Tagged: Spencer Boersma

Psalm 2: Awaiting the King

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Anyone else into watching Netflix’s The Crown?

There is something beautiful and captivating getting this inside look into the monarchy. I been on a bit of a kick reading about the Queen.

Not gonna lie, it has made me a big fan of Queen Elizabeth.

 

Queen Elizabeth as a female leader to me has captured my deepest respect. All her speeches and public actions show her to be a person that is both gentle yet unwavering in resolve.

Did you hear her Christmas speech? The queen of England openly said that she believes wholly in Jesus Christ and she set out to live her life by his teachings and she called on all English people to turn back to Christ and not to forget God in these dark times.

I’ll be honest I have often questioned Canada’s connection to the British monarchy, whether or not it is useful or represents who we are as a nation, but in that moment I was glad we have a figure head of such conviction and decency.

Our Queen has done significant work to advance liberty and equality in the world. While her predecessors wanted an Empire in which the “sun never set,” She was instrumental in granting the independence of over 20 countries.

Our own prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, while having no love of the role of the monarchy, praised her for the “grace she displayed in public” and “the wisdom she showed in private.”

Later she was asked what she thought of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and she let it slip that she found him, “rather disappointing.” I thought that was funny.

She was instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa. She has worked for stability and good governance of many commonwealth nations that were in turmoil during her reign.

There is a powerful scene in the Crown that symbolizes the influence she would exert, the coronation scene: You can only imagine what it would be like to be in that cathedral, the leaders of the free world in attendance, the head of the church of England presiding, choirs singing angelically as the jewel encrusted crown is placed on your head.

The splendor and magnitude of that moment would have been overwhelming.

Think of what the crown signified at that time. It does not quite mean the same thing today where the monarchy is more of a figure.

The monarch represented political stability, hope. The monarch, especially Queen Elizabeth perhaps the last Christian monarch, represents the moral resolve of the nation. With that mindset we turn to the psalms.

You see for Israel, God’s nation in the Old Testament, they had a similar view of their king, and the Psalm we are meditating through this morning is actually very likely the coronation Psalm of King David or the Kings of David’s line.

We are going to read this look at what this meant for God’s people in the old testament but then as a psalm of God’s people that point to the fulfillment of Old Testament in King Jesus, and what that means for us as citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

Why do the nations conspire[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Like I said, this is very likely a coronation song for the king. You can imagine that being sung as the king has his crown placed on his head.

The song signifies the place of the king to both ensure the stability of the nation and to be a person of close connection to God. David is seen as a cherished child of God.

But to read this Psalm in the context of the Old Testament is to understand that the Psalm if it merely looks forward for a human king to be these things, falls short of God’s kingdom.

Does God really want a human king to subjugate all the nations around them?

Does God want God’s people to build idolatrous empires?

Can a human king really claim the title of being God’s true son?

When we read this Psalm, like many passages in the Old testament, it leaves us uneasy, yearning for God to say something more.

Human kings were not really what God originally wanted, we find.

1. Israel’s Quest for a King

The Hebrew people saw the power of human kings and they wanted one themselves, rather than being a loose collection of tribes depending on God for guidance. They grew jealous of the nations. God nevertheless concedes and the first king, Saul is anointed.

This did not work out well. Saul proved arrogant and selfish. He only was interested in serving God if it served himself.

So the Prophet Samuel goes and anoints a boy named David.

All his older brothers were soldiers. At the time Israel and Philistia were at war. The Philistine warlord Goliath openly mocked God and the Israelites, and the people were scared since Goliath was a giant of a man. Goliath challenged the Israelite army to a one-to-one battle, and no one accepted.

David shows us and hears Goliath’s scorn for God, and he decides he will take on the giant himself.

This puny boy walks up to Goliath and as Goliath mocking him and God and the people, David drew a smooth stone – does anyone remember what he called it? It called it the Ebenezer, which means “Thus far the lord has helped me.”

He takes that, puts it in his sling-shot, and hits the Giant, striking him dead.

David became a hero. He later became leader of the armies of Israel. Then jealous Saul tried to get rid of him, and David had to live on the run. Finally, Saul died in battle, and David was enthroned as king.

