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Seeking Things Above


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Col 3:1)

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2008-09-04

Scripture Thursday - Judge me, O Lord


Psalms 7:8-12 (ESV)
8 The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. 9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! 10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow;
As I read this Psalm, I ask myself, am I bold enough tell God to judge my righteousness and my integrity?  I know for the most part I'm a pretty good guy.  I try to live with integrity.  However, what about the little white lies that come out sometimes without even thinking about it?  How about when I get annoyed or lose my temper, even if I don't show it?  What about driving 75 when the speed limit is 65?

These may seem like small things.  However, If I pray this Psalm, I'm telling a perfect and holy God to judge me.  It's not even just my actions that this Psalm is asking God to judge.  It's the integrity that is in me, it's a heart issue.

When it comes to salvation of my soul, I know I am saved by faith alone.  My faith in Jesus as Lord means I was justified when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).  However, I don't know that this Psalm is necessarily about my eternal salvation.

David was asking for protection from his enemies.  He was asking God to judge him, and then based on that judgment, save him from his wicked enemies.  We know David was just a man.  While a man after God's own heart, he was able to fall to some serious sins in his life, like adultery and murder.  So how was he able to be so bold as to ask God to judge him before rescuing him?

I think the key is Psalms 7:12, "If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow;".  Before I seek God's protection, I should first seek his forgiveness.

So what is the life application here for me?  At the beginning of this Psalm (Psalms 7:1-2), David is pleading with God to save him from his pursuers that want to tear his soul apart like a lion.  Can I really relate to this plea?  I don't think I have anyone pursuing me like a lion.  Or do I?

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Maybe I better get down on my knees and repent so that when I ask God to judge me and deliver me, he will find an upright heart.

14 comments:

brad said...

"Before I seek God's protection, I should first seek his forgiveness."

What a great reminder. I struggle with this a little. This should be an ongoing thing and I too often rest on the promise of forgiveness without going through the 'process' (not the best word choice here but I couldn't think of a better one) of seeking His forgiveness. We must daily seek forgiveness. Not over and over again for past sins, but for those times we fall short in how we treat our family and friends or trip-up morally. It is important to be a realist and recognize sin in our own lives, repent, and seek God's forgiveness in Christ.

grace and peace, grace and peace, grace and peace ...

Tony said...

Brad -

Thanks. I know what you mean. It should be part of our daily battle - reflection on how we are living and how we are thinking. Are we measuring up against the standard?

Grace and peace. Tony

Joshua Guild said...

Honestly if I were to be real I need to express some opinions after reading your post that may not comfortable for some to read.

David the author of this Psalm had so much blood on his hands that God would not let him build His temple. David's opinion of himself seemed too high at times and too low at other times. David committed adultury with basheba and had uriah murdered to cover up his sins. David had at least 4 wives (probably more). If you thoroughly study David you will easily come to the conclusion that he was not such a great guy in action.

I am tired of seeing christians placing themselves under the law. I see so many poor, wretched, naked and blind christians that it sometimes turns my stomach. These christians place a burden on themselves from day to day that has nothing to do with God. WHAT? You may ask? The truth is that this burden to be so good is more about our selfish desire to look back on our day or life and feel good about ourselves. Christians are in a competition with themselves to be good and it has nothing to do with God.

The truth is that God's image is reflected through healthy marraiges and parenting. Do you scrutinize you wife and kids the way you think God scrutinizes you? How many sins would it take for you to be ashamed of your wife or ashamed of your kids? How many sins would it take to cause you to divorce your wife or kick your kids out of the house? We are God's bride and we are God's children. He loves me more then I love my wife and even more then I love my kids. God's mercies are greater then mine and His grace goes way farther then my grace.

I do love God, but I am sorry because I don't spend a lot of time scrutinizing myself. Jesus said love God and love others and you will fulfill the whole law. Jesus also asked if worry could add even one day to your life. Funny thing is that worry has scientifically been proven to cause health problems that shorten your life span. I surely don't want to join the many christians who medicate for depression.

