January 21, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I am always fascinated by the less apparent meanings hidden in scripture. Oh, it is not like they are so hidden that you have to dig and uncover them layer after layer, but they just are not that apparent when you first read them. Such is Psalm 84:10 through 12 – a scripture I committed to memory a long time ago:
…a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a door-
keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For
the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no
good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of
hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You.
One time I was thinking about this passage – meditating upon it – and I realized the stark comparison between living in righteousness and living in wickedness. But first, let’s consider what these two descriptive phrases mean. We’ll take them in reverse order:
• Living in Wickedness – What is the etymology of the word ‘wicked’? It is thought to come from wicca, which according to The Online Etymology Dictionary is “An Old English masculine noun meaning ‘male witch, wizard, soothsayer, sorcerer, astrologer, magician….’ ” Originally, such a man was not looked upon as necessarily evil by society. He – or his female counterpart, wicce – had knowledge in the use of drugs and herbs, societal lore, astronomy and astrology, wisdom of the ages, and used incantations and spells to bring about desired results – often good results. Perhaps one of the most accurate pictures of what a wicca originally was is Gandalf, the wizard in J. R. R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit, and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. By the way, Tolkien wrote these books as an extended metaphor of Christianity lived out.
But wizzardry and witchcraft are forbidden by God in Deuteronomy 18:10 through 12. This scripture may be summarized by Exodus 22:18 (KJV): “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Someone who practices incantations and spells to bring about desired results, as stated above, as well as associated wiccan practices, is not trusting God first to lead and control his or her life! And putting anything else in that first place where God belongs is idolatry! Idolatry is the most egregious form of wickedness!
So you might say, if you are not putting God first in your life in all things, you are Living in Wickedness!
• Living in Righteousness – This means living in the right way before God! And this includes confessing and forsaking wickedness of not putting the Lord first in your life in all things, and receiving the perfect righteousness of God Himself into your life by means of accepting His Son, Jesus into your heart and life – trusting only in Him to cleanse you of sin and give you eternal life. You are then declared righteous before God! This is the start, and it is called “Positional righteousness.”
But we are to go on and mature in the Lord, growing also in “Practical righteousness.” This is where we learn day by day to become more and more obedient to God and so become more and more like Jesus Christ. Paul has this in mind when he writes in II Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the
Spirit of the Lord.
“…glory to glory…” the change takes place. We are to become like Jesus Christ a bit more each day as we submit to God’s leading by the Holy Spirit within us.
Someday, as it says in I John 3:2, “…we know that, when He [Jesus] is revealed [at His Second Coming], we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” We’ll be as perfect as the Son of God Himself! This is called “Perfected righteousness.”
Back to Psalm 84: The psalmist is contrasting the two types of living here – the person who is living without God and His leading in his or her life, and the person who is! Now which one are you?
On Friday we will look at just how the psalmist compares and contrasts these two lifestyles.