As King, David was known for his military prowess, defeating the surrounding nations in battle, bringing a level of security to the land. The nations became the inheritance of the throne of David as this Psalm longs for. David, the anointed king, became a holy emperor over the nations around Israel.

But the question is does God really want an empire? We will see that this caused trouble in the line of kings. David himself was told by God that he could not build the temple in Jerusalem because the temple was to be a place of holiness, which David could not do since he was such a man of war.

Nevertheless, David was also a man of deep piety and love of God. God saw him as a man after his heart. It is the reason so many of the Psalms bear his name.

This did not mean he was perfect or even at times good. David later in life had an affair with one of his general’s wives and he tried to cover it up by having that man killed in battle. An act of terrible dishonor. The fact our scriptures report this misdeed is important. One scholar remarked that Israel’s scriptures contain the most honest history of the leaders of any nation of its time. For Israel, it was so important to understand the failures of God’s people in order to have a sense of moral responsibility and hope.

After David, the line of Kings slowly fell. Solomon despite his extraordinary wisdom refused to serve the Lord alone. His rule plunged into idolatry. It had something to do with the fact that he had hundreds of pagan wives.

His son, Reheboam, a foolish king, sundered the nation apart. While righteous kings still continued in the line of David, kings like Hezekiah and Josiah, inevitably their refusal to walk in the ways of God lead to the exile of Judea, the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians for over 70 years.

When the exiles returned, they remembered the prophets speaking about how God would raise up another king like David, the true messiah.

The true king that would bring an end to the destruction on their land. The faithful remnant would be safe.

The true king that would rebuild Zion. The true king that would make Jerusalem a place of peace again.

But left as an expectation for a human king to do all this, this Psalm sounds highly nostalgic and imperialistic. Surely God does not want the nations of this world in shackles. Surely God does not love Israel more than other nations. Surely the king is not God’s son just by the power of his office.

The king must be more than that.

The true king must rule not with force and war, but is the prince of peace, whose rule would undo the need for war itself, reconciling all nations to God.

A true king that would not merely be just, but is justice itself, righteousness embodied.

A true king that would be able to prevent not just enemy nations from conquering them, but their sins from corrupting them. A messiah that could forgive sins.

This longing suggests that the only King that could do this was not in fact a human king, but God himself, the true king.

In the Psalms we see this move where the Psalm begin singing about the human kings of Israel, then lament their failure then a turning to God as true King.

And so, from the time this was written, for several hundred years, the people were left praying: God when will the messiah come? When will all that has gone wrong in this world be made right? When will righteousness reign.

2. God did show up as this king.

Jesus is the true king. Jesus is true anointed one, the messiah, the true son of God, the true ruler of the nations.

But here is the thing: In fulfilling this Scripture God shows us a powerful provocative new vision of what it means to rule. How does Jesus fulfill this Psalm that looks to the messiah to conquer the nations?

He chose to be born in humble circumstances like David. He chose to be born to a poor girl named Mary, in the poverty of a manger. A poor king, a king for the poor. What an idea?

This Psalm is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament.  It is quoted at his baptism, transfiguration, death, and in Revelation, twice.

It is quoted at Jesus baptism. “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” Think of the Baptism of Jesus as his coronation. While the kings of the earth are enthroned in palaces by the powerful, Jesus is enthroned in the wilderness, in a lake, by a prophet.

While the kings of the earth are blanketed in jewels, Jesus is blanketed with the Holy Spirit.

From there, Jesus set out to conquer the enemies of God, but these turns out aren’t actually humans.

Jesus sets out to cast out demons, the radical evil in our world.

Jesus sets out to forgive sins, the real thing that shackles us.

Jesus sets out to heal the sick, the real things we are suffering from.

Jesus sets out to teach true obedience, the real path to freedom.

He starts talking about what his kingdom is actually like, how God chooses to rule,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they are citizens of this kingdom.

Blessed are those who are sad and in morning, because God’s kingdom is their to comfort them.

Blessed are the humiliated and meek, the oppressed, because they are the ones that will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for justice, for they will get it.