In Christ we are truly free, so start living like it if you are not already.

Josh

Tony said...

Josh -

Thanks for contributing. I admit that my self-reflecting posts may seem negative at times but that is far from where I am at. I am quite joyful in my walk with Christ.

Let's look at your points:

David - I think I too mentioned in this post that he was an adulterer and murderer. He was far from perfect but he still found favor with God.

Acts 13:22 (NASB95)
22 "After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'

Law - I believe I stated up front in this post that I am saved by grace alone which means no longer under the law. However, does that mean I should not deal with sin in my life, seek forgiveness and repent.

Romans 6:15-18 (NASB95)
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

So with the Spirit in me I am a slave to righteousness. I seek to live a life that glorifies God. Am I doing it so other Christians will see what I do? If that was the case I would not be sharing with everyone how miserably I fail at it. However, even though I am sorry when I sin, I am still joyful because I am forgiven.

One last point on this comment:

"The truth is that this burden to be so good is more about our selfish desire to look back on our day or life and feel good about ourselves. Christians are in a competition with themselves to be good and it has nothing to do with God."

I'm not sure how you can judge the hearts of your brothers and sisters that seek to follow the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25 (HCSB)
25 If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

Grace and peace to you.

Tony

Tony said...

Josh -

One follow-up comment. I followed your backlink to your site but it does not allow comments without a password.

I'm not trying to say that you have not come across Christians that were self-righteous and sought their own glory. I'm not saying you've never been burned in person by such people.

What I am saying, is that's not what is going on here.

I'll assume you are not talking about me personally as a "pathetic Christian" where you've posted your comments above on your own site. However, if I am "pathetic" for wanting live out Col 3:1-10, so be it.

Please visit here often and share brother.

Tony

Joshua Guild said...

Tony:

I was not personally talking about you.

I guess I was giving a generalized rebuke to a common problem. Churches have become manipulative and they are producing weak christians that carry a guilt complex. I stopped attending each sunday because of all the unbiblical brain washing and the fast food communion they serve which lacks in intimacy. I do attend a small group which is far better the staring at the back of someones head each sunday listening to a pastor who wouldn't know what real suffering was if it bit him in the rear. The fruit of the modern intitutional church system are baby christians who seem to fail to every grow in faith and who have not a clue of how big God's love is for them.

The reason I posted here was that some of the comments on your post made the hair on my neck stand up. If my son saw me the way it appears some of you see God then I wouldn't consider myself a very good father. God has a weak spot for His children and David the Psalmist knew it. David knew God would help him defeat Goliath and David knew that when he and his men raided the food inside the holy of holies that God would not kill them. Jesus represents the weak spot that God has chosen to have for His children. Jesus was God in the flesh who willingly became a man capable of being crucified. If my son hung his head as low as many christians then I would be ashamed of myself. How does our Heavenly Father want us to walk? I will give you a clue "Love covers a multitude of sins".

Praying for all of you this moment. I am not only praying, but delivering a message/seed. I hope this truth has taken root in those of you who are reading this carrying an ungodly burden.

Ron said...

Hi Tony! Challenging post, some interesting comments here, and good food for thought!

Tony said...

Josh -

No doubt, there are Christians that are legalistic and not only lose their own joy but can rob others as well.

I think God, as my Father, wants to see me strive to what pleases him (as I am pleased when my children are willfully obedient). However, we wants that obedience out of love, not out of a fear of "what happens if I screw up".

I can see how my original post may have come across that way. If you want to use the parent analogy (which is not bad except that none of us can measure up to our heavenly Father as fathers ourselves) then what I am saying is that I want to please my Father with my obedience and I want to ask for forgiveness for where I fall short. Note that this "falling short" is almost always out of rebellion and pride. When my own children misbehave our of selfishness, pride or just being rebellious, I am more proud when they acknowledge there actions and ask for forgiveness.

