“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil. Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”
Psalms 36:1-9 NKJV
In the past, wickedness stood in contrast to what was good. In the public square, there was a common understanding of what were the good things in life, and such were considered positive things to be fostered. Today, life is decidedly different, as being wicked has become the desired trait, and standing for righteousness is deemed wicked. Our world has become upside down.
Psalm 36 is one of my favorite psalms, as it is the lyric for an old song by Third Day, I often played early on in my spiritual walk. When I read it, I would skip over the part about the wickedness of many and go right to the refrain. As I have matured, and as I have begun to perceive the deepening contrast between the righteous in Christ and the wicked of the world. As a result the Psalm has greater meaning.
There are mornings when I awaken in a dark fog, filled with melancholia, moving slowly to even get out of bed. On those days, everything is a slight, as I seem to be looking for the bad things in life. Watching the news on those days is particularly difficult, as the wicked seem to prosper and the poor become poorer. I wonder if there is any hope.
Then I open the Word of God.
There I see the world as God had intended it to be, where righteousness rules, where God is sovereign and there is no suffering, no wickedness, only the Lord’s loving grace. I see the same struggles that have burdened us from the beginning, but I also read of the great coming and final victory when Jesus returns.
In that moment, my melancholia is replaced by the brightness of the Son, and in His light, I see light.
I am learning to recognize the encroaching darkness and its effect on me. All too often, I wait too long, and become depressed, focused on the negative, and not enjoying the goodness of God. Thank God for sleep, the great reset at the end of the day. Morning brings a new opportunity to do it all over again.
“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word. Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.”
Psalms 119:25-32 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us not neglect the medicinal power of the word of God. In it, we see a world that God intended, we see the prevailing victory of righteousness, and a coming world where righteousness is in its rightful place, and wickedness is punished. Regardless of the state of our world today, there is coming a time when the Lord will prevail.
As we live in the here and now, we can be reassured in knowing that good things are coming, even though reality seems hopeless. Jesus assured us that we would have trouble, and all those He commissioned to teach us, detailed with pin point accuracy, the world we live in today. We should not be shocked.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
II Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, i have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NKJV
It was said of the early church, that they turned the world upside down. In reality, they were turning it right side up, restoring it to what it was created to be for each individual who called upon the name of the Lord.
The message that they brought was so striking that it shook the world. It was not the message itself, but the transformed lives that entered society. In this current darkness, the light of one dedicated to Jesus, one saved by His death on the cross, and raised into newness of life through His resurrection, stands in stark contrast to the darkness.
We are called to be the light. Let us rejoice in our God, the One who saved us. The One who shelters us beneath His wings. Let us be ever mindful that this same Jesus is coming again and will make all things new.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.””
Revelation 21:1-5 NKJV
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One thought on “Contrast”
Love the thought that the Bible “is the way God intended (the world) to be.” May we shine the light of the gospel, like a city sit on a hill? Praying for you and thankful for you Bernie!