The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
Many evil people, not necessarily atheists or agnostics, justify their evil deeds because they supposedly have been done to ensure the welfare of their loved ones. Of course, this is just a demonstration of the pride that reigns in their hearts that makes them think that their loved ones should have more privileges than the rest of humanity. Protected by this false justification they oppress their neighbors and they find ways to place their relatives in strategic positions that guarantee them a high standard of living even if they do not have the skills necessary to fulfill the assigned duties, thus leading them to live in corruption . In order not to feel alone in their spiritual mediocrity they advise others to think the same way they do and say things like, “If it is to feed your children, stealing is not bad.” These people say these things because their crass ignorance keeps them from realizing that all we are, or have received comes from the generous hand of God. Those who justify a bad action will stop at nothing to justify any other wrongdoing. If stealing is not wrong then lying, greed, hate, getting carried away by low passions and killing is not bad.
Let us be clear, nothing, absolutely nothing can justify a sin. The Lord does not need to use lies to carry out his plans and he will not either because this would go against his holiness, honor, glory and existence. As children of God we are constantly going through certain situations whose purpose is largely to learn to trust fully in God. Trying to get out of those situations by means of sin is like copying or cheating on an exam. Can anyone be proud to have gotten high marks in an academic test as a result of a dishonest action? Only evil heart may think so. Let us learn how to depend on God in every situation. If we do we will be serving and pleasing God and he will honor us. Otherwise we will only be giving a bad example and many will take advantage of our failures to discredit God, as if this were possible. God is not too far to save. Only to God be the glory!
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
For any thing that causes anguish God has an answer and a solution. It is very common at certain times in our lives to find ourselves going through desert wastelands having lost our orientation. The time it will take us to get out of that desert will depend on the stubbornness with which we cling to old ways of doing things, which we know do not work but continue to carry out by not daring to do something different and more aligned with what God commands in His word. The enemy is in charge of bombarding our minds with thoughts of low self-esteem to make us believe, by the endless repetition of his lies, that we can not change or learn to behave in a way that pleases God. Several times I have found in the leadership literature that a definition of insanity is to continue doing the things that end up in failure, expecting to obtain a different result. I think that this definition also applies to folly and it is not surprising since both words, madness and folly, are often used interchangeably.
Are you moving in circles without achieving any progress? Have you ever wondered if the reason for this lies in the manner or direction you’re moving? Are you planning to do things or trying to resolve issues as they come? Have you consulted with God why you are stuck in the road? Are you doing things properly? Often the causes of our slow progress toward spiritual maturity are inappropriate behaviors that we refuse to give up either because we like doing things that way or because we have not bothered to find out what God wants us to do. In a situation like the one shown in the verse of today’s reflection, the Holy Spirit of God inspired the psalmist to let us know the solution to such a serious matter: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.” What is taking you so long to bring your case before the loving presence of your heavenly Father? That is the only place where you will find both guidance and solution to get you out of stagnation. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, city, desert, ebb away, God, hungry, life, settle, spirituality, thirsty, wander, wasteland
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
Humans classify people around them, known and related, in two broad categories: enemies and allies. All is seen in terms of war and we look at everybody else as people who support us or as people who oppose us. Those who think like us and therefore are friends and those who assume positions different from ours automatically become our greatest adversaries. We see everything from the utilitarian point of view. If a person is useful for our purposes we consider him as an ally and if the person does not contribute towards achieving our goals we consider him as a personal enemy. The way we treat our neighbor depends on which category he belongs, all in accordance with this simplistic classification to which we subject him.
This is not the way that God has taught us to behave through his word. He has shown us something profoundly more radical that flows counter-current to the practices of the world. According to what God teaches us, our love can not be oriented according to our understanding of the world or to the rationale we use to classify people as enemies or friends. Treatment should be equal for both because God commands it. As with all of God’s commandments, obedience brings blessings and rewards but they do not come until we have fulfilled our part of the agreement which is to obey God. Let’s not see our neighbor through the glass of the categories and let us share with them the love God has poured into our hearts, regardless of the position they hold in relation to ours. Enough of hatred, envy and war. Let us obey the Master. To God alone be the glory!
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
For the Jewish people, events and ceremonies in which they offered a scapegoat at the altar of the temple of Jerusalem had become a mere ritual that simply took care of a requirement of the law and had lost the meaning for which these acts had been instituted . They thought they were doing God a favor by presenting these sacrifices of blood, as if God were thirsting for it. This perception had infiltrated their midst because of the careless exposure of the Jewish people to idolatrous cults that were part of the everyday life of villages in Israel. The author of Hebrews makes it clear, “the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.”
Now, under the new covenant of grace, shedding the blood of animals is no longer necessary because everything has been replaced by the final and perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Now the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit was offered himself unblemished to God, “cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!” Let us not allow that the acts and reflections that celebrate the memory of that perfect sacrifice become a ritual and a repetitive action for our lives. God does not need us but we do need him a lot. Let our service offering be a pleasant smell that rises unimpeded to the very presence of God. Let us not do it as if God needed it, because he does not need it, but rather let our service be a sign of the deep gratitude we feel for the salvation that we have undeservedly received according to His perfect will and love. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged blood, bulls, Christianity, drink, eat, flesh, goats, God, hungry, Jesus, Psalms, righteousness, spirituality