Giving Someone Else Our Mail
Psalm 139:19–24 19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20For they speak against thee wickedly, And thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I preached a sermon that I knew applied to a lady in attendance that day.
I had not targeted her intentionally; I honestly didn’t even expect her to be present when I was preparing the sermon. I saw her enter and instantly I knew that the Holy Spirit had given me a message just for her.
So, here is a confession, I began to worry about how I would deal with her response. You see, this gal was well known for telling a feller off and quite a few preachers had heard her sermons!
I started asking myself, “when she tells me off, what will I say?”, “How can I respond with grace while not apologizing for God’s truth?”.
I tried my best to preach what the Bible says with love and boldness then went to the back door of the sanctuary to take the backside chewing that was certainly coming my way. I saw her approaching, I took a deep breath and then I braced.
This is what she said,
“That was a wonderful sermon preacher J, one of the best that I have ever heard, I just wish ******* had been here to hear that, just between us, she really needed that!”
She shook my hand, smiled, and walked away.
Can you believe that?
God had sent her a message that she totally ignored.
She thought her mail was for someone else!
What does that story have to do with today’s reading from the Psalms?
David is telling us that God is righteous and judges sin and asks the Lord to keep him from the influence of the wicked.
Psalm 139:19–20 19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20For they speak against thee wickedly, And thine enemies take thy name in vain.
Then the Psalmist makes some statements that certainly create some questions.
Psalm 139:21-22 21Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
He says, he hates those that hate God. His confession of hatred seems contrary to the words of our Lord when he said to “love our enemies” doesn’t it? I don’t know that I have all the answers, was David right in this hatred? Did he hate the person or their wrong views and actions? Charles Spurgeon had this to say about this verse.
To love all men with benevolence is our duty; but to love any wicked man with complacency would be a crime.
One thing is certain, David has decided to not remain neutral; he is on the side of God and opposite any other.
It is what he said next that applies to my story, after discussing wrongdoers, whose actions he despises, he follows with a personal prayer.
Psalm 139:23-24 23Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
David hated unholiness in others but also in himself. He had the humility to understand that while he could see the sins of those around him, he may not recognize his own. He asks God to search his heart and mind, find the faults within him, and correct his own way.
So, what is my point?
As a preacher I must always remember that when I point one finger there are three coming back my way.
As a believer I must be careful to not excuse the sins in me that I condemn in others. When the preacher preaches, I would be wise to look in the mirror for applications not just around the room.
Let's not be like that lady, if God though his Word sends us a message let's not give someone else our mail.
Since none of us are guiltless, lets rejoice in how sweet Jesus paid for all our sins so that we can all go free. Thats some mail that everyone needs!
Readings for 12-11-20