Devotional - Psalm 16 - Part Two - More Encouragement From God

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.You guard all that is mine. - Psalm 16: 5 (NLT)

    Today we continue with expositing the Golden Psalm, number 16. We all face difficult times in our lives. Whether driven by something catastrophic and sudden or the daily grind of walking in an unforgiving world. One of the greatest misunderstandings new Christians often share is the notion that salvation exempts them from suffering. Unfortunately modern seeker friendly churches tend to stay away from discussing suffering. The reality however is that the more we serve Christ the more we can expect things to mount against us and the more we can expect the enemy to attack. What salvation grants us is the ability to rest in Christ, to have assurance that God is working all things out for our good, and godly contentment and joy found in Christ - not in the world.

    Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. - Philippians 4: 11-13 (NLT)

    Philippians 4:13 is one of the least understood passages in the Bible. People use it and preach it to mean that we can accomplish anything through Christ. That of course eliminates God's will and sovereignty. What Paul is actually teaching here is the secret to contentment in the world regardless of the circumstances. That we can endure all things through Christ because our strength is found in Him. What a source of godly encouragement!

    As is Psalm 16. Picking up in verse five we see three glorious promises we need to focus on when times get tough in our lives. The first such promise is that God alone is our inheritance. This word is so abused in the false gospels pervading the church today. Hucksters in thousand dollar suits step up to pulpits across this land every Sunday to sell a fake god. A god who is there to serve the people. A god who is there to throw open the windows of heaven and rain down blessings upon blessings upon them. A god who has promised them the inheritance of Abraham! They even have their own brand of pseudo worship that is man centered instead of God centered. One such song is actually called, "The Blessing of Abraham" where petulant would be Christians scream out in glee - "Get your inheritance!" But is this what the Psalmist is referring to here? No beloved it is not. The dictionary defines inheritance as follows:

    the genetic characters transmitted from parent to offspring, taken collectively.

    Now obviously it is true that one definition is the traditional worldly view of the passing on of wealth upon the death of someone. God Himself of course cannot die. Jesus was 100% man and God at the same time but when he breathed His last on the cross it was not God who died. The man Jesus who died that day on Calvary was not a rich man in worldly terms at all.

    Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” - Matthew 8: 19-20 (NLT)

    Here is a verse that flies in the face of the so called prosperity gospel! Here we have one of the "respected" members of the religious circles of Jesus' day expressing a desire to follow Jesus and what is our Savior's response? Don't expect the comforts of the world you now enjoy! Don't expect the comfortable clothes and fancy homes! Don't even expect to have a place to lay your head! So then let us turn back to the alternate definition of the word inheritance and see that we inherit the traits of our Father! Now some may treat this contemptuously in light of discovering that they do not get a thousand cattle on a hill but let's remember what we inherit:

    But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. - Galatians 5: 22-26 (NLT)

    Money and wealth are things that drive us to conceit and jealousy. How often have we seen the reading of a will be the source of divisive bickering that drives loving families apart? We are living by the Spirit of God who now dwells inside every born again believer. We belong to Christ and need to be found in Him. The inheritance we have already received is the very fruit of the Spirit we need to cultivate in our lives. If you spoke to most famous millionaires they would probably point to one or more of these fruits as being what they felt was missing in their lives. How often do we see the rich and famous overdosing on legal and illegal drugs or enter into abusive relationships, or take their own lives? How many of us as Christians wish we had real love in our lives? Or sustained joy? Or God's transcendent peace? Or better self control? The NIV version uses the word "portion" instead of inheritance and maybe that will make things clearer. God alone needs to be our portion. Meaning He is all we need in this world. Which leads us to the next point from this verse - that God is our cup of blessing.

    The reason why even as Christians we are often lacking the inheritance of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives is that we seek to fill our cup with the wrong things. If we think inheritance is an abused word today - how about the word blessing! Millions of people attend churches every week that equate blessings to material wealth of this world. That is what they actively pursue then to fill their cup. But when you play with the world, even under the guise of religion, there is no room for the true blessings of God.

    Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. - Luke 11: 39-41 (NLT)

    We clean out the inside of our cup by giving, not by taking. By generosity, not greed. The outside of our cup may be pristine. If we go to any of these mega-prosperity churches we will see a sparkling show. Impeccable buildings, waterfalls in the lobby, finely manicured greenery. But when you start to tear away the padded pews and the designer carpets you will find all sorts of filth, greed and wickedness. What are we seeking to fill our cup today? Psalm 16 reminds us that God is our cup of blessing. Not blessing as the world and false preachers see it; but as God sees it. God wants to bless us with His love but we are so often filled with the hate of this world. Or even the hate of the church that seeks to point a religious finger at everyone except themselves. God wants to bless us with his peace but we seek after the very chaos the world produces. God wants to bless us with His endless joy but if we fail to achieve the material blessings promised to us by the hucksters then we will end up in the same misery as the world hoping they hit Powerball this week. No beloved, we have to pursue the things of God first. We need to fill our cup with God first trusting that the blessings He desires to give us are worth more than the riches of this world.

    Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. - Matthew 6: 33 (NLT)

    Everything we need. Not everything we might want. Note here that it is not just about seeking the Kingdom above all else but that we also must strive to live righteously. That means morally. That means that we respect and try to adhere to the laws God has laid out for us. Do not fall for the hyper grace lies that seek to diminish the very laws God says we must follow. They are not there for our punishment but for our protection.

    The third promise in this one verse is that God will guard all that is ours! The promises of the world are fleeting and empty. The riches of the world all pass with time. The greatest leaders and most dominant kings are mere footnotes in history to provide glory to God. I have written before about Alexander the Great who conquered the entire known world by the age of 30 but was dead in the ground by age 33. Today you might get a statue if you were really famous. Maybe get a school named after you. It is nothing of eternal value however. Only what we do for the Kingdom of Heaven has eternal value. So the question here for us is; what are we valuing?

    "Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. - Matthew 6: 19-21 (NLT)

    Please realize that I am not advocating for vows of poverty for all Christians. I have often had the question asked of me whether or not I believe that God wants us materially prosperous on this earth as well as spiritually prosperous. People will often point to the wealth of Abraham or some other Biblical character. My answer is simple. If you find yourself asking that question then the answer is no. For every Biblical character you might find with some material wealth I can find one that was not. The point is where your heart is. The point is in what you value. If the desires of your heart are focused on the material wealth of this world then I believe that God would rather see you poor and focused on Him. If you spend you life pursuing God, seeking His Kingdom, and living righteously, then it would not surprise me at all to find you also materially blessed. Israel would often find themselves wrongly focused . Upon their return from exile they concentrated on their own homes and comfort instead of rebuilding the temple. God sent the Prophet Haggai with some choice words we should pay close attention to today:

    Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! - Haggai 1: 3-6 (NLT)

    What a perfect description of a life pursuing the things of this world. If we were honest we would admit that we are never satisfied with what we have when we pursue the things of this world. We eat but remain hungry. We drink and remain thirsty. Our money never seem enough; like there are holes in our pockets. Many preachers seeking money will use these verses to solicit offerings to "build God's house" but I think it goes far deeper than that. We are constantly deciding which house we are building in our own lives. Will it be a house that seeks after God, knowing He guards all we have? Will it be a house found in the world, where the tighter we try and hold onto what we have the faster it slips through our fingers.

    “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” - Matthew 7: 24-27 (NLT)

    Beloved, what are we building our house upon? Which house is it that we are building? If our worldly life is pursued so vigorously that our godly house lies in ruins are we not a foolish builder? Whatever we have in God, is guarded by God. We do not have to worry about storm insurance! God is our storm insurance! The tempests of the world can beat upon our spiritual house all day long and we do not have to worry because God guards all that we have. As long as we are seeking to fill our cup with Him. As long as we are cultivating our inheritance from Him. We do not serve God because of what He will do for us. We serve God because of what He has already done. He is our portion; all we need. He is our cup of blessing, filled with His legacy. He does guard all that we have when we build our lives in His Kingdom and not in this world.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - January 10, 2014

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