|The psalmist describes two sides of the character of the wicked in Psalm 10:2–11. Structurally each description is five verses long and ends with the inner thoughts of the unjust oppressor, “He says in his heart” (10:6, 11). Two words summarize these wicked oppressors: arrogant and aggressive. Their pride and violence spell disaster for anyone who stands in their way.
First, the wicked oppressors are arrogant. The trouble they cause flows out of self-importance.
In arrogance, the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. (10:2)
Where does this abusive pride come from? For one thing, they forget that the rich and poor were both created by God. We did not make ourselves. We did not choose which family we were born into and the opportunities we were given. We did not decide how intelligent we would be, how wise we would be, how self-motivated we would be. All this is from God’s hand. The writer of Proverbs says, “The rich and the poor meet; the Lord is the maker of them all” (Prov.22:2). The wicked forget this. They like to view themselves as self-made men, like sharks made to swim at the top of the food chain. This pride is Darwinian at its core—a survival of the fittest that grinds the poor into the dirt. And in their arrogance, they think God will never do anything. They have nothing but contempt for God and laugh at any idea of judgment.
In fact, they do not worship God. They worship themselves.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (10:3, 4)
The word “for” (v. 3) tells us why the wicked pursue the poor. They turn on the poor and the helpless because they first turned against God.
What does it mean to boast in your desires? That is an unusual phrase. The wicked are proud of their desires. Their cravings are a virtue. After all, didn’t they succeed because of their will to win? Their greed got them where they are.
One of the most powerful illustrations of this came from the 1987 Oliver Stone movie Wall Street. The main character, Gordon Gekko, was modeled after high-powered traders who ran the financial markets like masters of the universe. In one famous scene Gekko delivers a speech to the nervous shareholders of Teldar Paper Corporation.
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.
This quote struck a chord because it hit so close to home. The spirit of American materialism declares that greed is a virtue, that in fact greed is the foundation of success. This is the mind-set of the man or woman who boasts of the desires of his or her soul. They boast because they believe it is a good thing never to be content, never to be satisfied, always to want more. And in their greed, they grind the poor into the ground to get what they want.
It is sobering to notice that these wicked men and women renounce God by his personal name, Yahweh (“the Lord,” v. 3). This implies that these oppressors are not foreigners; they are Israelites who knowingly reject the God of Israel. In their greed, they loved money and possessions more than God. In their pride, they did not look for him. Finally, they denied that God even exists.
SOURCE: Culled from Rejoice the Lord is King (James Johnston).
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105 NASB
Why is the Bible so important? To many it is just a collection of stories. One possible option. But, in fact, the Bible is our guide to life.
From the story of creation, we receive a foundational worldview to shape our thinking. From Adam and Eve, we learn God’s designs, and the reality of temptation. From Noah, we see His standards and holiness. From Abraham, we learn how to live by faith. From Joseph, we learn to trust Him in every situation.
From Moses we learn the importance of humility, and how to lead, and follow His leading. From the Law we see principles that lead to success, and failure. From Israel’s history, we see the consequences of obedience and disobedience, and how quickly we can forget history’s lessons.
From David, we learn the heart of God. From Solomon, we learn the keys to Godly wisdom and the consequences of pride. From Isaiah, we glimpse His plans. From Ezekiel and Jeremiah, we learn the importance of obeying His call. From Amos, we learn that God’s call may seem outside our comfort zone. From Hosea, we learn the depth of His love.
From the Psalms, we learn to be honest with God, and sing His praises. From Proverbs, we learn discretion and wisdom. From Ecclesiastes, we realize how life without God can be like chasing the wind.
From Peter, we see boldness. From Paul, we receive an overflow of spiritual insights. From Hebrews, we understand how the old and new covenants work together. From Revelation, we receive His perspective of eternity. The benefits of the words and life of Jesus are too many to be counted, and the entire Bible is ultimately a testimony about Him (Luke 24:27).
Amazingly, the truths in the Bible apply to each of us. This is why we need to depend on the Bible. To learn and study it. To make it a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Today’s Inspiration Prayer
Father, give me a greater hunger for Your Word. Reveal more of Your truth to me. I seek Your wisdom and guidance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Further Reading: Psalm 119
SOURCE: Culled from Inspiration Ministries.
“You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods.” – Deuteronomy 7:2-4 NKJV
It would have been ideal to enter a land with no conflicts or distractions. But God knew thereality. His people were about to enter the Promised Land, and He knew that it was filled withtemptations and opportunities for them to compromise. The rewards would be great, but they had to be prepared, or face defeat.
He warned them about the ways they could be led astray. They would have many opportunities to establish relationships with the people of the land. But they had to be careful. They had to realize how these relationships could influence them and draw them away from the Truth. They could start thinking wrong thoughts, and pursuing wrong goals.
The New Testament provides a similar warning, that we should avoid being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). This does not mean that we should seek absolute isolation. In many practical ways, we all need to interact with people in the world. But there are dangers in being “yoked.” In being joined in heart and soul. These relationships can poison our minds and lead us away from the purity that God desires for us.
We always need to remember that if we have committed our lives to God, we have entered into a covenant relationship with Him. He has promised to provide for us, guide us, protect us, and bless us. But we must keep our part of the covenant. This means keeping His commandments, and never having any other gods before Him.
