Tag Archives: Word to the Wise

Word to the Wise | “My Feet Almost Slipped”, Pt. 5

My Feet Almost Slipped (Psalm 73)

By now, most of you have gotten the picture that the psalmist has painted. Basically, he has stated that believers develop a distorted view of God’s actions in the world EVERY time they lose sight of God. That is, when Christians fall out of fellowship with God, they will inevitably begin to believe the lies of the world. I have a saying that goes like this: “If a Christian does not fellowship with the church, he will eventually fellowship with the world.” This is the blindness that Jesus spoke about. It is a blindness that goes beyond intelligence and information. This darkness in the human soul prevents the person from seeing God’s action on our behalf. The problem is so profound that even when people are immersed in the deepest of spiritual darkness they still have an unquenchable need and desire for God. It is that desire that can awaken a person to God’s activity at any moment they meet the light of God. Some will run from the light, but many will embrace the light of God—the truth of our desperate reality.

This is precisely the psalmist’s point. After describing how a person out of fellowship with God describes the “blessings” of the unbelievers, he makes a 180 degrees turn around. Listen how the psalmist wrote it: “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Psalm 73:16-17). When I entered into the sanctuary of God, or when my eyes were open by the light of God’s truth I was able to see the darkness in my soul that was keeping blinded and enslaved. He said: “I realized that their lives are empty and meaningless. Their destruction comes quickly.” This is not to say that they will die young. This is to say that compared to eternity, the unbelievers’ present “blessings” are temporary and quickly passing. Their enjoyment will last for a short season (maybe 70 years). But for us, for those who have turned our lives into God’s hands, our present suffering is temporary and our joy will be eternal.

The psalmist is encouraging us to take an eternal approach to how we live. Sure, life is rough some days. But wait a few years and see the glory of God manifested in our lives. Sure, the unbelievers seem to get away with disobedience and rebellion. But wait just a moment and you will see how they are destroyed by their own deception. Sure, I have been tempted by envy as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. But wait just a few years and you will see that their prosperity comes to nothing while we will inherit the streets of gold. Listen to the conclusion of this great psalm: “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory”; and to conclude he said; “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (Psalm 24; 28). If we want to have a proper and sober perspective about life, we need to stay “near God” or in fellowship with God.

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Word to the Wise | “My Feet Almost Slipped”, Pt. 4

My Feet Almost Slipped 4 (Psalm 73)

The psalmist captured the false perception that many believers have about God’s justice. Many times believers lose sight of God’s goal for their lives, which is their sanctification. Listen how the psalmist describes the attitudes of the person that has lost sight of God’s holiness and has developed the wrong perception of their circumstances. The first thing Christians do when they take their eyes of God is to accuse God of ignorance. “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” (Psalm 73:11)

Once a Christian begins to question God’s wisdom, the next thing they do is describe the wicked from a human perspective and not from a holy perspective. Listen to how many Christians think: “The wicked are carefree… they increase in wealth” (Psalm 73:12). Once the Christian has convinced himself that the wicked are doing fine without God, he begins to question his own faith. He says to himself, maybe I am wasting my time with this God. Maybe my life would be better if I just went out and lived like the wicked. Listen to the words of a believer that has accepted the devil’s lies. “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence” (Psalm 73:13). The situation becomes so confusing for the Christian that takes his eyes of God that they become depressed (Psalm 73:16).

What a sad state of affairs. The psalmist captures the incredible ignorance that God’s people exhibit today, even though he wrote more than 2,500 years ago. Many sectors of the church today have not only complained about God’s requirements for fellowship with Him, and his wisdom, they have fully embraced outright sinful behavior and call it godly. How did these groups get this way? Let me suggest to you two main reasons: (1) they began to reject the Bible as their guide for life, morality, and godliness. This process began very early in the 20th century with the rejection of biblical inerrancy and proceeded from there to make the Bible a book of fables and allegories (further on this some other day). (2) The second reason is that these groups from within the church fall in love with worldly philosophies. Paul warned us against worldly philosophies, but many in the church have yet to learn the lesson.d

Word to the Wise | “My Feet Almost Slipped”, Pt. 3

“My Feet Almost Slipped”, Pt. 3

We have been discussing Psalm 73. Psalm 73 is a guide to every believer concerning our walk with Christ. This is the problem. Whenever we pay more attention to what unbelievers are doing or achieving, we will have a distorted view of the world. This is what happens. First, we look at “them” and compare our situation with theirs. Like the psalmist we say, I am trying so hard to live a godly life and I still have so many struggles. But look at unbelievers, they don’t care about God, they enjoy the pleasures of life and nothing happens to them. They are getting away with murder and God doesn’t do anything. And here I am, I just tell a minor lie and God broadcast it all over the world. Man I can’t get away with anything. This is simply not FAIR.

