Psalms 97:1, 6-7 ESV
“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
“The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!”
What are worthless idols? They are anything of this world to which we give our hearts and our devotion, which we seek after and long for, and which we spend our energies, time, and affections on, which then end up stealing our hearts’ devotion away from the Lord, and which have no eternal value to us.
They don’t all have to be bad things, either. They don’t all have to be sinful, in and of themselves. They could be good things. They could arts and crafts, sewing, woodworking, reading, listening to music, riding bikes, exercising, and the like. But if they consume our time, and if they rob us of our devotion to the Lord, and of obedience to him, then they can become worthless idols.
Certainly, sinful practices fall into the category of worthless idols, too – such things as sexual immorality, impurity, gossip, slander, hatred, violence, lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, trickery, and abuse and the like (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Eph 4:17-24; Col 3:5-11).
Also, things like social media, the news media, talk shows, TV, movies, games, and anything which entertains or which has the potential to entertain us and to suck up hours of our days can also be worthless idols and stumbling blocks to our walks in holiness and in righteousness.
So, it is important that we examine these things in our lives in prayer before God and that we inquire of him to show us what worthless idols exist in our lives so that we don’t allow ourselves to be captivated by them. Again, some of these may not be wrong in themselves, but they can be wrong for us if they rob us of the lives God has for us to live on this earth for his glory.
So, instead of letting the things of this world reign in our lives, we must submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ in our lives, die with him to sin, and live to him and to his righteousness in his power and strength (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Lu 9:23-26).
Psalms 97:8-9 ESV
“Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to rejoice in him, in who he is (God), and in his divine will for our lives. For Jesus is not just the forgiver of sins and the one who promises us eternal life with him, but he is a God of justice, too, and he is a God who makes and who executes judgments.
And this is because he is a righteous and holy God who has laid down for us what his will is for us. And his will is that we should all die with him to sin and that we should live to him and to his righteousness. His will for us is that we live holy and godly lives, pleasing to him (Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2).
So, his judgments regarding sin are for our good. The boundaries he set down for us are for our good, not to spoil all our “fun.” Thus, he says we are to forsake our former lives of sin, and that we are to be renewed in our minds, and that we are now to follow him with our lives in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
Psalms 97:10-12 ESV
“O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!”
Amen! If we love the Lord, we should love what he loves, and we should hate what he hates. If we love the Lord, we will also walk in obedience to his commands. Righteousness will be what we practice, but not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection. But lack of perfection is not an excuse for deliberate, premeditated, and habitual sinning against God.
If we hate evil, evil will not be what we practice. It will not be our habit, our “go to” whenever we feel life is not treating us fairly. It will not be what we run to when things aren’t going well for us in this life. And it will not be our automatic response to temptation to sin or to time alone by ourselves when we think that no one else is watching what we are doing.
For, when Jesus died for us on that cross, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to deliver us from evil and from slavery to sin and the control of Satan over our lives. For, he is the preserver of our lives from evil so that evil will have no more sway.
So, that is why, when we believe in Jesus with God-persuaded faith in him that we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and that we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).
And that is why we are now able to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh, because of God’s grace, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, and because, through faith, we now have the Holy Spirit living within us empowering us to walk in holiness and godliness and to say “No!” to fleshly lusts (Tit 2:11-14).
So, we thank him and we praise him for all that he has done for us. We no longer walk in darkness, but we now walk in the light of his truth for his honor, glory, and praise. To God be the glory! Great things HE has done!
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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