Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. …Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:1-46
There is so much in this story that can be discussed. The very fact that Jesus stayed where He was for two more days must have driven Mary and Martha absolutely crazy. There was a reason for it but they didn’t know it. It took a great deal of trust for them not to push Him to go to their village right now! Even before he started his journey, He told them that the sickness wouldn’t end in death.
What is God saying to you? Is there something right now that He is trying to drill into your head that you question? Do you have the patience to hear the same thing over and again until YOU get it right?
I guess the bigger question is, are you going to obey what he’s telling you?
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1:6
So ends our jaunt into Psalm 1. It was a “study” of right and wrong, good and evil, wicked and righteous. To be certain, there is good and there is evil. Very few honest people question that. The “post-modernists” might say that truth is relative and that there is no right and wrong. I don’t know that they are living in reality.
There will always be a struggle between the righteous and the wicked as long as man is alive. There is even a constant battle within man regarding good and evil (Romans 7 clearly lays out this struggle). Those who deny that battle are probably giving in too easily. Those who claim they have reached “sinless perfection” every day just might be pulling your leg. The Book of Romans seems to indicate a different struggle (Romans 6-8).
One day, however, there will be an end to the strife, an end to the evil, and an end to the wicked. Until then we can rest in His peace. We can sleep with a clear conscience at night. The wicked probably don’t have such a pleasant night of rest.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. Psalm 1:5
This is a merely a continuation of the previous verse. There will come a day, and quite possibly in the not-too-distant future, that the wicked will be judged. We don’t look forward to that day necessarily but we shouldn’t shy away from it either.
In Genesis, the Bible states that “the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become.” When we see the word “wicked,” we don’t always equate it with us! But it’s true. Romans 3:23 teaches us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We’re wicked; we’re sinners; we’ve fallen short of the glory of God. And what do we get for this being all of this? “For the wages of sin is death.”
Ouch. Seems harsh, doesn’t it?
“What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24
The sin, the sinner, the solution, and the Savior.
Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Psalm 1:4
Throughout Scripture and throughout history there has always a contrast between good and evil. Entire libraries are filled with books and philosophies trying to solve the problem of evil (mainly “how could a good God permit evil?”). Likewise, there are good and evil people. Other Scriptures warn us not to be seduced by evil people who enjoy the good life. They seem to get away with everything! It’s not fair. It really isn’t.
Doing the right thing day after day, month after month and year after year seems like it’s getting you nowhere. You don’t cheat. You don’t cook the books. You keep your thoughts pure. You hold your tongue. You’ve become accustomed to it and you’ll always do it that way. It’s probably even a boring routine. Don’t fall for the lie. Don’t be seduced by those who “get ahead” in shady and deceitful ways.
Stand firm in what you know to be true. It is not in vain.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. Psalm 1:3
Have you ever had the feeling that sometimes the sermons you hear and what you read goes in one ear and out the other? And those of us who are growing older each minute (all of us!) have that feeling even more so. Some
times you can’t even remember the sermon from that same morning!
I have one question to ask: can you tell me what you had to eat on the second Thursday of last month? Odd question, you say, but bear with me. Why can’t you remember what you had to eat? Does it matter why you can’t remember? If you’re still here today, you probably had something nourishing to eat. The important thing is, you ate and were filled and nourished. You get through another week or two.
Scripture is like that. I don’t remember what I had to eat a month ago but I did get nourishment from it and moved on. So, go easy on yourself when you can’t remember the finer points of a sermon or a teaching. Take it in and let God help you nourish it.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
There is a great wisdom in the adage inscribed in many Bibles: This Book will keep you from the Devil or the Devil will keep you away from this book. Someone showed me that in his Bible even before I became a Christian. At the time, I thought it curious at best. I really didn’t know what it meant.
Now, twenty five years removed from that situation, I can say the adage is as fresh now as it was then. The main idea behind it and the idea of today’s verse is to saturate yourself with the Word of God.
Feed on it.
Snack on it.
Read it right before you rest your eyes at night.
Read it at the height of your day.
Get it into your system.
Meditate on it.
Quote it out loud.
Write it in letters.
Memorize entire chapters.
Repeat it over and over again.
Then, in heavy and burdensome times, God will bring those verses to the forefront of your mind. For your benefit so that He gets the Glory!
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Psalm 1:1
I’ll admit it: it’s difficult not to take the advice and counsel from those who have lived in the world longer than I have. We all want to gain an advantage on the next guy or the next project or the next job in this life. It’s a highly competitive world in a very tight economy.
I think the true meaning of this first verse is deeper than that. There are certain people in this world who do not have your best interests at heart. They would seek to destroy you and tear you down any way they can. Sometimes they mean to; other times it’s just who they are. When it comes to your spiritual growth and satisfaction, we need to avoid them.
Who are these people? They are well-meaning friends who want to go out drinking and carousing with you. They could be parents of your children’s friends who constantly criticize and berate their mates. They could even be Bible-believing Christians who find fault in everybody and everything. Jesus himself walked among these types of people (and worse) but he didn’t hang around them regularly.
I guess the bottom line to this first verse is this: who are you getting your marching orders from?
The next few verses should shed some light on who we should be getting them from.
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road…So, too, a Levite…But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was. Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan always give my chills. Why, you ask? I’m too much like the priest and Levite. Let me explain. Jesus told this story to reveal our own hypocrisies. We say we’re more like the Samaritan but for the most part are like the other two. Our stated enemies of the United States are Iran and North Korea. I cannot picture myself stooping down to help someone like President Ahmadinajad if he were hurting alongside the road. My first reaction would be to take him out! And then to pay for further care in case I don’t return? No way.
But isn’t that the point of this entire passage? Have we become so politically insensitive and myopic that we are not able to see truth when it hits us in the face? Someone like that doesn’t deserve our help. Exactly.
We, too, were sworn enemies of God. Then God reached down to us by sending Jesus. He could have ignored us or zapped us from Planet Earth. But he didn’t. In fact, he took it several steps further by taking care of us when we hurt.
He’s the Supreme Good Samaritan.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat a the Lord’s feet listening to what he said….Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
Much has been said about this passage of Scripture. Martha was busy; Mary sat quietly at Jesus’ feet. What’s often missing is the reality that it was Martha who had invited Jesus into the house in the first place, and she gets a bad rap for being a busybody!
It has got to be intimidating inviting the Son of God into your home for tea. It’s no wonder that she went to and fro cleaning and serving and playing hostess. Wouldn’t you? No one has ever condemned her for being a poor hostess, only that she forgot to pay attention to the most important person in the world. Her sister was seated at His feet while Martha rushed around.
Still, I give Martha a lot of credit for inviting a perfect stranger into her home.