DayBreaks for 11/02/12 – Is It Better?
It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. 17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly. – Psalm 37:16-17 (NLT)
So many things that Scripture says seem crazy. Consider all the beatitudes proclaimed by none other than Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount. I would imagine that the bulk of those who heard him that day simultaneously thought he was a great orator, but perhaps a bit touched in the head. Who ever felt blessed for all the kinds of suffering and mourning he describes?
It is when things are tough that Christianity seems to make the least sense. Those are the times, as they say, that “try men’s souls.” They leave us gasping for air, doubting His goodness, feeling alone and despairing. I know. I’ve felt those things, too.
So what are we to make of statements like that from Psalm 37? Do we really believe it is better to be godly and have little? (And bear in mind that we can’t fool God – virtually every American Christian is rich compared to the billions of others in the world, i.e., can any of us American Christians really say we have “little”?)
In what ways is it better? The passage suggests that godliness and having “little” tend to go hand in hand, as does the opposite – being evil and being rich are likewise coupled. We know how money makes us act – we never have enough of it. It becomes an insatiable, burning desire/need in our soul. It creates insecurities in us fearing we don’t have enough, or that we could lose it and be destitute. We like to forget that we are called to follow Jesus and he was a homeless man.
Verse 17 says that the strength of the wicked will be shattered. Humm. Guess we have to take that one on faith, don’t we? We cannot see the end of the scenario other than reading a Book that claims to describe how it will turn out. We must accept that by faith, it will happen as described, or we chose not to believe it and to chase after all the money, pleasure, power and debauchery we can lay hands on.
God puts before us stark choices. He makes incredible statements like that in Psalm 37 and forces us into a corner where we must choose, we must decide, we can’t take a neutral position.
Ultimately, we are all left to debate the question: is it really better to be godly with little or rich with much? We are well advised to weigh the decision thoughtfully, carefully, and not to decide impetuously. Many times in human history things are not as they have appeared to be on the surface. God certainly seems to delight in hiding truth from our everyday perception.
I pray we all choose wisely.
PRAYER: Lord, we are so tempted to believe our eyes rather than Your Word. Help us to ponder carefully what You say, and to believe even when it seems counter-intuitive to do so. You are a mysterious God. Give us the faith to follow and hold fast to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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