Blessed are the merciful and the pure in heart.

Blessed are not those that try to conquer their enemies, but the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake, those that do not conform to partisan lies or the status quo, for these are the true citizens of God’s kingdom.

This message of Jesus the king about God’s heavenly kingdom is one that in a turn of sinful irony, God’s people are the ones that ended up rejecting and conspiring against him.

When Jesus claimed to be the messiah, they called him a blasphemer.

The nations conspired and sadly, Israel was one of those nations. The Temple priests plotted to have Jesus arrested.

Jesus’ disciples betrayed and abandoned him.

He was brought before a roman dictator and sentenced to death in order to satisfy a mob.

The conversation between the Roman Governor Pilate and Jesus is so telling:

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

One rules a kingdom of this world, the other rules a kingdom not of this world

One rules a kingdom with force; the other a kingdom of non-violence.

One rules a kingdom with a sword; the other with sacrifice.

One rules a kingdom of apathy, the other rules a kingdom of truth.

This drama has its climax in the cross, where in that dark moment, Jesus is shown as the king God chooses to be.

They give him a crown of thorns and write “King of the Jews” over the cross. The narratives have these kinds of ironies to it.

Here is the king, not making himself first but last.

Here is the king, lifted up not in exaltation but in crucifixion.

Here is the king, conquering, not with violence but with forgiveness

Here is the king, fully obedient to God the father, such that he is shown to be God’s true son.

“Surely this man is the Son of God” says the soldier, unwittingly quoting Psalm 2.

The rule of the nations was broken that day, not be military power or legislative acumen, but by the humble faithfulness of Jesus Christ, obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

That day the wrath we deserved he gladly bore upon himself in order to show that this king, this God, is a God of love.

One the third day Jesus rose again, completing the victory, ascending to heaven to rule at the right hand of the Father, sending the Spirit to commission his disciples to go out into all nations.

Death and despair, disobedience and the devil were defeated, so that all people include his enemies, including us, can be apart of his kingdom.

Christ as died, Christ has risen, and Christ will also come again

3. Our king will return

The victory of the resurrection points forward to the victory of Christ’s second coming. Psalm 2 is quoted several times in Revelation. One day Christ will return and he will set right all that has gone wrong. He will return to judge the nations with justice and truth and mercy.

Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.

That day will be like the confusion of tongues at Babel. Where we create empires of uniformity, God will break our plans apart with diversity. God will show he is that God of all peoples, all nations, all humanity.

That will be a terrible day like that day Pharaohs army drowned in the sea, all that power will be nothing compared to the glory of our infinite God.

That day will be like the destruction of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Empires come and empires go, crushed by the sweeping power of the Rock.

And let us not go arrogant as we – God’s people Israel – have in the past. That day will be like the destruction the Temple because we turned their religion into an idol of power and control.

But for those whose hearts are sincere and ways are just and merciful, we await that day with hope. We long for the day when all that was wrong in this world will be put right, death will be no more. Tears will turn to joy.

We await the day his kingdom reigns fully and visibly over our world, but in the meantime, as Jesus says, the kingdom of God is within us. It is within us as we turn our hearts over to King Jesus.

How do we live this kingdom out? We chose to live as citizen not of this world. 1 Peter talks about how the early Christians lived as if strangers in a foreign land. We live like we don’t belong. We live like we don’t want to be a part of these corrupt discourses.

There is a better way 1 Peter talks about it: it is called being holy, set apart.

It be a Christian today show give us a kind of culture shock, the way an immigrant might feel, a fish out of water. As our culture continues to more away from God, as our leaders grow more and more depraved and greedy, we will continue to live as citizens of heaven.

While the nations rebel, we will obey.

While the kings of this world look for war, we will walk in peace.

While the kings of this world delight in perversion, we will walk in purity.

While the kings of this world deal in oppression, we will promote liberty.

While the kings of this world take care of the rich, we will take care of the poor.

While the kings of this world speak lies, we will speak honesty.

While the kings of this world further division, we will walk in reconciliation.

While the kings of this world see themselves as gods, we worship the one true God, the one true king.

And one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Christ is Lord and king to the glory of God the Father.

