Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Psalm 125:3, Part One: Restrained Wrath

“The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous,
lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.”
Psalm 125:3

This is a precious promise of God to all His children. He will not allow the wicked to rule over us to the extent that they determine our circumstances. Their rod (symbol of rule) shall not rest on our lot. In another place, David sang to God, “The wrath of man shall praise you; the remainder of wrath you will restrain” (Ps. 76:10). In other words, only that part of men’s wrath which will bring glory to God will be allowed to touch us; the remaining part of their wrath, God will restrain.
This is the understanding behind Solomon’s puzzling statement, “There shall no evil happen to the just” (Prov. 12:21). Solomon knew that God controls to the smallest degree every circumstance of our lives, and that whatever part of the world’s hatred we must face, it is for His glory and our eventual blessing. Paul was moved by this same knowledge of God to write, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are the called, according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Men wanted to do many cruel and unjust things to Jesus, but only that part of their hatred that was useful to God’s plan for His Son’s life was allowed to touch him. Evil men wanted to kill the lamb of God before the appointed time, but they could not. Had they done so, it would not have brought praise to God. He was his Father’s Lamb, not theirs. Jesus understood this, and it was that knowledge of His Father’s care which gave him the strength not to strike back but to humble himself to his Father’s will, regardless of the suffering he faced. When Jesus told his followers to “turn the other cheek”, he was only saying to them, “Trust God as I do, and do as I have done.” Peter summed up Jesus’ attitude beautifully (1Peter 2:20-23): "For what glory is it if, when you are buffeted for your faults, you take it patiently? But if when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even to this you were called, for Christ also suffered for us, providing us an example, so that you might follow his steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to the One who judges righteously."

Peter went on to exhort us to have that same faith in our heavenly Father’s care, and to continue doing what is good in His sight regardless of our circumstances. He said, “Therefore, let them who suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1Pet. 4:19). We “commit our souls to God” by patiently walking in His ways, as Jesus did, instead of yielding to feelings of vengefulness and hate. And we want the tests. A wise man once said, “A calm sea never made a skillful mariner.” It is also true that easy times never made a wise and godly soul.

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