If we are willing to live the life of those who will seek first God’s kingdom, then we can be assured of this: If we die, we will enter into the Lord’s peace. We do not need to wait for the day of death for that blessedness to be ours. We can rest even now in His great promises.
Those who live in unrighteousness cannot have that assurance. Their lives testify against them. Those who “burn with lust” in false religious practices, who “slaughter children” in offerings to strange deities, who make their bed in a field of idolatry and make covenants with false gods—can all be well with them?
Yet in every generation there are those who want the outward label of “covenant-keeper” but who actually prefer idols. False gods have their own doctrines. They have their own moral order. They have their own practices of worship. God expects us to take His Word seriously and to obey His commandments. If we insist on worshiping idols, then we will be directed to our wood and stone gods in the day of trouble.
Can other gods help us? Can money, prestige, and pleasure be our hope? God’s Word to idolaters is very clear: “Let your collection of idols deliver you!”
The Lord’s plan for us is so much better. He invites us to take refuge in Him and to listen to His Word as obedient and grateful children. He promises us that a wise and holy life of faith will bring us great blessing. Even in the day of our worst afflictions, the Lord will be with us. What a comfort! The God who is high above the heavens, who inhabits eternity, will happily dwell with anyone “who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.”
Even more than that, the Almighty has promised to heal us. While we may not immediately perceive Him reigning over our afflictions in every difficult moment, His promise is entirely secure.
How much goodness is enough in order for an individual to be acceptable to the Lord? How can we have assurance of God’s presence and His healing power? We know that the Lord demands perfection, but we also know that those whom God calls “righteous” in Christ have been credited with the flawless obedience of Christ through faith in His name. This is the essence of the good news that we preach and believe. Christ Jesus came to save sinners. Through faith in Him we have been given His record of holiness. We also have a new heart that has an orientation toward the good life that He has for all His children.
This is the gospel of peace that Christ speaks to His disciples. May the God who has loved us with such an extravagant love not only save us for eternity, but also redirect us more and more even now, that our lives under the sun will be increasingly fruitful for the glory of His name.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord, our Lord, will the righteous man perish while the wicked man rests in his soft bed? You have given us hope in Your justice, and we call upon Your Name, knowing that Your Word will not be powerless. You know the secrets of every idol worshiper. They are spiritual prostitutes. They seduce false gods and find themselves slaves to demons. Lord, rescue us from evil men and angels. Idols cannot deliver us from trouble. We take refuge in You alone. We will rest on Your holy mountain. You inhabit eternity, and You will revive the spirit of the lowly. Blessed be Your Name. Your Spirit heals the mourning soul. Bring us settled hearts.