"O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes; make Thy way straight before me. There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself; Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against Thee. "
Sorry that it has been awhile since I wrote last. My apologies.
In these verses there is a transition from God's character that we saw in the earlier part of this Psalm, to the character of the wicked/rebellious. I hope that you enjoy reading and remember that I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to read.
"O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes" - I'm not very righteous in and of myself. In fact, at times I feel like I have more in common with the wicked, rather than the righteous. Its in these times that I am most reminded that righteousness doesn't come from me, it comes from God through Christ. I don't naturally drift towards God. Give me a free day and instead of spending time with God, I will watch several hours of HGTV. What I'm saying is, is that my need for God is to the core. There is nothing good in me, that is why I need a Savior. This is further seen by the fact that given opposition, my knees buckle and I can lose focus on where to go. We get distracted easily. Kind of like spiritual A.D.D. . We have to be led to God's righteousness because I can't find it on my own.
"Make thy way straight before me" - How many times do I try to self justify and make my ways straight? I think that if there was an award for self justification, I would win. I will act impulsively and charge off into the jungle of self justification of actions rather than stay on the road of repentance. I then spend the next, however long, hacking through the jungle trying to say that this is still God's way and people should follow. I need Him to make His ways straight before me. One of these days I pray that I learn in my core that His ways are better than mine and remember it.
The Character of the Wicked
"There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself; Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue."
The first part can clearly be seen in any late night infomercial. Big boast of shortcuts to your desires, you go for the product and are severely disappointed. The world boast of great things, yet how much of it is reliable. I'm not saying to be a pessimist. I am saying be a realist. If you want what is good, go to the source, not some cheap imitation. Check out James 1:17. Now compare that to this verse. Pretty clear huh?
Their inward part is destruction itself - what is at their core. Is your inward core life-giving, or destruction? If we have been restored by God through Jesus' death on the cross, then it is life-giving, however if we have not then it is destruction. We are still in a state of wrath that through our actions, intentional or not, we are in the process of dismantling and destroying the beauty and plan of God. You can see this displayed and described in Ephesians 2:1-3.
Their throat is an open grave - What is usually in a grave? Dead things. So if you ponder this for a moment? What comes out of them is death, instead of life. Are our words life giving or do they bring about death. If these are descriptors of the righteous then the righteous should be the inverse of this. If death is out of the mouths of the wicked, then life should be out of the righteous. Which best describes your words? Are you a life giver, or are they more characterized by death and destruction. Alot of times we try to self justify our words by saying that we are kidding with people and that it is all in good fun. But if you stop to consider reality. That the wicked out number the righteous. Then we must stop to consider that your words are better spent filling the need of edification instead of making a joke at someone else's expense.
They flatter with their tongue - The thought that comes into my head is the poison apple from the fairytale stories. It sounds appealing at first and may even look good, but their is always a hidden agenda and a selfish motive. I don't feel as bad about things if I can do it in a crowd.
This verse may sound harsh, but in reality it is justice. We don't often like justice when it pertains to us. Then we want mercy. The Psalmist is asking that people would see and receive the fruits and results of their actions.
The world we live in loves short cuts and trying to dodge consequences. Instead of eating healthy and exercising, we want to take a pill to lose weight, instead of going to bed early and getting the rest that the human body is designed to have, we take things like energy pills and drinks. We love to skirt the system. The psalmist is asking God to wake people up. To see the results of their ways.
The verse ends with the statement of "for they are rebellious against thee". It is such an easy thing to say about someone being rebellious, however what does it really mean? Upon reflecting on the surrounding Psalms, I think rebellion is not taking refuge in God. It is to try to satisfy, self-justify and exist outside of the provision of God. I tend to think of myself in the righteous camp, but I need to see that I can just as easily, when left to my own ways, end up in the rebellious camp.
I pray that we would walk in the reality of what Christ did for us on the cross and through his resurrection and how he has given us life. In turn, I pray that we would be life givers in a fallen world.
Thanks for reading.