The Futility Of The Wicked

35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
Psalm 37:35-36 (NLT)

Welcome to the 22nd installment on my study of Psalm 37. This time, we are looking at the negative implications of being wicked and ruthless. Why does God bother to give us such negative results? I believe there are 2 reasons for him to do so:
1. He does not want us to be envious of their apparent prosperity.
2. He does not want us to stray and follow their paths.

Psalm 37:35 tells us that being wicked and ruthless can look rich and successful. God compares their success to a tree in its native soil. Trees that grow in their native soil will flourish because the native soil has all the nutrients with the right content and proportion they need to grow at optimum state. Wicked and ruthless people can look that way too. They can look like they have achieved the success and prosperity that we have been trusting God for.

Many people of the world including religious people believe that the only way to be prosperous is to be crooked. I grew up with such beliefs. The adults around me gave me the impression that being honest and truthful will only result in poverty. You have to be cunning, wicked and ruthless if you want to attain success. I felt so despised and unloved because for some reasons I was unable to behave the way I was expected to. Now that I know the truth, I feel sorry for them instead. It seems that they were fooled by the devil. They could identify with Psalm 37:35 but they knew nothing about Psalm 37:36.

This could also be one of the reasons why the religious people are willing to sink to the level of spreading slanders and lies on Christians who choose to trust God for their prosperity. In their mind, to be rich is to be worldly and being worldly means being wicked. To them, Christians should focus on glorifying God and the only way to glorify God is to be poor. In their religious mind, wanting to be rich and generous are heresies while wanting to be poor and selfish are the attributes that glorify God. However the Bible said the opposite. The religious people can read Psalm 37:35 but not Psalm 37:36.

Psalm 37:35 only tells us half the truth. The other half is in Psalm 37:36. According to Psalm 37:36, the wicked and ruthless people that looked rich and successful will not last for long. Soon they will disappear. All their success and prosperity will be gone.

I believe God put up these 2 verses to encourage us to trust in him for our success and prosperity. We should not be distracted from the path of God just because there are wicked and ruthless people look outwardly rich and successful. Their riches and success are only an outward façade. They may be rich on the outside but they are poor in their souls. As such their outward façade will not last and soon it will crumble.

In contrast, if we continue to build up our faith we are getting richer in our souls. You may not be rich and successful on the outside but as long as you are rich in your soul, the outward manifestation of riches and success will manifest one day. As Christians, success and prosperity belong to us. All we need to do is to keep believing and not stray away from God’s path.

Put Your Hope In The Lord

34 Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
Psalm 37:34 (NLT)

Welcome to the 21st installment on my study of Psalm 37. The above verse contains 4 sentences, which can be easily broken into 4 parts. I shall look into them in detail.

The first part tells us to put our hope in the Lord. What is hope? It gives us the reason to wake up and face tomorrow. When we have hopes in our hearts, we have the desire and good expectation to face tomorrow. Hope gives us the reason to wake up every morning with joy in our hearts. Do you have hope? One way to test it out is to find out what was in your mind when you woke up this morning. What did you think of when you woke up? Did you think, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I look forward for good things to happen today!” or did you think, “Oh no! Another day of misery.”

As for me, I have it a habit of telling myself in the mind every morning that good things are going to happen to me today. My prosperity is going to manifest this day. Thinking such thoughts gives me the enthusiasm to face a new day with hope. Even if I do not see good things happening to me in certain days, it does not matter. I will think positive thoughts again the next day.

Even if no good things happened to me today, I still have tomorrow. I will still be hopeful for tomorrow. If nothing good happens tomorrow, there will still be another tomorrow. There is no end to the amount of tomorrows. Tomorrow is the day I will receive my billions of dollars. Tomorrow is the day I will have the capacity to provide food to millions of starving people in the world. Tomorrow is the day I will bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every household in the world. Tomorrow is the day I will turn the Sahara Dessert into the wheat basket of the world. Even if the situation does not turn out the way I want it to be, I will still have hope because there is still tomorrow.

God wants us to put our hopes in him. Why? He is the safest place to secure our hopes. There are people who put their hopes in their career achievements, education qualifications, business connections or any of other talents. God is not against us having talents, qualification and achievements but he does not want us to put our hopes on them because they are not secure.

A few days ago, I read that hundreds of lecturers in a local university in Singapore lost their jobs because the university had decided not to renew their tenure. They were disappointed because they assumed that they could have their jobs for life as long as they continue to do things they used to do. For some reasons, their employer had decided not to renew their contract. Based on the mood I read from the interviews, it seemed to me that these lecturers were not confident in getting new jobs despite the good job market in Singapore.