When a Christian thinks like this, he has missed the major (humongous) point of being a Christian. We are not here to compete with the world. We are not here to satisfy the flesh. We are not here to become rich and famous. We are here to be conformed to the image of Christ. At some point in our lives we recognized our sins. Then, we acknowledged our need for salvation. Then, we turned to Christ to be reconciled with God. Okay, if you did this, do not come back crying and complaining that you can no longer enjoy sin like you use. Let me help you with something. Once you cross the Red Sea (back to the exodus here), you CAN’T go back to Egypt unless you can swim across the ocean. We cannot go back to the world because when we accepted Christ as Savior we renounce the citizenship from Satan’s kingdom (the world) and accepted the citizenship of God’s Kingdom (heaven).

So, the Apostle Paul said this to the Colossian church: “If you have become a citizen of heaven, you are no longer free to seek the stuff from earth. Get your act together and start doing heaven’s stuff, because if you don’t the beatings will continue until you get it through your head that we have a spiritual nature that God is not willing to give up” (Colossians 3:1). Okay, okay, I took some liberties with the paraphrasing, but you get my point. Anyway, have a great Friday, enjoy your Saturday, and for goodness sake, go to your church on Sunday and worship the God of heaven who loved you to the point of sending His Son to take your sins away.

Word to the Wise | “My Feet Almost Slipped” Pt. 1 and 2

*EDITORS NOTE: This was originally sent out as two individual devotional thoughts. They have been combined for the sake of continuity.

My Feet Almost Slipped (Psalm 73)

Part 1

There are two reasons Christians’ feet almost slip—or backslide: First, they begin to envy the world. You know like; “Dad, little Johnny gets to stay out until midnight, why can’t I?” Well, son—God would say—because little Johnny is not my son and you have to follow my rules and not little Johnny’s rules. Or, Pastor, is it okay for me to go to the clubs once a week? And I will say, if you want to spend the rest of your life with a broken fellowship with God—sure, go ahead. (2) Christians’ feet begin to slip when they start walking by sight instead of walking by faith. Listen to the psalmist: “My feet almost slipped when I SAW the prosperity of the wicked.”

The Bible tells us that we walk by faith, not by sight. But whenever we put our eyes on the world, we are walking by sight instead of walking by faith.

Part 2

Yesterday we mentioned one reason that makes Christians “almost slip.” There are two aspects that explain the “almost slip” commentary by the psalmist: (1) Christians almost slip when we begin to envy what we perceive are the world’s “blessings.” You know, when we develop the desire to continue enjoying the things of the world after we have made a promise to the Lord that we are dedicated only to Him [something is wrong]. (2) Our feet can slip when we start walking by sight and not by faith. Every time we compare our lives, our successes, our failures, our struggles, etc. with the world, we are walking by sight. Whenever we SEE the world “prospering” we ENVY them. One of the most important lessons we can learn is to realize that the world has NOTHING to offer us—NOTHING.

Our second [way of slipping], following yesterday’s discussion, is that some Christians fail to understand that we are functioning under a different set of rules from the rest of the world. This means that while the world can lie, cheat, and steal, we cannot. The world can blaspheme God, but we cannot. The world can function in hatred and revenge, but we operate in forgiveness and love. Our rules come from God’s Kingdom. Their rules come from Satan’s kingdom. If you belong to God’s Kingdom, you cannot be wishing to live under the rules of Satan’s kingdom.

Example: After God had rescued the people of Israel from the Egyptian bondage they began to desire the “pleasures” of Egypt—which represents the kingdom of Satan. The Bible says that, “After 400 years God heard the cry of the people of Israel in Egypt.” After they received their freedom they began to crave the routine that slavery provided. They were willing to surrender their new freedom for the “safety” of captivity. In freedom they did not always know what was next. In captivity, someone else was making their decisions for them. They did not need to take responsibility for their lives.

This is what is interesting about this—God did not send them back to Egypt, but allowed them to wander in the desert for forty years. It took that long to get their minds away from their slavery mentality. They left Egypt, but Egypt never left them. This is the same with Christians today. They leave the world, but the world never leaves them. Thus, they ask, “Can I be a Christian and still enjoy the temporary pleasures of the world?” You can enjoy the temporary pleasures of the world, if you want to spend the rest of your life wandering in the desert without direction, purpose, or hope of entrance into the Promised Land—that is, without ever finding God’s rest for your life and experiencing the joy of salvation for your life. The Red Sea was not just an event. It was also a metaphor.

This is the metaphor: God saved them from bondage—Jesus has saved us from the bondage of sin. God led them through the Red Sea. Jesus has washed our sins away with His blood. After they had crossed the Red Sea, the water closed back again behind them. We have passed from death unto life. The closing of the Red Sea meant that they could not go back. There was no access back to Egypt. Once we have received Christ we cannot go back because Jesus said: “I did not lose none of the ones you gave me.” Rejoice: you are now in the desert on the way to the Promise Land and Egypt has nothing to offer us.