In the meantime, we will bow and confess. We will never stop confessing Christ is Lord.

But the question is not what the rulers of nations recognize God as king. Right here, right now, are you ready to make Jesus the king of your heart?

Are you ready to say, “King Jesus, I submit to your rule; I want to be a part of your kingdom. I repent of my sin and resolve to walk in your ways.”

So the Psalm ends: blessed are all who take refuge in him.

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Psalm 1: Which Way is Your Life Going?

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Which way is your life going? There is a beautiful poem by Robert Frost that goes like this…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;…

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost tells of the paths we take in life. Some are popular ones; others are unpopular. Some follow well-worn paths; others down the road less traveled. Some are common turns in the road; others are watershed moments: those decisions that reshape your life in a way your will never be the same, you cannot undo, you will forever look back on as momentous.

It is a cliché but life is a journey. The more important question is journey where? What way are you taking?

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction

This psalm almost feels more like a chapter in the Proverbs then the Psalms. Doesn’t it? It is an odd way to begin the Psalms, but it really gets at these prayer-songs’ true purpose.

The Psalms are organized into 5 books which mirror the 5 books of the Law. That is intentional. The longest Psalm, Psalm 119, praises the goodness of the law. That is also intentional.

The Psalms were intended to aid the people of God to follow God better. And this Psalm makes that point clear.

When we pray, we pray for wisdom. When we believe, it is to form and reform the way we live. When we act, it is to seek God’s blessing, his will, his love in the midst of life.

As we will see, the Psalms are the prayers of God’s people through all the up and downs of life, from thanksgiving to lament, from good times and bad, whether season your soul is in, these are intended to teach us how to walk with God better.

What does it mean to be blessed?

We here about blessing thought the Old Testament. God blesses creation on the seventh day of creation. God blesses Abraham to go and be a blessing to all nations.

My personal favorite, Jacob steals his brother’s blessing by dressing up like him while his brother is off hunting. The story says his brother was super hairy, so Jacob puts fur on his arms and goes in and sees his father, who is near blind. His father, Isaac thinks it’s the older brother, Esau from petting his fur-clad, and blesses Jacob. Jacob then high-tails it out of there before his brother gets home, and his brother does not get a blessing, because apparently blessings can get revoked even under false pretenses.

So…What is a blessing?

Blessed is not being rich or getting material stuff, although the patriarchs of the old testament did have those things. Blessing is not some warm and fuzzy feeling either. If you are blessed you are probably happy, but not necessarily. Listen to the beatitudes of Jesus, and you get a sense that blessed is a lot different.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek (the humiliated) for they will inherit the earth Or fast forward to the end: blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.

Obviously those who are mourning are not happy. Obviously those that are being persecuted might not have much at all. Blessed does not merely mean you are comfortable in life or happy.

Blessing means something different. Let me take a stab at it. Blessing is God’s approval over your life.

I think how as a child and as a teenager who I strived to make my dad proud of me. I was a good student, so I loved bringing a test home and showing my Dad my grades. I remember his smile, his sense of pride and joy over me doing that. That approval and encouragement in my life, gave me a sense of worth that allowed me to keep going.

I had a Dad that blessed me with that kind of approval and pride in my life. It didn’t matter if I messed up either. He was the kind of Dad that was always proud.

Do you remember the face of you parent when they were proud of you?

Do you strive to live your life longing to do God’s will that way?

Blessed is the sense of God’s approval on your life. It is that deep peace knowing you are living in the will of God, the heart of God, and you know God will use you and bring you into his kingdom, which you are apart of.

You right now, if you trust Jesus, if you are seeking to follow him – and we all mess up following him make no mistake on that – if you are seeking him, trying to follow his way, even if you stumble, even if you are crawling along, you can rest in the fact that God looks at you with a smile, like I said, even if we fail terribly in our walk with Christ, God loves sincerity before perfectionism. You know you have the peace of heaven in store. You know you are a part of his kingdom.

You are like the thief on the cross, where Jesus says, “Today, I tell you, you will be with me in paradise.” You are blessed. Right now. Knowing that beautiful gospel truth that God loves .

