Topic: God’s Perfection And Man’s Wickedness
MEMORY VERSE: “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:28).
TEXTS: Psalms 33 to 37
A conscious gaze at imprint. His works on earth attest to His excellence and perfection. The Scripture reveals that God is righteous, holy, just, merciful and upright in all ramifications (Deut 32:4; 2 Sam 22:31; Psalms 50:1,2; 116:5; Ezra 9:15; Matt 5:48). These attributes contrast sharply with man’s unrighteousness, wickedness and imperfection. Though he was created in the image of God, his fall through disobedience to God’s command corrupted his nature and made him utterly vile (Gen 3:1; 6:5; Rom 3:10-18). Thus, our nature of sin draws a sharp contrast between God and us.
Our texts highlight the glowing attributes of God’s perfection in the administration of the world and its inhabitants. Our attention is drawn to His mercy and goodness, justice and judgment, power and sovereignty, and protection and favour towards all men. Thus, the wicked are warned of God’s wrath that would come on those who fail to turn away from evil and embrace His righteousness.
Question 1: What brought the contrast between perfect God and wicked man?
1. REVELATION OF GOD’S PERFECTION AND WONDERS
Psalms 33:1-22; 34:1-22; 36:5-10; Ezra 9:15; Psalms 48:10; 145:17; Jer 23:6; Rev 19:11; Deut 32:4; Prov 21:3; Psalm 103:17
A profound reflection of the nature and attributes of God inspires praise and worship. The psalmist calls and enjoins the upright to praise Him. “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1). God’s attributes demand that only the righteous and upright could praise Him acceptably. Sinners are called to repentance and salvation, as their praises lack every acceptable ingredient. “But unto the wicked God saith, What has thou to do to declare my statues, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” (Psalm 50:16).
The praise and worship of God should be with both voices and instruments, whether in private or public sessions. Godly worship produces peace, assurance and confidence to wait quietly for God to work out His plans and programmes in our lives. “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee” (Psalm 33:20-22). Hope strengthens the trusting heart to expect the accomplishment of His purpose in their lives.
The psalmist goes on to enumerate God’s attributes that should elicit songs of praise and thanksgiving from His people. They include His attributes of holiness, power, wisdom, righteousness, benevolence and faithfulness. Without our concentration on His holy character, worship is misdirected and will not glorify Him (Psalms 89:14; 97:2; Isaiah 9:7; 32:1). God’s people are to constantly remember.
One, that His mercy endures forever.
Two, His faithfulness is to all generations.
Three, His ever-abiding righteousness rules in all His ways.
Four, His goodness and compassion fail not.
Five, His forbearance and longsuffering are towards all humanity.
Question 2: What should motivate and inspire us to praise and worship God in truth?
The acts of God cover every area of a believer’s life. He hears our prayers and delivers us from all troubles; He protects and preserves us from evil and danger; He supplies our needs, pardons our sins and perfects those who trust Him (Psalm 34:4-10). As beneficiaries of His benevolence, we should bless, fear and trust in the Lord with all our hearts. However, we must “Keep [our] tongue from evil, and [our] lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13). Those who harbour evil and at the same time proclaim God’s power and goodness should remember that “The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Psalm 34:16).
2. RESCUING GOD’S PEOPLE FROM THE PERSECUTION OF THE WICKED
Psalms 35:1-28; 34:19; 103:6; Rev 2:10; 2 Tim 3:11,12; 4:18
The psalmist resorted to praying that the Lord would deliver him from his persecutors. “Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation” (Psalm 35:3). Persecution is an integral part of the Christian faith, especially for those who believe and practice biblical righteousness. David was persecuted in several ways, including false accusation and misrepresentation or mistreatment after works of kindness (1 Sam 17:29; Psalm 140:1-4). He was brought into the palace to help Saul overcome his spiritual challenge, but he ended up being labelled an adversary. Saul spent a greater part of his time on the throne chasing and scheming to eliminate him.
Persecution takes various forms like, denial of rights, expulsion or excommunication from a group, confiscation of property, beating and imprisonment, stoning and other forms of injustice (Matt 10:17; John 9:22; Acts 7:57-59; 2 Cor 11:23-25). Whichever way it comes, a believer should remember the Scripture: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (2 Tim 3:12; Phil 1:29). Knowledge of these Scriptures helps us to accept and endure persecution with grace.
Our attitude to persecution is very important if we are to be triumphant. Instead of wearing a frown, we should rejoice and be exceeding glad, do good to our persecutors and pray for them to be saved. In our text, David prayed that the Lord would protect, reward and vindicate him against the falsehood of his persecutors. The Lord Jesus commands His followers who may be suffering persecution to pray for them (Matt 5:44); by so doing, they would authenticate their sonship in the Lord and prove to the world that the grace of God makes a huge difference in the life of a Christian. As David turned to the Lord when he was pursued by Saul and his soldiers, we should look to heaven for preservation, protection and deliverance during our moments of persecution.
Question 3: Why do Christians suffer persecution and what should be their attitude during the ordeal?
The Lord has promised to take care of the righteous while He reserves tribulation and anguish for the ungodly on the day of judgment.
3. RETRIBUTION FOR THE WICKED AND REWARD FOR THE GODLY
Psalms 36:1-4; 37:1-40; 5:9; Rom 3:23; 5:12-17; 1:28-32; Eph 2:1,3; 4:14; Isaiah 48:8; 59:5-8
An unregenerate person is characterized by unrighteousness, wickedness, immorality, covetousness, envy, murder, etc. (Mark 7:21-23; Isaiah 48:8; 59:5-8, Romans 1:28-32). “The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil” (Psalm 36:3,4).
However, God’s attributes of righteousness and justice will not allow the wicked to go unpunished. “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be” (Psalm 37:2,10). To the wicked, God promised to recompense evil upon their head. However, the Lord calls them to repentance from their wicked ways to escape His vengeance and retribution.
Redemption and restoration to Christ remain the only possible solution to man’s problem of sin. He alone shed His blood on Calvary’s cross for the redemption of sinful humanity. To enjoy this provision, God demands repentance from all sinners and faith in His substitutionary sacrifice (Isaiah 53:5,6; Matt 20:28; 26:28; John 3:14,15; 1 Cor 5:7; John 1:12; 3:18,36).
Question 4: Mention some grave consequences of continuing in sin and wickedness.
Believers must hate sin and love righteousness. The righteous is exhorted.
One, not to envy the workers of iniquity.
Two, to trust in the Lord and do good.
Three, to delight in the Lord; four, commit his way unto Him.
Five, rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Six, fret not because of those who prosper through dubious means.
Seven, cease from anger and forsake wrath. As believers distance themselves from the wicked and their lifestyle, they are promised divine supply, answers to prayer, earthly heritage, abundance, divine guidance, support, preservation, security, protection, prosperity, help and deliverance.
God, being just, will reward the godly with eternal joy and everlasting peace while the wicked will be eternally banished from His presence and consigned to eternal hell. The only way of escape is through genuine repentance from sin, total abandonment of the old way and complete turning to the Lord Jesus Christ who has the power to transform the vilest of sinners.
Question 5: What are the benefits of a life of godliness?
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