Friday, January 22, 2016


A Christian's Version of "Survivor"...

"Who shall abide
(sojourn: live temporarily in a place)
in Thy tabernacle?
Who shall dwell
in Thy holy hill?
(who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness?)"

Abide, sojourn, dwell...These are lovely words.  An invitation to come in and stay, rest, live in the presence of the holy God.  So the "Who shall" is an important question.  Is it actually more of a reality show, a "Survivor" kind of question of who shall make it to the Church Triumphant?  So it is a pertinent question for us, not to be ignored.  By the way, one of the early holiness abolitionist preacher women, who was a former slave, was named Sojouner Truth.  Can you think of a more beautiful, appropriate name that a body could have? So here's the answer to the question "who"...

He who walks with integrity,
and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
Well, now, that certainly narrows it down, doesn't it.  Integrity's definition is this: "adherence to a code of values; incorruptibility; soundness; completeness."  I'm the kind of person who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but I want to be the kind of person who can walk with integrity and work righteousness at the same time; in other words, to be full of integrity and do what is right.  And this is possible because this person speaks what is true in his own heart.  Have you heard of self-talk?  It can be negative, or it can be speaking the truth from your innermost being.  This is the source from which integrity happens, that enables righteous works to flow forth.  It is the holiness without which no man can see God.  What is deep down in your heart? Is it Truth?

Remember the Scripture, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." (III John 1:4) and "I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth..." (II John 1:4)  So, it is not enough though to walk yourself on this sojourn, but we want others to walk with us, especially our children.  It is true that there is no greater joy.  However, when this does not happen, it is a grief.  The hope is that it is a sojourn and we are not all where we are going to be, which is my prayer for my adopted children who have wandered away from truth.  It is my prayer that they may not ignore the truth that was spoken into their heart.
This short little Psalm goes on to spell out what this walking with integrity looks like...
"He does not slander with his tongue,
(He who backbiteth not)
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a reprobate (a vile person) is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;
He swears to his own hurt,
and does not change;
He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent,
He who does these things will never be shaken."
(verses 3-5)

This is a person who does "not only avoids evil speaking, but he avoids also evil acting towards his neighbor."  "'Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor,'  The word 'cherpah,' which we here translate a reproach, come from 'charaph,' 'to strip, or make bare, to deprive one of his garments...A man, for instance, of a good character is reported to have done something wrong; the tale is spread, and the slanderers and backbiters carry it about; and thus the man is stripped of his fair character, of his clothing of righteousness, truth, and honesty.  The good man taketh it not up. He cannot prevent the detractor from laying it down; but it is in his power not to take it up, and thus the progress of the slander may be arrested." (Adam Clarke)

In whose eyes a reprobate, a vile person, is despised.  In our time, we are told we cannot judge, that we cannot say things against a reprobate or it is a hate crime even.  But we can not help but see what is before our eyes, and "speak truth in our heart."  A reprobate, a vile person has been defined as one abandoned to sin, is despised as loathsome, as if he were covered with leprosy: the loathsome of leprosy prevents the contagion of the disease by not even touching it, staying away from the possibility of becoming covered in sin as well. 
 He swears to his own hurt can be meant, "He has promised to the Lord to keep his body under, and bring it into subjection; to deny himself that he may not pamper the flesh, and have more to give to the poor."  (Adam Clarke)
So whoo is the one who cannot be shaken?
The wise person is the one who cannot be turned upside down in this crazy, tilting world.
It is he who sojourns on the holy mountain of holiness
with truth in his heart.


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