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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lifestyles of the Righteous - Part II

 11-12 You know I've been aboveboard with you; now be aboveboard with me.
   I'm on the level with you, God; I bless you every chance I get.
(Psalm 26:11-12)

Yesterday we began to explore the lifestyle characteristics of a man or woman of God - one that has determined to take a stand for Jesus.  Today, we continue with those character traits picking up with the sixth verse of this Psalm in which David outlines the company he keeps - joining hands with others around the altar of God.  He spent some time in the previous verses outlining that he did not have the same type of relationship with those that were in a position of being enemies of God.  Instead, he makes his company with those who have a broken spirit, yearning for the fellowship with God that he has come to desire by separating himself unto service for the King of Kings.

It is interesting that he begins this passage with the idea of cleansing:

 6-7 I scrub my hands with purest soap, then join hands with the others in the great circle, dancing around your altar, God, singing God-songs at the top of my lungs, telling God-stories. 

David recognized that his ability to fellowship with God and with those God had provided in his life was conditioned on maintaining a clean heart.  Nothing drives a wedge between us and God faster than entertaining sin in our hearts.  Nothing destroys relationship with each other faster than having disloyalty in our hearts.  David is picturing a group of individuals that have loyal hearts - determined to live obediently.

David is picturing a life of separation in these passages - separation from the world's passions and pursuits, separation from sin, and separation distractions.  He pictures unity.  A life dedicated to Christ is earmarked by the desire and ability to bring unity within relationships.  Living a separate life does not mean that we are all "walled up" inside our little world, absent and insensitive to those around us.  In fact, it is quite the opposite - it is a life of sensitivity to the need for showing another what the grace of God looks like by living out that grace in our daily lives.

Another characteristic emphasized in this passage is that of worship - there is a desire to be with God's people, in God's presence - to share in worship of the King of Kings.  There is not so much a desire to "go to church" as there is a desire to "be God's church" - gathered together in unity, cleansed of sin, and partaking of the presence of God.  There is something about being "clean" that gives us a sense of the "sanctuary" of our salvation.  God's presence is a place of retreat (refreshing), shelter (restoration), and defense (protection).  

The last characteristic pictured by David is that of being full of praise for God.  We often link praise with blessing.  When we are blessed, we feel like praising the one who has blessed us.  When we don't sense any blessing in the circumstance, we often want to curse the circumstance and often the one who initiated it!  We rely too much on how we feel, rather than relying on who it is that is with us - both in the times of blessing and in the times of leanness.  David is our example here - he did more than ask God for blessings in his life.  He frequently is found taking time to consider God's greatness, his grace, his many interventions in David's life - in doing this, he was "blessing" God.

The Lifestyles of the Righteous - the beginning point is in "taking a stand" for God.  The end of that choice is that of a blessed and assured life.