An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong. Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. See how the evildoers lie fallen thrown down, not able to rise! (NIV)
This psalm was written by David as an oracle (any utterance made or received as authoritative, extremely wise, or infallible) concerning the sinfulness of the wicked. For us the study of the sinfulness of man begins in Genesis chapter three with the temptation in the Garden. The three individuals involved were Adam, Eve and the serpent. It involved a simple decision to follow a command, “If you eat or touch the fruit of tree which is in the middle of the garden, you will die”. They did break the command and then they did their eyes where open and they saw their nakedness and attempted to cover it with fig leaves. They now became like God knowing good and evil. The outcome of breaking God’s command was death, however, God delayed death and made provisions for Adam and Eve to live. Yes, there was curses, but there was also provisions. As a believer makes his or her daily walk in this world probably the biggest challenge that he or she will face along their path is the same challenge that Eve faced. This challenge can be found in the simple word “but”. Just as Satan challenge Eve trust in God those around us challenge our faith in God today. It is this challenge that those around us question our understanding of God and present the “but” questions to challenge our understanding of God’s way. It seems that the more we walk with God the more we have to defend our relationship to him to those around us. In this Psalm we see the sinfulness of the wicked those who oppose God and has let pride become their necklace. However in this Psalm we also see the Lord’s provisions to those who know Him. One of the main challenges we seem to face from the world is the belief that God takes care of those who take care of themselves. The problem with this belief is that it is a path for man to flatter himself on the way he follows God, which leads him to the point of not seeing his our sinfulness. This leads to a path of reasoning about all issues of life which places man in charge of his our life which leads to a course of sin and this soon leads to the rejection of the Lord and His provisions. The escape from this path is to know the Lord and to walk in his righteousness. For the believer this means being more Christ-like.
How the free will of an individual and the will of God interact is a mystery that mankind battles with daily. However, this weekend as I was studying C. S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity his statements that atheism was “too simple” and “Christianity and water”,water down faith, could not explain the world in which we live. The battle of Good verses Bad was also the wrong approach to take in looking at the world in which we live. After reading his writings his weekend I realized that the true battle is the rebellion of Satan and the evil forces here on earth against God and that we as Christians are really “living in enemy territory”. If this is the case then verses two through four would describe the enemy “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.” If this is the case then how important is it for believers to live in the shadow of God’s wings. To better understand the free will of an individual and how the individual will interacts with God’s will we must turn to the creator of both who is God.
As I was studying the book The Battle is the Lord’s by Tony Evans this oracle speaks loudly not only of the sinful man, but also the sinfulness of Satan. As I study this book I ask myself the question “why did not God just destroy Satan as soon as Satan rebelled against God?”. If he had done that then Satan could not have tempted Eve and she would not have offered the fruit to Adam. But we know that this did not happen. There is a reason why God has chosen the path of dealing with Satan as well as the sin of mankind. The more I understand this battle the more I understand the battles in my own life.
As I read and study the Psalms I realize that living a Christ-like life is easy until I have to put down the Bible and move into the real world and face your daily routines. It is only when we as believers take God’s written Word and make it God’s living Word in our hearts that we can answer the “but” questions from those around us with an affirmative answer just as Christ did to Satan “But it is written”.