The Righteous Will Never Be Shaken
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
The author of this Psalm shows that the righteous will not be shaken. Regardless of their circumstances, they will stand in the midst of trials. They can do this because they have laid their foundation with the cornerstone of Christ, who is truth, and cannot be moved. He is immutable, our rock and our salvation. No threat against Him or those who are declared righteous will be able to eternally affect them.
The apostle John said that there was no fear in perfect love, because fear has to do with punishment. The righteous have been redeems from wickedness, and just as a person who is pardoned for their crimes finds themselves in the legal position of having never committed them in the first place, so the righteous can stand for they have been declared pardoned by God for their sin. Because there is no punishment lying ahead of them for their actions, they can fearlessly face the trials in front of them with their full attention on victory.
God pronounces that He will give victory to the righteous in the end. There may be times when we will need to remember that it is in God’s perfect timing that all things occur. God may allow someone to go through terrible difficulty in this life, but IN THE END, when Christ comes again in glory, the last trumpet of God is sounded, and time as a construct ends marking the final chapter our mortal story, God will certainly give us triumph over our foes.
Without the eternal perspective of God, it can appear to some that God is slow in keeping His promises, or that He does not keep them at all. The total character of God must be taken into account lest we forget that a day is as a thousand years for God. Yet still, as God pours out His love, grace, and mercy upon a world that doesn’t deserve it, and in many cases doesn’t even want it, He reserves His judgment and wrath for its appointed time. We must be patient and allow God the time He needs and desires in order to work out all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, as well as secure the outcome of His holy, divine plan. Impatience on our part impedes the display of the glory of God through His image-bearers.
The righteous give generously to the poor, for the Lord God Almighty provides super-abundantly to His children. Even in poverty themselves, God gives each of us time, talent, and treasure. We can be assured that time and talent are just as important in advancing the kingdom of God as is having treasure.
Do you want to make great kingdom impact? Invest yourself and the gifts that God has given you in the lives of others. Mentor children and model love to those who feel as though they are cast off and rejected by society. Invest your talents in helping others too poor to pay someone for your unique expertise. Watch as the cries of the hearts of hurting people turn to praise of God as they experience Jesus through your hands and your words.
We are not to gloat over the punishment of the wicked because we can be assured that God may very well see and disapprove, and turn His wrath away from them. We need to leave room for the wrath of God in the lives of the wicked. God will vex the wicked and frustrate their plans. They will seethe in anger when they see the righteous prosper. Their emotional distress at their frustration will destroy them from within.
While we are not to rejoice over their suffering, we can be assured that God will be faithful in executing His judgment against the wicked for all they have done to us. By allowing God the necessary time to bring this all about, we can allow our hearts to rest in the knowledge that a man reaps what he sows, and to get out of the way when God finally sends his judgment upon them. Although it may not ease our pain in the moment, the reassurance that God is a just and holy God should help us to set aside our compromised emotions in our time of trial to the joy of knowing that God will not abide wickedness forever:
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
God gives us some additional hope. He indicates that the longings of the wicked will come to nothing. They will be frustrated because they are not seeing the fruit of their desire. Although some of their longings will be fulfilled, they will seek endlessly and in vain to find what they so greatly long for. It is good to know that God is not rewarding their wicked behavior and giving them what they desire as a reward for unrighteousness. We can rest assured that God will indeed give us the fruit of what we have sown. Those who sow thorns and thickets will not be rewarded with fruits, nuts and grains. They will truly receive what they have sown.
Because of this, and since we ourselves have come out of this, we should make every effort to have compassion upon the wicked and do everything that we can to help them overcome evil, and embrace God. We have been given a unique perspective life in the Spirit of God, and have been called by God to make disciples of all nations. If we cannot get past our frustration at those who seek our ruination, we will be unable to minister the gospel message to the people who need it. Since you yourself have experienced the joy of freedom from the burden of sin with a redeemed life in Jesus Christ, make every effort to help others to do the same. And don’t worry if you need to shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them, for God may need to do a lot more plowing of the soil of their hearts before they are ready to embrace Him.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I leaving room for the wrath of God in my heart for those who (occasionally or continually) wrong me?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have given me Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the rock of my salvation. My heart cries out “Hallelujah!” and sings Your praises. Father, help me when I am wronged, for You will surely reward the wicked with Your justice if they refuse to embrace Your grace. Give me a heart of compassion towards the lost and wicked, to see them as You do. Help me to be steadfast in all my convictions in the face of pain and trials. Help me to stand upon the firm and solid rock of my foundation, my Lord Jesus Christ. Give me strength to endure, and soften my heart when emotional pain causes me to forget Your love and faithfulness. Provide me with eyes to see and ears to hear, so that I would be attuned to Your heart and Your ways. This I ask in the name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.