You might not have a cent to your name. You might have health problems. You might have stress in your life. Whatever it is, where ever you are at, our problem in this life pale in comparison in knowing God loves us, he has saved us, he has given his life for us, he looks at our lives with a certain deep pride, deep regard, deep joyous love. That is God’s blessing.

Do you strive for God’s blessing? Then comes the question, who is blessed in this Psalm?

   Blessed are those, who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,

See the metaphor of the journey and way get taken up there: walking in the way of the wicked, the way of sinners or resting along the way in the company of mockers.

Who are the wicked and who are sinners? Well in one sense we are all sinners and we all have wickedness in our hearts, but often the Psalm use it in a more concrete sense of those who very explicitly have turned their backs on God and embrace ways that hurt and harm others.

Just like salvation has multiple sense: we are saved the moment we accept Christ’s forgiveness, then we are being saved as we take of practices of grace in our daily life, and one day we will be saved, vindicated in the final day.

One theologian talked about we have been saved from the penalty of sin, being saved the practices of sin, and one day will be saved from the presence of all sin. It is the second sense, our daily choices to either draw closer to God or turn away, that is what we are talking about here.

Who are mockers? This word for mockers in the Old Testament is synonymous with arrogance, stubbornness, ruthlessness, and hostility.

Mockers are those who have chosen to harden their hearts from God. They have chosen to ignore God’s commands. They have chosen to turn a blind eye to human suffering, choosing to benefit themselves. They live life for themselves and they don’t care.

And when a Christian comes along they mock, they scoff: You believe in God? Pfff… You actually go to church? Boring. You don’t drink or do drugs or sleep around? How on earth do you ever have fun?

They are quick to label you the closed minded one, when they have long since closed their souls off from the pursuit of truth.

They are quick to say they aren’t so bad, they don’t need God to be good people, but in turn their morality is maintained only if it is convenient for them.

They scoff at faith in God, we have all encountered these people. The scary thing is that we are often tempted to join in. We don’t want to be mocked. No one does. We want to be popular and do all that wild and crazy stuff our co-workers brag about on Monday mornings.

There is a seductive allure to the life lived ignoring God.  Its so much easier, it is no much more fun.

This is nothing new. It is a temptation that is thousands of years old.

One way seems easy and better, the other seems difficult and unpopular. One leads to life, the other leads to destruction.

How can that be? Let me put it this way. THink of two paths

The first looks straight forward, but actually it is the deadliest road in North America. The Dalton Highway is a 667 km road in Alaska. It is a serene drive, but a dangerous one. The road has numerous potholes due to the frozen ground shifting – we in Sudbury know a think or two about that. I should have put a picture of Maley drive there! Anyways, Dalton highway have fast winds that unexpectingly freeze the road leaving unprepared drivers stuck in the middle of nowhere to freeze to death.

Think of other paths. This might not be a path per se, but it works. Think is Edge Walk in Toronto around the CN Tower. First glance, I know what answer would be if you were to ask me to go on that: no thank you!

But the fact of the matter is it is completely safe. You have a safety harness that ensures you cannot fall. In fact, just last year, a 90 year old lady walked it. It was on her bucket list apparently. Good for her.

Do you see the difference between paths. One looks easy but is in fact very dangerous. One looks impossible, but is in fact quite safe and quite rewarding.

What way is your life taking? Is it towards God or away?

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Dt. 30:19-20)

How do we follow this difficult way?

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

Notice the importance of meditation, thinking, pondering, wrestling. I think it implies that the way of God is not always so simple, but there is joy in facing difficult realities longing to follow God.

Life will be messy. Life is not black and white. Neither are the Scriptures sometimes because if the Scripture were just simple and nothing more complex to them, they would only offer us shallow truism in the face of life’s perennial questions.

God does not just want us to have all the answers, he wants us to trust him, to walk with him, even to wrestle with him.

I know so many people that quote passages of the Bible in harmful ways rather then taking the time to mediate on them.

I usually encounter two people: One thinks too much of the law directly applies today and falls into literalism and legalism, imposing oppressive rules that don’t function.