Today, ask God to help you evaluate your relationships. Make a commitment to serve Him, and seek first His Kingdom. And be careful about relationships with which you are yoked.
Today’s Inspiration Prayer
Father, I commit my life to You. Show me if there are relationships I should avoid. Give me Your discernment. I seek first Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Further Reading: Deuteronomy 7
Scripture: Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12:1-8
For many Christians, the word worship is synonymous with the songs we sing in church services. This is often implied when those who lead music announce to the congregation, “Let’s stand and worship.” Singing praises to God is but one aspect of what the word means—it includes much more and is not limited to Sunday morning in a church building.
When the Samaritan woman spoke to Jesus about this, He told her a time would come when the place wouldn’t be important. In that day, worship would be done in spirit and in truth (John 4:20-24), as an integral part of everything in our daily life.
Let’s consider ways we worship God:
With our words (Rom. 11:33-36). Right after finishing a thorough explanation of doctrine to the church in Rome, Paul broke out in praise to the Lord. As our minds are filled with God’s truths, our worship will likewise overflow in prayer and songs of adoration, praise, and reverence.
With surrendered lives (Rom. 12:1-2). Instead of worshipping with animal sacrifices, we offer ourselves to the Lord through holy, obedient living. This is possible because God’s truth renews our mind, thereby transforming our life.
With service to others (Rom. 12:3-8). Everything we do can be an act of worship when it is done as unto the Lord. By His grace, He has even given us spiritual gifts that enable us to serve one another.
Think about your choices, actions, and words throughout the day—both to God and to others. How can they be transformed into worship?STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:11
As Christians, we have a special relationship with each other because of our union with Jesus. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve met a stranger with whom you sensed a bond and soon discovered that you were both Christians.
Scripture calls us to be a source of encouragement and help to our brothers and sisters in Christ, yet most of us know at least one believer with whom we have more conflict than comfort. Perhaps our personalities don’t mesh, or we have different convictions that sometimes result in arguments. The problem could also be a matter of miscommunication or misunderstanding.
Whatever our natural differences may be, we can overcome them through Jesus Christ and live in peace with one another. Instead of building walls, we can express grace to others in the following ways:
Prayer. Make it a habit to lift up the other person in prayer to the Father.
Communication. Discuss the relational issue openly and honestly. Clear up any incorrect assumptions and uncover the source of conflict. Be willing to share concerns and listen to the other point of view.
Counsel. To work though the conflict, it may sometimes be necessary to enlist the aid of a godly counselor.
Restoration. Once the root issue is resolved and harmony is restored, both parties should agree to address new conflicts promptly as they arise.
God calls us to live in peace, and He has provided everything we need to obey Him. When we allow His indwelling Holy Spirit to control us, His goodness and grace will flow through us to others, creating harmony.STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.
‘Let your conversation be always full of grace.’ – Colossians 4:6 NIV
Our words have power. They can lift people up or bring them down. They can heal or they can hurt. They can speak God’s truth or the enemy’s lies. And we have the ability to choose, every day, the way we use our words. The Bible says: ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight’ (Psalm 19:14 NIV).
When we stop and think, are our words pleasing to God? We can end up saying things in the heat of the moment, we criticise others and promote ourselves, or we tear ourselves down by saying that we’re not good enough. Controlling our words is something we all struggle with. Maybe this is why words are mentioned so many times in the Bible. In James, we’re taught that the tongue is hard to control. ‘The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image’ (v.8-9 MSG). And if we don’t try and use wisdom when speaking, our words can have bad consequences. When we’ve criticised others, we may quickly forget what we’ve said to them, but those words may stay with that person for their whole life. It can take years to break off things that other people have spoken over us. ‘It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that’ (James 3:5 MSG). Instead, the Bible tells us to ‘Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone’ (NLT).
Think about the things you’ve said to others so far this week. Ask God for forgiveness for any words that haven’t been pleasing to Him.STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from United Christian Broadcasters.
‘Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.’ – 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
The Bible tells us to eat, drink, celebrate, sing, dance, shout, and make music – all things we do with our bodies. And these things can actually become a way of remembering how good God is. Our physical lives are not separate from our spiritual lives. After all, it’s God’s Spirit who makes our bodies come to life. But if we’re not careful, our priorities can shift from God to ourselves and what we look like. We can become obsessed with our appearance, our weight, our health and the latest fashions.
The Bible never tells us that wanting to care for our bodies is wrong. In fact, it says: ‘Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.’ And we should respect, care for and honour that temple. God also made us with a love of beauty, but the Bible says: ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight’ (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIVUK). So our character is more important than how we look. While society is often focused on appearance, God’s focused on how we are on the inside. The Bible says: ‘God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7 NCV). Our character is the thing that will last. ‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting’ (Proverbs 31:30 NIV).
So we need to think about our priorities. What’s the focus of our minds? The desire to be physically attractive? Or the desire to become more like Christ?
Write out 1 Samuel 16:7 and stick it on your mirror. Every time you go to the mirror to check how you’re looking, read the verse out loud.
SOURCE: Culled from United Christian Broadcasters.