Why is that so? They may have good education like Masters and PhDs but they placed their all hopes in their employer’s faithfulness in renewing their contract as long as they continue to do what they used to do. As a result, they had never bothered to prepare themselves for jobs outside the institution or to build other streams of income. As the world become more globalize, the university has to change or risks being left behind. They have to come up with new standards and drop employees that do not meet them. Ironically, the students that were taught by these ex-lecturers may have better career prospects than these ex-lecturers themselves.

What went wrong? It seems that these lecturers, despite their education achievements had placed their hopes at the wrong place. They thought the world is still the same as when they first start working. They were in for a rude shock.

This episode tells us that nothing in this world is reliable for us to put our hopes in. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that education is not important. What I am saying is, we should not put our hopes in it. Our hopes should be with God because he alone is reliable and not affected by the events of this world. Only when we put our hopes on him, we can have good future because he who is in us is greater than he who is in this world. No matter how the world changes, our God is more than able to guide us to prosper in everything we put our hands to do.

How do we put our hopes in God? The second part of Psalm 37:34 tells us to travel steadily along his path. God has a path for us and it is written in the Bible. This means we are to read the Bible and listen to faith messages to learn more about it. We are to travel steadily. To be steady is to be consistent. Why do we need to be reminded to be consistent? I don’t think anyone will feel surprise that life is not bed of roses every day. Sometimes, obeying God may not look rewarding. Sometimes, you can get more money if you sacrifice your integrity like breaking your promise, changing some numbers or pretend not to see certain things. However, we need to remind ourselves that our long-term prosperity will be adversely affected should we choose to go opposite God’s way.

I am facing similar situation myself. I have shared this in the previous article but I believe this is worth repeating. When I first interviewed for this job, my employer agreed to pay me my expected salary and I promised to stay with him until the end of this project. However, in less than one month, I realize that I can get significantly more money if I resign and apply for new jobs. It is quite tempting for me but I choose to follow God’s way because he is able to give me exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ever hope or dream of. I believe that God will honor my desire to stay in his path and he will prosper me even more than the amount I could have receive if I broke my promise.

The third part of Psalm 37:34 tells us what will happen if we travel steadily in God’s path. He will honor us by giving us the land. Land in those days symbolized continuous flow of prosperity. If you have money, you can use it up. However if you have land, especially a fertile land, you can repeatedly plant crops and reap the harvest. If you don’t want to do farming, you can always rent out the land to other farmers and collect rents. Whichever way you choose, you will have unending flow of prosperity into your life. This is the will of God for all of us, believers. He wants us to have unending flow of prosperity into our lives and the only way it can happen is for us to put out trust in him and travel steadily in his path.

The last part of Psalm 37:34 tells us what will happen to the wicked. You will see the wicked destroyed. God has promised us that the wicked people who have been making lives difficult for us will be destroyed. So, don’t waste time being resentful and in bitterness. God has made his promise and our job is just to believe. God wants us to focus in putting our trust in him and travel steadily in his path.

The Wicked Wants To Kill The Godly

32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
Psalm 37:32-33 (NLT)

Welcome to the 20th installment on my study of Psalm 37. Psalm 37:32 speaks of the hatred of the wicked has for the godly. The moment you have decided to obey God and believed in his words, you will be marked as a target by the wicked. Try to do searches on famous preachers like Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Ceflo Dollar, Joel Osteen and other preachers that preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will find many websites spreading lies and slanders on these preachers of the Gospel.

Who are these slanderers and liars? They are the religious people who call themselves Christians but they choose to believe in their religious doctrines instead of the Bible. God calls them the wicked and their obsession is to ambush and to look for excuses to kill the godly.

The next question, why are they so full of bitterness and hatred on us? Why can’t they just continue with their own religion and let us believe God in peace? The reason lies in the power behind them. Satan is the one influencing and directing the wicked people to attack us. Satan has no problem if we are under the bondage of religion but the moment we are in faith, he is terrified because through faith, we are able to take back everything he has stolen from us. Through faith, we are able to invade his territories and throw him out.

Satan is so afraid of the Gospel that he has mobilized his army of religious to spread lies and accusations like “Prosperity Gospel” and “Health And Wealth Gospel” in order to discredit the Gospel Of Jesus Christ. This tells me that when the wicked spread lies to persecute a preacher, this preacher must be a great threat to Satan. So if you are a preacher and the wicked do not accuse you as a “Prosperity Preacher”, Satan does not see you as a threat. You will need to spend more time with God and seek his direction. You can’t possibly be preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and not be a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness. When the wicked start to call you a “Prosperity Preacher”, you can be sure that Satan is beginning to see you as a threat. You have made it.

