Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalms 1:1 - 2 (KJV)
Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. Psalms 26:1 - 5 (KJV)
There’s a progression of thought and action in Psalm 1; it slows down from walking to standing and finally sitting.
· You listen to the advice of people who are ungodly (walking with those who have little or no regard for God’s principles and commandments)
· You begin to put that kind of sin in your life as matter of course (stand)
· You begin to teach others (sitting like a rabbi/teacher) to do the same
When David was still a young shepherd boy he became famous by fighting for Israel against Goliath; he became a little too famous for the king’s liking. David became an outcast because King Saul felt David was outstripping his own image and renown.
Hunted as public enemy #1, David (in Psalm 26) asks the expected question – what in the world have I done to deserve this?
It’s a good question really; David was asking God to judge him as to whether he’d been faithful. If you read over Psalm 26:1-5, you’ll see that it uses the downward spiral of Psalm 1 (walking, standing, sitting with the ungodly) to ask God to shed some light on his condition.
We could all benefit from this kind of openness before God.
When is the last time you asked God to judge you – your character, your behavior – who you are at the center?
The well-known Baptist preacher of the 19th century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote:
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
My brother, Thom, has taught at the same school for more than 40 years. It’s a private boarding school, and he and his bride have lived with the students on campus for most of that time. When you stay in one place for that long, your integrity had better match your actions. Thom knows (and practices) this well.
He also reminds himself daily of the importance of maintaining that integrity. On the signature of every email he sends out is the phrase character before career.