Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trusting Truth- 40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 14)

"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

I have a real heart for those with less than me. I always have had this "compassion" (give me a second while I pat myself on the back) and I managed to marry the most beautiful Woman on Earth who shares the same heart for those who don't "have". However, I have something to confess, even though I have a heart for the poor and needy, I constantly mock them. Most of the time I mock them based off of stereotypes and though there is conviction in my mocking, it rarely stops especially if it makes others like me more. As I catch myself mocking these "poor and needy" I've noticed that it is typically out of my own insecurities of who I am in this life. Because, I'm not a "success" by the standards set by the Oprah's and Bill Gates's of the world, I feel as though I constantly need to put down those who are already down, in order to push myself ahead.

Each time I read this scripture I realize that it is one that defines the cowardice of those who don't know God and in many cases (like mine) those who believe they do know God. By definition a coward is a person who "lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, or pain." Out of fear, we humans typically avoid any difficult situation, pain, etc... in order to have continued "success" by our own definition. In being a "success" we are able to develop a mindset that we are greater than we truly are. Success in our own power is what allows us to place ourselves on the throne that belongs to God. As we have continued successes on our own (in our own gifted-ness), we easily lose track of the one who gave us the ability to do anything at all. In forgetting who gave us this ability (God), we quickly live a life apart from Him which in turn leads to evil and wickedness (in this scripture it is plain to see that any person who puts down the poor and needy and lives for their destruction would be considered evil). It's hard to believe, but many times, those who believe they know God the most, have lost track of who He is in their life as they are busy getting ahead by putting others down. This is just as true for Bernie Madoff as it is for the Pastor who puts down and takes advantage of a church body he thinks is his as opposed to God's. Furthermore, the way the evil take advantage of the poor and needy is very interesting. The Psalmist reveals that the evil use two ways to get ahead. The first is that the evil have a need to always win. The second is that there is a specific type of person that the evil always choose to defeat.

What I mean by "always win" is that those who do evil constantly scheme their ways into personal victory. Notice how David writes, "The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow...". The way of the wicked is to devise multiple ways to defeat whoever they are fighting. Out of cowardice, a loss of any kind for an evil person is the equivalent of death. In this case David states that the wicked not only have a sword, but they also use a bow. If they can't beat you one way, they will beat you by another. The evil would rather please themselves today instead living a life of trust in God's eternal perfect kingdom. To them, this makes sense considering an eternal life in God's Kingdom means pain, trial, and difficult circumstances in this life. Therefore, the evil will fight until death and have multiple plans and tactics so that they cannot lose.

The second interesting part of this Psalm is that the wicked and evil aim to get ahead by devising plans to rid those beneath them. The terms, "poor and needy" are always associated with those whom God considers closest to Him. Throughout scripture we constantly see and hear God's heart for the downtrodden, broken, orphans, widows and poor. The irony of course is that the evil have always, out of cowardice, gone after those with less to get ahead in this life without realizing that they were aiming to take advantage of God's chosen ones for their own benefit.

Today, If there is some way that you are planning to take advantage of those beneath you for your own benefit and there is a check in your Spirit, you need to take heed to that check. This is just as true for the CEO of a company, as it is to a Father who takes advantage of his wife and kids in order to make his life "easier". Keep in mind that worldly success breeds complacency in our own ability. Success is much like sugar on a diet... once you get a little in your own power you feel as though that since you've already "blown it" you might as well keep going and call it your "cheat day". Before you know it, we cheat ourselves out of this life daily by relying on self more than God. As we rely on self, we join the team of evil and wickedness who's main goal is to bring down those God loves. Are you living to be rich now or rich eternally? Choose God and know that if you are being taken advantage of, it's because you are one of the "poor and needy" that God loves so much.

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