Psalm 37:33 tells us that just because the wicked have the desire to harm us, it does not mean that they will succeed. God will not allow them to succeed. We need to understand and believe that our God is far greater than Stan plus all his devils plus all the religious people. We do not have to fear because God had guaranteed our victory.

16 “I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.
17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Isaiah 54:16-17 (NLT)

Do you notice the similarities between Psalm 37:32-33 and Isaiah 54:16-17. Both tell us that we have enemies wanting to destroy us but our God promised us that they would never succeed. No matter what accusations they throw at us, we will never be condemned because our vindication comes from God himself.

So, rejoice and be glad. We are called to battle and destined to win. Victory is ours as long as we do not give up. One day, I will also be accused to be a “Prosperity Preacher” because that will be a clear sign that Satan has began to see me as a threat.

Make God’s Law Your Own

31 They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.
Psalm 37:31 (NLT)

Welcome to the 19th installment on my study of Psalm 37. The term “they” refers to godly people based on the context set by the previous verse. This means godly people have made God’s law their own.

Religious people had used this verse to oppress their people. The greatest talent of the religious people is to pass off their own religious doctrines as God’s law and used them to steal, kill and destroy. I can still remember when I was in my previous religious church. The pastors there were very talented in perverting every Bible verse into God’s instruction for the members of the church to give money to the church building fund. At that time, in every Sunday Service, “God” was always there to ask us for money. It was the time I lost respect for God because I believed he was corrupt. I believed God was corrupt because the pastors were corrupt.

Thank God for he has revealed the truth to me and leads me to another church that preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, when God says they godly have made his law our own, he does not mean the law that is to be imposed from outside us. It means we are to arrive at the state where his law is indistinguishable from ours. What is the difference?

Think of your own national law. It is imposed from outside. For example, we have to pay our taxes whether we like it or not. Religious doctrines work the same way. Religious people will tell us that God wants us to give him money and we are to obey whether we like it or not.

However, this is not God’s way. God wants us to obey him willingly. He wants us to make his law ours. This means we obey God willingly, as though it is our own wish to do what he wants us to do. This is the true obedience that God wants. When we have made God’s law our own, God promised us that we will never slip from his path. What is so great about his path? The path of God always leads to prosperity. The greatest wish of God is for us, his people to prosper and be in health as our souls prosper.

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.
Isaiah 43:16 (NLT)

The path of God can cross through every trouble and difficulty we face. The Israelites used it to cross the Red Sea and turn a seemingly impossible situation into a great victory. Today, this path is available to every believer of Jesus Christ. Will you choose to get on it? Will you choose to make God’s law your own?

How shall we do that? We need to read the Bible and listen to faith messages to find out how much our God loves us. Go to churches that preach faith and not religion. The more you are aware and believe how much God loves you, the more his law become your law. His desires will become your desires. At that time, there is no limit on how much prosperity, success and victory that you can have. There is no limit on how much you can achieve as long as you are on his path.

The Godly Offers Good Counsel

30 The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.
Psalm 37:30 (NLT)

Welcome to the 18th installment on my study of Psalm 37. The first part of Psalm 37:30 says the godly offer good counsel. Good counsel means good advice. A good advice is an advice that works. A good advice delivers good and positive results. A good advice helps us to overcome and defeat all our problems.

There are 2 meanings to this part. The first meaning is, as Christians, we are to offer good counsel to others when they seek our help. We are to give words of faith, hope and love when we are approached for advice. We are to encourage people not to give up, think positive and fight on for their victory.

If you happen to find yourself working in an environment full of negative people, it is the will of God for you to be the light there. God wants you to be the light in the midst of darkness. Should you continue to believe in the integrity of God despite the negative situation around you, you will be full of hope, joy and peace while the people around you are full of disappointments, sorrows and distress. They will see the difference in you and they will start to ask you the secret source of your hope, joy and peace. This is the time for you to tell them the story of the God who loves the world that he sent his only begotten Son. You don’t have to go around begging people to go to church.

The second meaning to the phase “The godly offer good counsel” is we are to look for godly people when we need advice. When you are feeling down and disappointed, don’t go to look for negative people and ask for their opinions. Why? They will make you more negative and drag you down further. If you receive a negative medical report saying you have cancer, don’t ask religious people what they think. If you do, they will tell you that maybe God wants to give you cancer to kill you so that he can see you in heaven. Should you believe in their lies, you will die very soon. If you face a financial problem don’t ask a religious man for advice. What do you expect him to say? He will tell you that it is the will of God for you to be poor because God is glorified when Christians are poor. Can you expect to overcome your problems with this type of advice?

