Songs of the Persecuted and the Redeemed

Psalm 14 and Psalm 15

Only fools say in their hearts,
“there is no God.”
They are corrupt. and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!
Psalm 14:1

Only fools say in their hearts there is no God. When David was pursued by Saul, king of Israel and Judea, and the Philistines, he wrote songs that lamented his conditions. He complained to God that he was surrounded by fools that did fear God nor respected Him. Even in the Land of the Chosen of God, His own people, rejected the word of God and sought after their own ways. Today it is much the same. Christians are challenged each day and in every way as they try to live in the Will of God. Enemies of the True Faith in God seek to force us to renounce our beliefs or to alter them in such ways as to make the Word of God no longer valid. In order to stay in their safe circles or to include those outside of faithfulness to the Word, they make concessions or attack those who stay fast in the principles of Right Living. By their actions they show that evil lives within them. And those who persecute the Faithful, those who hunt them down or make false charges against them, are corrupt and fools. Psalm 10:4 says, “The prideful have no room for God.” And so it is, those who reject the Word even in part, reject God. Their Pride has become God and they have no room for the reality of His Grace.

The LORD looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one.
Ps 14:2-3

Yet even as we cry out, “Were are the Righteous?” we can stand on the promise that God looks down from heaven and watches us. Paul wrote that the Christian Jews and Gentiles in Rome faced their own battles with not only the Roman authorities but also with the Jewish leaders who thought themselves righteous (Rom 3:10-18). Those who show no regard toward God by living in a world that they have all the power and God has none. They regard God as important and have no fear of his mighty will. They regard Judgment as nothing. Even today, Christians beleive that we are safe from God’s Judgment because “they are saved.” Those who are corrupt, “Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. they have turned them into crooked roads; NO ONE WHO WALKS IN THEM WILL KNOW PEACE.” (Isa 59:7,8)

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 7:25 that we must turn to understanding (from God) to investigate why there is persecution and stupidity from those who enjoy the folly of live without God. Ps. 102 says that for a future generation (that is those who turn to God, Christ and the Commandments), God has looked upon the Earth. He is still looking for those who who chose to withstand the torment of persecution and abide in Him and His Perfect Will. He asked the prophet Jeremiah if, “Perhaps they shall turn away from their wickedness” (Jer. 36:3) As those who are persecuted face the trials laid before them, remember that God provides for the wicked as well as the just. It is in His timing that all things are to be made right. The wicked have their “rewards” here on earth, the faithful will have the blessings of heaven eternally. As stated in Titus 1:6, They claim to know God but their actions deny Him. They claim to even be gods themselves, but by their deeds, we know that they are evil and know nothing of Godliness.

Will those who do evil never learn?
They eat up my people like bread
and wouldn’t think of praying to the LORD.
Terror will grip them,
the wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,
but the LORD restores his people.
Ps 14:4-6

“When will they ever learn?” That is the question that David asks of God. Isaiah hopefully says “I will tell of the Kindness of God, His deeds, all what He has done for us.” So even as we are persecuted and tormented by evil, even as we are denied religious rights and freedoms, even as our brothers and sisters are imprisoned, we can still rejoice in what God has done for us. We can rejoice in the presence of His Love Divine.

When we have no where else to go, “God is the refuge of His People.” Ps. 9:9. “Yet when I am needy; may the LORD think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.” Ps. 40:17. And God has rescued us. He rescued us from our depravity. Christ has taken away the sins of the world, our sins. He has made the way for the wicked to turn away from their evil and wasted ways. To those who are the ungodly, He has provided an avenue of peace and love. And as Job said; ” I know that you (GOD) can do all things.”

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
When the LORD restores his people,
Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.
Ps 14:7

But until that day of the return of Christ we must still fight the good fight. Not with the weapons of man but with the power of God’s Word. We must trust in God’s plan, His motives and his hardening of our resolve. Psalm 85:10-13 ends with the voice of not so quiet confidence in the Grace of God by stating: “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before Him and make His footsteps a way.” These words bring a sense of accomplishment to the work of those who are living in trust of God in countries that face persecution. Paul stated in Romans 11:25-27 that the end of persecutions will be realized when Israel comes to Christ. At least that is how I interpret it. “And so all of Israel will be saved, as it is writen: …And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” So I say to you all to pray for Israel that they may be saved and accept Christ as their true Messiah. Until then, Christians will be persecuted and the war against God will continue.

Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD?
Who may enter your Presence on your holy hill?

Who may worship? The Contemporary English Version Bible quotes Paul as saying. ” God doesn’t accept people simply because they obey the Law. No, indeed! All the Law does is point out our sins.” (Rom3:20) No, none are by their own, righteous. All fall short of the Glory of God.