The other doesn’t think any of the law applies today and their faith is often vague or action-less. The problem with that is that love and grace demand action, that is why law does apply. If I love someone there are certain things I will do and won’t do. In that regard the law does apply.

It does not make God loves us, and this is the Apostle Paul’s point. But God is pleased when we follow its principles, which get to God’s very heart and will for our lives today.

Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Jesus lived the law out and said if a law does not conform to his summary of the law, the law of love, that the core purpose of the law is not sacrifice but mercy and compassion, if an individual law did not function to promote love and mercy, then Jesus simply saw that individual law as no longer applying.

So, do you meditate on God’s law? John Wesley the great revival preacher said that before he went to bed he would pray asking God whether he had wrong anyone that day and resolved in prayer to fix it or if he had sinned against God, he would ask forgiveness, and resolve to work tomorrow on that aspect of his character.

Do we have that kind of deep self-examination before God? This is what this Psalm is calling us to.

When we do these things, what kind of people do we become?

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

The Psalmist uses this analogy of a rooted tree by the water. Let me take this metaphor further…

There is a tree that grows in the desert called the mesquite tree. It thrives there. Why? Mesquite trees have roots that can go down over forty feet to underground streams.

Mesquite trees in times of drought or in the harsh winds of the dessert, stay green and lush. It is because of their rootedness. Their roots are strong enough to reach streams that refresh them.

The question is whether we are like Mesquite trees. Are we rooted enough in God? Do we nourish our spirits by meditating on God’s law? Do our souls drink from the streams of the Gospel to refresh us?

If we don’t we will wither. If we do, we will produce fruit.

The Apostle says that the whole law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: love your neighbor as yourself. When you do that, when you life in God’s love and for the love of others, not in the pits of laziness or legalism, then our lives produce fruit. Paul describes them in Galatians 5:

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

You see, when we strive to follow his way, when we mediate on his word in wisdom, when we know how the law culminates in prayer and love, and we look for these fruit, the law is fulfilled.

You can weather storms. It is not that storms don’t happen. It is that you can weather them because you have strong roots.

Whatever they do prospers. In the Bible there are kind of two perspectives on obedience and success. This early Psalm expresses the idea that those that do right are virtuous and therefore succeed in life. There is a lot of truth to that.

We also know that the righteous can also find a lot of strife in life. Those that are honest do not always get promoted. Those that are self-less don’t always make a lot of money. Bad things can happen to good people. That is the whole book of Job.

Perhaps you are wondering this: I am trying to follow God, but why did I lose my job? I tried doing what is right, why are more people angry at me? I am honest in my life, why is my health worse? It is in the face of questions like this that we have to reevaluate what true success is.

True success in found in God.

True success is found in trusting the Gospel

True success is found in walking with Christ, through all the ups and downs of life.

True success is knowing that at the end of the age, Christ will turn to you and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

That is all that matters. If you are wondering why life has given you the short end of the stick, remember in the eyes of the world we all might be losers and suckers, but in God’s eyes we are kings and queens, ready for the crowns of life.

Are you ready to rest in that, to know that God is enough.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction

You see the success of this world is not success in God’s eyes. They are like chaff. They are like the dry husk of grain that is blown away in the wind.

Some of us that have not grown up on farms might not get the chaff analogy. I was sitting looking out the window and the light shown in. In the beams of light, you can see little particles of dust, normally invisible, gently moving. You can’t even feel them on you hand.

That is the success of this world. They are that dust to God. One day they will be exposed for how inconsequential they are.

The people of God trust in hope that God will return to set right all that has gone wrong. And the sad fact is that those that continue to hold on to the idols of this world will experience this day as a bitter day, a day of destruction.

All the money of the greedy will burn, all the towers of the ambitious will be flattened, monuments will be melted, so much false-accomplishment will be destroyed. Everything that was not done to the glory of God will be no more.

It will be a bitter day because so many have spent their entire lives, they have built their entire lives on things that cannot last. They have refused to build their lives on God.

Jesus warns this:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Mt. 7:13-14)

The question then for us is, will we enter the narrow gate? Will we follow the path of the righteous? Will be build our lives on the things that last or the things that will be dust one day?