Who should we seek for advice then? According to the verse, we are to look for godly people for advice. Godly people are people of faith. They believe what God says is true despite the situation says the opposite. When you are depressed and disappointed, they will encourage you and give you hope. When you receive a negative medical report, they will remind you that Jesus had taken all your sickness at the Cross and exhort you to fight on. When you are facing a financial problem, they will remind you that Jesus died poor to make you rich.

Their advice will revitalize your faith, empower you to believe and give you hope. You will believe that God has given you everything you need to overcome and defeat all your problems. His grace is sufficient for you. It is sufficient to turn every lack into abundance, every sickness into health and every sorrow into joy. This is why the second part of Psalm 37:30 says they (the godly people) teach right from wrong.

Therefore, we have to be selective on whom to seek for advice.

The Godly Will Possess The Land

29 The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
Psalm 37:29 (NLT)

Welcome to the 17th installment on my study of Psalm 37. In this verse, God promised us that we will possess the land and we will live there forever. Land in those times was the source of prosperity. I believe God is not that wicked to promise us land and give us some useless plots of real estate that has no commercial value. God is honorable. When he make a promise, he will fulfil it to the best of his ability. Since he is God, there is no limit on what his best can achieve.

God promised us eternal prosperity. We will possess the land and live there forever. When we possess something, we have complete control over it. We have the right to do whatever we please to the prosperity God has given to us. However, if you are smart, you will follow God’s ways in managing your prosperity. If you don’t, your prosperity may not last. You may have received a lot of money but become poor again a few months later. Why? You have just mismanaged your prosperity.

It has never been the will of God to give us prosperity just for a period of time. The trials and tribulations we face are for a season but the prosperity from God is always for eternity. The blessing of God is always permanent.

29 And now, may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you have spoken, and when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign Lord, it is an eternal blessing!”
2 Samuel 7:29 (NLT)

However, we can turn the permanent prosperity into temporary prosperity through our foolishness. This is why we need to keep learning. We need to study the Bible, listen to faith messages and meditate on his Word.

“Why can’t I just pray and ask God to make my prosperity permanent regardless of what I do?”

If God is to enforce that, he will have to take away the control of your prosperity from you. In this situation, that prosperity does not effectively belong to you. It is not your prosperity.

Furthermore, it is not the nature of God to force his will on us. He loves us, guides us to his path of prosperity and hopes that we will follow him willingly. Should we choose to disobey him, he will still loves us but he will feel disappointed because it is not his will to see us living in poverty and sickness.

In conclusion, it has always been the will of God for us to live in eternal prosperity. However, we need to be godly to enjoy the best of it. Being godly requires us to read the Bible, finding out his ways and follow them. When we do that, there is no limit on the amount of prosperity we can have.

The Lord Loves Justice

28 For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die.
Psalm 37:28 (NLT)

Welcome to the 16th installment on my study of Psalm 37. The Lord loves justice. What is justice? Let us look to the dictionary for the meaning.

Justice (source http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/justice)
–noun
1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.
6. the maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings: a court of justice.
7. judgment of persons or causes by judicial process: to administer justice in a community.

Therefore, when Psalm 37:28 says the Lord loves justice, it means the Lord loves to obey his own laws. He does not behave like a tyrant. He does not rule this universe with whims and fancies. He loves justice. What does this mean to us? It gives us the assurance that we can rely on this God. He will deliver what he promised.

Ironically, this is one of the issues the religious people had used to persecute us. They accused us for degrading God because we believe God has to obey his own laws. This proves that those under the bondage of religion can resort to any foolishness.

The first sentence of Psalm 37:28 says the Lord loves justice and he will never abandon the godly. This means it is against God’s law for him to abandon us. In my previous article, I have shown that not abandoning us is not just empty talk. It must involve helping us to overcome all our troubles. God had set a law for him to help and deliver us from every problem we face. If God really abandons us then he broke his own laws. He will no longer be qualified for his position. This tells me that God is fully committed to deliver us from every trouble.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:19 (NLT)

He will keep us safe forever. I don’t care how powerful those terrorists are. My God has promised to keep me safe forever. The only way those terrorists can ever harm me or my family is for them to defeat God first. This gives me the assurance to live my life in confidence because my God is with me.

7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
Psalm 91:7 (NKJV)

So when you read or watch news of people dying from terrorism, disease or natural disaster, don’t allow yourself to live in fear. God has promised to keep you safe. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come near you. God promised that and all you need to do is to believe.

The last part of Psalm 37:28 says the children of the wicked will die. If you are involved in some sort of wickedness right now, God wants you to repent because the wickedness could have negative effect on your children. He wants you to trust in him. He wants to bless you and your family.

If you happen to be the son or daughter of wicked people, fear not. As long as you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour, he who is in you is greater than he who is in this world. The blessing of God in your life is greater than the curse of wickedness from your parents. You are blessed.