How many times do we find ourselves hoping we have been able to "get on a good thing"? Indeed, it is inevitable - we miss the "window of opportunity" by a fraction of time! If only we had been a little quicker on the uptake! Our passage today deals with us learning to get in on the "best" - not just the "good".
Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done: He'll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. (Psalm 37:3-7 The Message)
In the New Living Translation, this begins as, "Trust in the Lord and do good..." The promise is for us to live safely in the land and prosper. I like the way the message sets out several key thoughts for us this morning. Let's begin to consider them:
- Get insurance with God. Why do we have insurance? What is the purpose of various types of insurance available to us today? Isn't the purpose of homeowner's insurance to protect us in case we were to be robbed, or worse yet, lose everything in a fire? Isn't the purpose of car insurance to protect us from being without a mode of transportation should something unforeseen happen to us as we traverse the highways? In fact, we have health insurance to provide us with the care and treatment which will protect our state of health at the best possible level. In all cases, insurance is a form of protection. Now, back to our passage - when we get "insurance" with God, it is more than "fire insurance"! It is more than a safe passage out of hell! Too many times I think we view our commitment to serve Christ as nothing more than an insurance policy guaranteeing we won't spend eternity in hell! It is way more than this!
In fact, when we look at this passage again, there is a command associated with our "insurance" being in God - we are to settle down and stick to our commitment! If we view our salvation as nothing more than a ticket out of hell, we miss out on the tremendous blessing of learning to follow close to Christ - learning what makes his heart beat. There is much more to God's protection than a safe passage out of hell! There is the day-to-day experience of learning at his feet, surrendering our desires into his hands, and seeing him take them to levels we had never imagined possible.
- Keep company with God. The company we keep determines the course we take. This is why our mothers constantly told us to beware of certain friends! Do you remember ever hearing the question, "If your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to do the same?" If you do, you are probably among millions who have heard the same thing at least once! Mom was trying to warn us of the silliness of just going along with others without thinking. We are to choose wisely the company we keep. Our passage reminds us of the importance of keeping company with God. In so doing, he doesn't challenge us to do things which end up in our hurt - in fact, he does things which build us up, meeting the desires of our heart like no other can.
- Open up before God. When we trust someone enough, we find it easy to open up before them. I have all kinds of "friends", but only a few who I'd trust enough to see my "real me"! In other words, I trust them with my emotions, my fear, my hopes, and my silly ideas. God is this kind of companion - one who doesn't laugh in our face when we have a silly idea! He takes each idea as a serious matter - helping us to come to the revelation on our own of just how silly it is. Some find it hard to open up to anyone in the natural sense. If this is the case with you, perhaps you might like to begin with God. Trust him to see your hurts - he knows them already. Trust him to hear your "brilliant ideas" - he won't laugh, but he will help you clarify them and make them even more "brilliant".
- Quiet down before God. Okay...look at the progression. First, we learn to trust the one who can protect us like no other. Then we develop relationship with him - through keeping frequent company with him. This leads to being able to open up with him - sharing what otherwise would be kept to ourselves. In the end, we learn to quiet down before him - settling in for the enjoyment of his presence. I have few relationships where I can actually do this. I know there is a freedom to just sit and be me - no frills, no expectations to perform a certain way. These are special relationships. God is this way - he allows us to be us. When we quiet down before him long enough - we begin to enjoy the presence of his company. In time, we learn to sense when he is about to move - and we are ready to move with him. In fact, we almost can fill in the sentences when he is about to speak, just like we do with the good friends we have come to enjoy the company of.
Just thoughts from the Psalms this morning on what God calls "settling down" and "learning to keep company" with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!