Psalm 119 is a beast–it is 176 verses long and divided into 22 sections (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). So I’m going to divide it up, and write about my observations from each section, and see how each can help me continue to walk the road less traveled. Today, the “Samekh” section:
My parents were instrumental in starting a prison ministry at their church. They have a bunch of volunteers that go visit prisoners. So far, they’ve seen some amazing things. My parents have befriended a former prisoner, helping him readjust to life on the outside. He comes to church when he doesn’t have to work. One of the things that they encourage the prisoners to do when they get out is to form a new set of friends. If they don’t, and they go back to hanging out with their old friends, the chances of landing back in the slammer are much higher.
The author of Psalm 119 writes the following words,
I hate those who are double minded, but I love Your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.
Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the commandments of my God.
As the Bible says elsewhere, bad company does corrupt good morals.
Notice who the author calls evildoers–those who are “double minded.” I think these would be those who, as the old timers would say, have “one foot in the church and one foot in the world.” They claim to follow Jesus, but their words and actions indicate otherwise. It’s as if they suffer from spiritual schizophrenia. While we’re to engage our world and not completely cut ourselves off from it, the world does need to know who our allegiance stands with (and we don’t show it through bumper stickers or silly T-shirts). The author wants to separate himself from the company of those who can’t make up their mind–who want a little bit of God and a little bit of the world (well, it’s really a lot of the world).
All of us have fallen into this trap. We’ve wanted the big house, the new car, the large flat screen, or whatever Satan dangled in front of us, and it blurred our vision and scrambled our brains. We became double minded. God calls that wicked.
What are some ways that we can be single-mindedly devoted to God? Consuming mass quantities of Scripture and prayer, throwing ourselves fully into the life of our church community, and bringing all of life under the Lordship of Jesus are all ways. We may need to issue some humility-tinged tough love to those who are double-minded. The chances are good that they won’t like it. But there’s always the possibility that they will repent.
As for us, we need to make up our mind–will we be single-minded in our lives and be devoted to God, observing His commandments? Or will we be spiritual psychopaths?