Psalm 24:3-4 reads ” Who may ascent to the holy hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” But how can we have “clean hands” when we are often tempted by the world to seek after things not of God? In Luke 18:26 Jesus is asked, “Then who can be saved?” He replies in the next verse, “What is impossible for man is possible for God.” When the jailer asked Paul. after the earthquake what he had to do to be saved, Paul replies, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16:30-31) So the answer to the question of David in Psalms had to wait until Christ came. Now in this new age of persecutions in the world, we can still rely on God and His Word made Flesh. Jesus Christ.

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Ps. 15:2

Only by Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit can we become blameless. Because we, like Phillip having met Jesus who goes to his friend Nathanael can say as he did, “We have met the Messiah (that is the Christ)” (John 1:41) Now we can do what is worthy, what is in accordance to God’s Law and His Grace. When we are called to put God’s trust to the test, we can put away the falsehoods of vanity, pride and self righteousness and we can speak truthfully to our neighbors (Eph 4:25). We can not allow unhealthy talk to come from our lips but speak only what is helpful for building up each other (Eph 4:29). But we must also not grieve the Holy Spirit by doubt. We must never lose sight of the goal of Chirst that we are to be sealed by Faith and the Holy Spirit for the day of Redemption. We must contrive only to serve God and to do what is good in His Eyes.

Those who refuse to gossip
or to harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the LORD,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
Ps. 15:3-4

If we are to win the hearts and souls of those who despise us, we must lift them up, not because we their sin but in spite of it. We are to guard our tongues and watch what we say less we cause hurt and confusion. Yet even as we lift them up, we are not to help them in their sins. That is to say we must not condone the sinful nature that they live in, we must not bow to their evil. Even as they persecute us, deny our rights and close down our right to worship, we must still give them their rights under God. Exodus 23:1-2 states, “Do not spread false reports… Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong..” By our example of living in honesty, we always show the Grace of God. Our Lord wants us to walk with Him in Righteousness as did Abraham. Even in his weakness, When God said, do it, Abraham did as he was told. Yet even in his faithfulness, when Abraham relied on his own, he failed God and did what was wrong. Even in our weaknesses, we must first turn to God and His Holy Word to guide us and protect us from ourselves.

Give to the enemies of truth as you would your freinds and they will weaken in their resolve to destroy you. Give to them as you would friends and they will become as freinds. The LORD will reward you (Proverbs 25:21) Give to everyone what is owed, revenue (taxes), respect, honor (Rom 3:7) I am amazed at how many “Christians” cheat on their taxes. Do they not know that those in authority over you on earth are servants of God? Even those who you may see as evil, contrite and despots are still under God’s authority. It is God’s responsibility to deal with them in judgement. When you cheat on taxes, you may be denying your neighbor services that are truly needed. Paul writes as love does not harm its neighbor, therefor love fulfills the Law of God (Rom 13:10) Avoiding taxes causes harm, therefor don’t do it. Love your neighbor in all ways, even if your neighbor hates you.

1 Peter 2:17 confirms this with, “Show proper respect to everyone; Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (those in authority).” I feel that even as we are persecuted, denied our rights and mocked for our faith, we still must honor those in authority. We must leave them to God. In Isaiah 3:15, God asks, “What do you mean by crushing my people, grinding the faces of the poor?” God is aware of our turmoil. He is the safe guard of our souls.

And keep your promises. Be faithful to your word as God is faithful to His word to you. If you borrow money, pay it back. don’t enter into deals that you can not keep. If you say to a friend or neighbor that you will do something for them, do it and do it promptly. Integrity is the cornerstone of righteousness.

Those who lend money without charging interest
and cannot be bribed or lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.
Ps. 15:5

I cannot tell you how many times I have challenged those who advertise that they are “Christians” and then overcharge for their services. Deut. 16:19 says, “Do not pervert Justice.” and it can not be clearer than that. God says in Exodus 27:24-25 not to mistreat the widows and orphans or His wrath will be on you. Hebrews 11:24-25 tells us that Moses chose to be mistreated for the sake of God’s children. We are to stand firm in our faithfulness. We dare not to be tempted by the desires of the world but stand firm in the Grace of God. Live in justice, serve with justice and be guided by the just hand of God.

And as Paul says in Romans 3:21-24, “But now, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

So who may walk in the sanctuary of the LORD? Those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who may call themselves redeemed? those who walk in the righteousness of God by the Grace of Christ. Who will stand firm in the face of persecution? Those who live by the example of Christ in all things.

And when the day of the Returning Lord, we shall rejoice, but until that day, we shall suffer persecutions, turmoil and strife. In the end we shall see our reward. As for now, the redeemed will be persecuted and those who suffer persecution can be counted among the redeemed. God’s grace will surpass all persecution. Stand firm in your faith always.

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