He Didn’t Lower the Standards

The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face. Psalm 11:4-7.

You may say, “there is a different covenant now,” but He is still the same God. Does He appear less holy than the Lord of Revelation? He still loves righteous deeds. He has not lowered His standards. He has raised us up.

Boot Camp Boys

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.

Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none. Psalm 10:12-15.

If you are helpless, poor, and fatherless, and you commit yourself to the Lord, He will be your helper. But if you are poor and fatherless and grow up to be an oppressor who knows not God, you will be a statistic.

The number one thing most incarcerated felons have in common is not growing up with a father in the home. Abandoned and untrained, these men have no direction or positive role model or effective curb on their bad behavior.

When I was in the army I saw a lot of these guys in basic training. Many of them had been ordered to enlist by a judge who didn’t want them in prison. Our drill sergeants were harsh and demanding taskmasters. They fulfilled the need in many young men for the first time. It changed them before it was too late. They were challenged to be men of self-control and obedience, and it worked.

Rich and Poor Alike

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
    all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
    let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O Lord!
    Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah Psalm 9:17-20.

The nations represent the power structures of mankind. They strive for their own power and forget the power of God. The needy are left out of the power structures and only have God to depend on. And the Lord is pleased with those who depend on Him.

In today’s power structure, the needy can be useful to the power structure. Unlike the needy of David’s time, they can vote. And the powerful in government can persuade them to depend on the government and forget their God. Therefore, being poor does not automatically endow you with righteousness anymore than having a high position does not automatically make you wicked. We must all, rich and poor alike, worship the one who made us.

Children of God

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,

all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9.

The Earth has been given to us to rule over. The devil, here called the avenger, must even answer to a child. His power only exists when we don’t believe in our own.

Repentance Is Required

If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
    he has bent and readied his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
    making his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
    and is pregnant with mischief
    and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
    and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
    and on his own skull his violence descends.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
    and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. Psalm 7:12-17.

God is not cruel and vindictive. We do it to ourselves. His righteousness is as sure as the law of gravity. The ground does not hit you because it is angry. It hits you because you were not looking where you were going and fell.