“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
In one of the “Back to the Future” films, the headmaster uses the word, “slacker” to describe a pupil that is slow or not performing well. This is the meaning of this Bible word! However, the word is used in this verse is a very different way. The pupil in “Back to the Future” was slow! He was under-performing due to his lack of intelligence. God, on the other hand, is not slack – not slow or lacking in intelligence – not under-performing – especially when it comes to his promises.
He is not slack, as men think of slackness. He is tarrying on purpose. That is the difference. God is allowing time for men to see their need and come to repentance. Sometimes it seems that we pray and pray for a loved one and nothing is happening Godwardly in their lives. But God is always at work. We might not see it ourselves, but we can trust that His will is that none perish, so He is always working toward the goal of drawing men and women to Himself.
Sometimes we might be tempted to believe that God has forgotten where we are, that all of the prophecies we read in His Word are but stories – fables of old that have been long abandoned. But that is not true either. Not one jot or tittle of God’s Word will fail – all will be accomplished, but in His time, under His control, and He will not tarry when that time has come.
Maybe the truth of the matter is that we are the slackers! We are the ones who are slow and under-performing. We are the doubters, the scoffers, the ones who lose focus and forget that God is longsuffering.
Slackers need to repent……
“I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
O Lord, put me not to shame.” Psalm 119:31
Stick-to-it-ness is a real virtue. It demands that you adhere consistently to a manner of life, an attitude, outlook, or task until completed, or, maybe a belief or hope in someone or something. God’s Word promises blessing to those who stick by his Word. (Joshua 1:8, Rev. 1:3, Luke 11:28) The blessings come to those who not only believe God is right, but also are striving to live lives according to God’s direction in His Word.
Only two other times in God’s Word does this word, “stuck”, appear. In I Samuel 26:7 Saul’s spear was stuck in the ground as he slept, and in Acts 27:41 a boat became stuck on the shore and was unmoveable.
We need to plunge ourselves into God’s precepts and stay there. Like the spear for safekeeping, or, as the boat run aground being unmoveable. It matches up with I Cor. 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
The Psalmist said, “…put me not to shame.” Don’t let me down, Lord; I’ve put all my eggs in your basket. I trust you to honour your Word. Throughout the Bible that faithfulness of God’s Word is declared. In the Gospels, three times it is written, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33
God won’t let us down. He will keep his Word. Our job is to get “stuck” into it and leave the rest to Him. How are you doing?
“For my wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.” Psalm 38:5
The 38th Psalm is a cry from the heart of a man face to face with the reality of his sinfulness. His emotions are causing physical reactions; in the third verse he experiences restlessness, in the fourth he is heavy, in the sixth mourning, in verse eight there is weakness and turmoil of heart and in verse nine he is groaning. Verse ten reveals heart palpitations and verse seventeen sorrows, while verse one indicates that he knows he is in a place of judgment. He cries out, “Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.” The reality of sin and the assuredness of chastisement bring about an attitude of repentance.
He sees his sin and it stinks. Through his foolishness he has placed himself in a position of dread and he is repentant. Kay Arthur wrote, “Sin is independence from God; …when that true poverty of spirit comes, then righteous mourning will rise up like a wall on its foundation.” Repentance is a scarce commodity today. People seem to have become accustom to the smell of sin.
The word, “stink”, here in Psalm 38 is the Hebrew word “Ba’ash” which means to be morally offensive, to smell bad, to be abhorred. So the Psalmist comes before God to seek forgiveness with a broken heart and in full repentance. He knows the odor of his life choices is not a sweet smelling savour! Verse eighteen states, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”
Repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation. Man must come to the knowledge of the stench of his own sinfulness and place himself upon the mercy of God. Repentance is also necessary for the saint. We are not above acting out our own foolishness and sin. Yet, we are admonished to keep our lives clean and fragrant through confession and repentance of daily sins. (I John 1:9)
No Christian should be a “stinker”. How about you? Any stinky things in your life you need to repent of?
“Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.” Psalm 69:14
“Let me not sink”. Sometimes life gets so overpowering that we feel we surely cannot face another day with the same pressures and hazards. Or, we recognize the challenges before us and see ourselves as inadequate for the task and we worry that the task will consume us. Whatever the source of the pressure we feel compelled to cry out for help “Let me not sink”.
Crying out is a great thing. Recognizing our weaknesses or inadequacies is not necessarily detrimental. This is the point from which we can reach out to the One who can help us, deliver us, and raise us up once again.
The Psalmist did a lot of crying out, and said that each time, the Lord delivered him. Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 120:1 “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.”
At other times we feel the influence and oppression of the sinful world in which we live trying to pull us under. This is the mire to which the Psalmist alluded in the 69th Psalm saying it was filthy, full of hate and running deep.
Like Pilgrim in the quagmire or Pool of Despond, we too, need to seek to be lifted out of the filth of the world unto greater sanctification and holiness of life. We need our garments cleansed by repentance and separation.
Cry out! The Lord will not let you sink!
“Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.” Proverbs 22:26
To strike hands is equivalent to being responsible to another for someone else’s debt. It is to stake the goods God has given you stewardship for as another’s security. If your friend defaults, you must pay up.
Matthew Henry comments on this verse, stating, that to do this is like cheating the person in need. Instead of simply helping him by your own generous gift, you “gamble” with your goods. This places your own prosperity in jeopardy and does not really relieve your neighbour of his debt. He is now also bound to you as well, and if it all goes pear-shaped, the friendship will be damaged.
We have all experienced the calamity of the banking industry in recent times. Bad debt and poor decisions were the basic cause. Men simply were not dealing with good practices. They were gambling against the economy and predictions of prosperity. But, it was false and collapsed.
Our lives will similarly collapse if we practice poor financial management. God warns us again co-signing loans in this verse. It would be better to give our neighbour a free gift helping him out of debt than to be bound to this sort of risk. When we understand and accept that all we have belongs to the Lord and we are only stewards, then surely we would not want to risk our Lord’s goods!
Have we heard God’s wisdom? Or do we continue to gamble? Are we good stewards, or do we think that all we have has come from our own strength?