Christianity takes a heaping measure of courage. The world seldom realizes it, believing that Christianity is for the humble, gentle, and the timid of heart. But how many of the world would invite the scrutiny and rebuke that these psalms open themselves up to?
Now that’s sincere repentance (Psalm 139:23,24) — For example, after the psalmist goes on and on about God’s ability to know everything about us from womb to tomb, every thought, deed, and word, he then invites the LORD, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23, 24, NAS95. Too many of us would rather attempt to hide our sins and hurtful ways. But the psalmist knows better — we can no more hide our thoughts from God than Adam and Eve could hide from God after eating the forbidden fruit. Any lack of repentance, or any insincere repentance is as obvious to God as the proverbial nose on our faces. But it’s the “try me” part that especially impresses me as courageous and sincere. Would you be willing to invite God to scrutinize you this way to find any hurtful way in you? Would you be willing for God to test or try you and your repentance?
The LORD maintains the cause of the afflicted (Psalm 140:12) — It’s one thing to trust the LORD, when you have a padded bank account. It’s another thing to trust the LORD for protection from those who would oppress you, when you’re not. This psalm is an expression of a prayer of the poor for protection from the wicked, and confidence that God takes the part of the afflicted.
Let the righteous smite me in kindness (Psalm 141:5) — No one likes to be rebuked. No one likes to be wrong and corrected. But the humble disciple, like the writer of this psalm, knows that it is necessary. How often do we consider correction to be a kindness, like oil on the head? Someone has wisely said that we should listen even to our enemies, because they will tell us things that our friends will not. And if this is true, how much more from those who are righteous and kind? It is the way to growth in godliness and holiness. How else will we know when we’ve “run off the rails”? How will you take your next correction — with resentment and contempt or with gratitude? So next time your spouse, your parents, your elders, your preacher or whoever offers you a rebuke, receive it as something valuable rather than a mere insult.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing