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Thursday, January 03, 2008

I want to pick up where we left off before the holidays as we continue to dig in to Psalm 15. We had worked our way up to verse 4 where David writes that the one who honors God is he...
4 who despises a vile man NIV

At first glance, this might appear to be a harsh statement, maybe even contradictory to the merciful person described to this point in the passage. You might think, "Okay, I'm not supposed to slander anyone, do my neighbor any wrong or cast a slur on him. Now, David is telling me to despise someone?!" Actually, this is right in character with the overall picture of the Bible. It's a picture that we don't cast accurately in the American church.

Let me explain what I mean. The Bible says quite frequently that we are to abstain from the things that are evil. We are to despise what the evil people do.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 NIV

Five different times in the New Testament, we are told to have nothing to do with the evil desires or the people who entertain them. God called us to be holy people. The word literally means "to be set apart for use by a Divine purpose" As followers of Christ, you and I are to be "set apart" from the things of this world. The reason that we don't talk about this attitude much in the church today is would require us to give up some of the compromises we have made with our culture. To despise the vile man would mean fewer consumer products, fewer entertainment options, fewer rights as citizens and even some down right hardship. Not a popular idea I would dare say.

To truly despise what is vile (not only the man but his actions) would cause us to really be separate from much of what gives us comfort--our friends, our behaviors, our hobbies, even our careers to some degree.

God deserves and expects more. Make no mistake about it, when Jesus told his listeners that those who followed Him would have to "die daily," he wasn't talking about a namby-pamby (good word, huh?), sissified, easy belief system that would give us social status and increase our self-esteem. He was calling for people who were willing to live in daily warfare, without compromise. There is still grace and mercy enough for every man and for every sin but, for those who refuse to turn their back on the sinful nature and embrace God, the Father asks us to come out and be separate from the darkness that engulfs their lives.

1 comment:

Diana said...

Thank you for diving back in.
You are doing a great job exegeting this scripture for us.

As a pastor you have a huge say in what comes, stays, and what goes when it comes to your church. As parents it is our jobs to do the same thing inside our own homes.

Most American's don't practice what they preach. We once lived in a time where God put the church into the world and in today's culture so much of the world is being put into the church. How do we change that? Is it enough to be one voice. Can you as one person really change how much culture is brought into the churches other than yours?

The American church can justify almost anything they do if "it's for the Kingdom of God."

If parents, and other adult leaders aren't doing a great job of taking His Word and hiding it in their hearts, how can we guide or expect our younger generations to do so when we can't even be an example of what the totality of the thought "being set apart" really means?
Instead, we allow a little in at a time and become acclimated to the cultural darkness in the churches and it becomes acceptable in our human eyes and minds and we forget that it isn't ok with God's plan for us.

D