Underhanded and Dangerous

Psalms 25:1-3 ESV

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.”

If we believe in Jesus Christ with childlike faith, which believes what his word teaches, and which acts upon what the Word says, and so we are walking in obedience to our Lord in submission to his will for our lives, then we are going to be opposed like Jesus was. We are going to have people who are our enemies who will come against us, even though many of them may profess faith in Jesus Christ and even be pastors and elders of church congregations (or of what is falsely called “church”).

And the reason for that mainly in our world and church culture of today is that they hate Jesus, in reality, and they hate his gospel message, and so they have created their own version of Jesus, which is a friendlier version of Christ with regard to sinful flesh. And thus they have also altered the gospel of Christ to make it more appeasing and appealing to human flesh so that they can profess faith in Jesus Christ but yet continue living in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord and against other humans without guilt.

Thus, those who are making professions of faith in Jesus Christ but who have no intention of following him in obedience will oppose those of us who are walking in holiness and in righteousness and in obedience to our Lord. And they will especially oppose us if we are teaching the gospel that Jesus taught and not this diluted feel-good gospel of today which is not demanding death to sin and living to righteousness, and especially if we are speaking out against the lies of Satan and we are exposing the lies for what they are.

And this passage of Scripture defines these opponents of God and of his servants – who today are also opponents of biblical Jesus and of his biblical gospel – as those who are wantonly treacherous: Wantonly (lustfully, shamelessly, maliciously) treacherous (unfaithful, traitorous, deceitful, two-faced, underhanded, and dangerous). And this makes sense because they are enemies of the cross of Christ because they do not want to have to forsake their lustful, deceitful, underhanded, and malicious ways.

So, this is a prayer to God by one who is being persecuted by those who are enemies of God. But this is not indicating to us that we can pray and that God will remove all our enemies and all their evil attacks against us and that no harm whatsoever will ever befall us. For Jesus told us that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted, and that how they treated him they will also treat us. But we can be at peace in the midst of these storms via our trust in our Lord.

Psalms 25:4-5 ESV

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.”

This should be the prayer of the hearts of all who are true followers of Jesus Christ. We should all want to know the ways of the Lord so that we can walk in them. And all of us who have access to the Scriptures via paper copies of the Holy Bible, or via access to them on the internet or via videos and radio and TV, etc., we should know the ways of the Lord. But even if you don’t have access to the Scriptures, which you should if you are reading this now online, we read in Romans 1 that God revealed his divine character and will to all of us through his created works so that we are all without excuse.

But the problem, in most cases, I believe, is not that people don’t know the ways of the Lord, but that they don’t want to follow in his ways, but they want to go their own ways, instead. And so they find other sources which tell them what their itching ears want to hear and which will interpret the Scriptures for them in ways that they will accept. And so they follow them instead of following the Lord and his Word. But we, as followers of Christ, should want to know and to follow the ways of the Lord, in truth.

Psalms 25:19-21 ESV

“Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.”

Again, our Lord is not always going to deliver us out of these difficult and hurtful situations. He may, in some cases, and in others he may not. But he will deliver us through them from the negative impact of them over our lives. And he will fill us with his peace even in the midst of these storms of persecution and hatred and even violence (in some cases). And he will teach us his ways, and he will counsel us in the way that we should go, and he will strengthen and mature us through these situations for his glory.

So, even if we are being slandered, and if others are making insulting remarks against us, or if they are mocking us and making fun of us, and if they are showing us enormous disrespect and dishonor, and if they are making cutting remarks against us to try to silence us and to get us to back down from telling the truth, we must put these situations in the hands of the Lord and we must trust him with the results. And then we can be at peace even in the midst of conflict, because we know our God has it handled.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Jn 17:14; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Rev 6:9-11; Rev 7:9-17; Rev 11:1-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 13:1-18; Rev 14:1-13]

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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