’s easy to focus on circumstances rather than the one who gives us hope.

Hope. If our world needs one thing in the midst of the chaos that swirls around us, it is hope. And people hunger for it. The preponderance and popularity of self-help books is proof that we are looking for something. However, which book is the right one? There are thousands and, unfortunately, many contradict each other.

There is one who gives hope that truly is eternal – it never changes, it is constant, consistent, and available for anyone who chooses to accept it.

One of the best places in the Bible to find encouraging words of hope is in the Psalms, especially many of those written by David. You know – David the shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath and David the King. However, he was also David the adulterer, the murderer, the liar. Yet, David was identified by God as “a man after his own heart.”

Why was he so special to God? Even though his life was full of conflict, sin, guilt, and shame, he lived a life surrendered to God. God knew David’s heart. He knew David’s love was genuine even if the man was flawed. And therein lies a truth so few people seem to understand. We are all flawed and imperfect, but like a doting parent, God loves us, only He loves us more and He loves us best.

In Psalm 18, David wrote a song after God delivered him from all his enemies and from the hand of King Saul. It’s full of amazing praise and gives evidence to all God did for this adulterer, liar, and murderer. Regardless of his weaknesses and sin, David chose to follow God and serve Him. God does the same for those of us who chose to accept Jesus as our savior.

David wrote:

“But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate,
that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning.

“They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.

“He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start.” The Message, Psalm 18:16-20

Here’s the truth – the Creator of the universe reached down from heaven and rescued David from his enemies. Can you picture that? Moreover, while David’s enemies were flesh and blood, our’s can be anything that harms us – fear, hate, addictions, depression, panic. They can even be those worldly things we desire – money, power, prestige, self-sufficiency – the things that lull us into a false security.

Why did God save David? In the New International Version, verse 19 answers that question quite eloquently: “… He rescued me because he delighted in me.”

However, I believe David continues that answer in verse 20. In other words, God made David’s life complete when he placed all the pieces (of his life) before God. In other words, David surrendered his life.

Regardless of the bad things happening around us, we can have a supernatural peace that goes beyond human understanding.

Until next time, I pray your weekend is full of peace and contentment, and that you are refreshed and lifted up above the world’s chaos. If you need a little help, check out the Psalms. Or, email me. I promise to answer.

Blessings, Francine

Special Note: As you may have noticed, I use different versions of the Bible. I encourage you to do the same. You may find one that speaks to you, but to really get an in-depth understanding of God’s word (based on personal experience), use several different ones. Along with the Bible, there are a variety of reference books that will further help you hear the message God wants to give you in His word. If you aren’t sure where to start, please contact me.


    On 5:14 AM Cami said...

    When I was a young person studying the word, I didn't understand God's esteem of David--until I got older...David revered and extolled God's character in every circumstance; nuff said! ;)

    On 2:46 AM Francine said...

    Thanks Cami. As always, your comments are a blessing. Isn't it intersting that many children learn about David and Goliath but never learn how David went on to slay other giants in his live.

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