[F]or the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. – Psalm 1:6
Friday, January 3, 2014
Though this is a brief psalm of only six verses, it effectively contrasts the wicked and the righteous. Those who follow God are, like a tree by a stream, deeply rooted and enduring while the ungodly, the mockers and the scornful are little more than chaff caught up in the wind. Their apparent movement and triumphant dancing in the air is an illusion that quickly passes away as they are left in dust, as dust. Food for that cursed one: The LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. (Genesis 3:14)
Dust and ash will be the end of the works of many who are saved themselves, as … each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
Many are the saints who will have much to show for their work here on earth -- me, probably not so much. My time, energy, and meager abilities have most often been given to those things which will not endure. The treasures I have laid up in heaven are, I am afraid, not very impressive, if there are indeed any that exist at all. Perhaps there will be one or two that I have helped along the way. I might point to loyalty and standing by a friend, but that is bred in me and hardly something for which I deserve credit. I might as well try to claim a reward for blue eyes.
I’m expecting my works to be turned to cold, gray ash, but that’s all right. I’ve had a good time with it, and I have no room to complain if I am in heaven at all. As I have more in common with the wicked than the righteous, apart from the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, I would have no hope whatever.
The only Righteous One is Jesus. He is that Tree, that Vine planted in the well-watered place. None of us can be more than a branch, more or less fruitful, drawing from His abundant, everlasting life all that we may produce of any eternal value. Everything of our old nature eventually gets cut off … and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
So it is, and so it must be. It is wise to not get too caught up by and invested in what we do, what we have, or how we live here. If we do our best to dwell close to the heart of the Lord perhaps there will be some small thing of which we may say it was nothing of ourselves but it was done by Him through us to His glory. And it will last.