Now, I will always love my children, whether they ever say their sorry or not. However, if I did not hold them accountable for misbehavior, I would be raising spoiled children. Using this analogy, my Father would be raising a spoiled Christian if I was never held accountable for any of my sinful actions.

So, before I go to my heavenly Father with my needs, I believe I should first ask Him to search my heart and let's work out anything where I'm falling short on how He wants to raise me spiritually.

My concern in the Church may or may not be similar to yours. I see less legalism (although I know there is plenty out there) and more overly passive Christianity. I see too many folks living out their Christian life without thinking too much one way or the other about how much God loves them. "Luke Warm" comes to mind.

If you read some of my other posts here, you'll see that my passion is for more passion for Jesus and more compassion for our world, from me and from my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I really appreciate the dialog Josh. Hope to hear more from you on future discussions.

Tony

soundofasoftbreath said...

Joshua Guild wrote in his comment above:"The reason I posted here was that some of the comments on your post made the hair on my neck stand up."

Ok, Joshua I guess I should ask what in my comment made the hair on your neck stand up?

I am not quite sure I am following your complaint about some of the Christians you call "pathetic". I agree that too many Christians beat themselves up over their failings, but I don't believe they are pathetic I think they haven't yet fully grasped the depth and breadth of the love of God in Christ. Sometimes it takes very specific experiences to really understand what we read in the Word and maybe understand intellectually. (Romans 8:37-39)

When our anger is motivated out of a wrong motive, or we tell a little lie to get something the way we want it, or get even with someone who has wronged us, I think it is important to not ignore those mistakes. We need to be honest with ourselves about our mistakes, with those times we fail to live up to God's high standard in Christ and acknowledge it before our heavenly Father. We need to be honest especially before God so we do not forget that it is Christ's Righteousness not ours that has made us acceptable in the sight of God.

grace & peace in Christ,
brad

Kgraham said...

Hi there - just wanted to let you know that I tagged you for a meme on my blog at http://ourdailycrumb.blogspot.com/2008/09/tagged-for-meme.html. When you have a moment and want to do a no serious thinking exercise, have fun with it :). Thanks!
Kathie

Kats Big Fish said...

I think we all have to remember that Satan will always do his best to make us feel unworthy. We all know that our good deeds aren't enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When I'm feeling inadequate or sorry for any little thing I've done, I try to remember that the Lord loves me and knows what's in my heart. That is what matters. He knows we are going to make many mistakes.

Tony said...

Brad - Thanks for the great input.

Kats - absolutely it's a heart issue. That's why this Psalm can seem daunting. David is asking God to search his heart. Where is my heart, really... Who is God in my life? Jesus? Or me or my kids or my work or...

Is it Satan that accuses me and tells me I am not keeping God at the highest priority in my life or is it Satan that excuses me and tells me don't worry about it, as long as God is in the top 5 then all is good? Seems silly but how often do our choices\actions reflect that ourselves or someone else has slid into that top spot in our life?

I rest on the passage Brad gave for confidence in God's love, Romans 8:37-39. However, I think this love should drive us to want to make sure our heart is where it needs to be.

Back to your point, Kats. I agree with what you said that Satan will try to make us feel unworthy because of our mistakes. Christ is our defender. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24-25). We're justified through his resurrection, Satan has no case.

Kgraham - hmmm... quirky things about myself. I will have to think on this some. Thanks.

carol said...

Tony, Another excellent post. Reading over some of the feed back it looks like you hit a nerve.

It is an excellent point that I should seek His forgiveness before I seek His protection.

Larry and Jennifer Darnell said...

Thanks Tony for your assessment of this Psalm. It would really help if we knew when in David's life many of his Psalms was written. Some we can tell because of the nature of the writing...others are assumptions alone. He may have felt "righteous" earlier in life before his great fall.

It would be hard to imagine me ever approaching God in this manner described in this Psalm. I am truly thankful for the blood of Jesus Christ that washes my sins away.

Larry

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