Jump Start # 2927
Psalms 120:6-7 “Too long has my soul had its dwelling with those who hate peace. I am for peace, when I speak, they are for war.”
Every Sunday morning we begin our services with a reading from the Psalms. It sets the tone for our worship, puts God before our eyes and reminds us of the wonderful ways of the Lord. Recently the reading was from Psalms 120. Our verse today, from that chapter is how the chapter ends. Here, the Psalmist recognizes the difference between his heart and the direction that he is going from those around him. The Psalmist is for peace, they are for war. Around him are those who hate peace. And, when a person hates peace, he will spend his time stirring things up. He will try to interrupt peace. He will introduce controversy. He will agitate. He will spin things in such a way that people get upset.
Now, some lessons for us.
First, there is the realization that one has spent too long around those who are different than he is. The Psalmist was for peace. Those around him were for war. Too long, he says, my soul has dwelled with those who hate peace. Some people never realize this. They never see the toxic and ungodly environment around them. Some give out passes on this because the haters of peace are family members. We allow our families to chip away at our faith and discourage us and nearly knock us down spiritually all in the name of family.
Who are you dwelling with? Not just in your house, but social friends? Family? Vacations? Free time? Co-workers? Do you recognize a difference? The Psalmist did. Do you see that your goals and their goals are not the same? The Psalmist did. Do you see that they are the opposite of you? The Psalmist saw that. Do you?
Second, dwelling with someone a long time has a way of influencing and even changing a person. Sometimes it is positive and good. Many times it is negative and for the worse. We let words slide through our lips that we’d never say before. We’ve been influenced. We lower our standards and find ourselves doing things that we’d never do before. What’s happened? We’ve been around the wrong people too long. It’s always easier to go down hill than it is up hill. And, when there is more of them than there is of you, the pressure to conform, look the other way, and cut a guy some slack, mount up. Too long around the wrong people and you’ll be wrong yourself. Too long.
Third, my first reaction to this verse is to move. If you know you are around the wrong people and you’ve been there too long, then get out of there. Move on down the road. It’s better to be alone than to be with the wrong crowd. It’s better to have people talk about you negatively than it is to go along with them and soon become one of them.
This is hard for many to do. Life long friends. Friends since school days. A lot in common. Have a lot of fun together. But, then there is that other side. They hate what you love. They have a history with you. But look at where they are. Look where you are. You are for peace and they are for war. You are for Christ and they are for the world. You are for righteousness and they are for wickedness. You are for serving they are for self. You are for Heaven and they are headed full steam to Hell, but laughing and having a blast the whole time. Has it been too long now? How much longer? Another month? Another year? Why?
Some, because of connections to family can’t just move on from these people. Every holiday, every birthday, every funeral, there they are. Loud. Obnoxious. Worldly. Wicked. You can’t escape them because they are family. They are likely to say anything in front of young ears. They are always pushing you to do what you do not want to do. For too long my soul has dwelled among those who hate peace. Maybe it’s time to put up some boundaries. Maybe it’s time to protect your family, your heart and your soul.
Fourth, what a blessing and a comfort it is to find those who comfort your soul, encourage your heart and build your faith. We find those in our fellowship. Those of like mind. Those of similar spirits. Those who love the Lord. This is why worship is such a comforting oasis for our weary souls. A week in the world and we are weary, depressed and unsure of our next step. But coming out of worship on Sunday, our souls are alive to Jesus. We are refreshed. We are built up. We are motivated and have a plan and a purpose in our hearts. Worship is important. We need it. We need to see that there are others, many others, who walk with the Lord. There are others who long for peace. There are others who are willing to stand on the side of the Lord. Imagine dwelling a long time with these kinds of people. Imagine spending decades with those who love truth and are faithful to God’s word. Imagine decades of solid Biblical preaching. Imagine decades of singing praises to God. Imagine decades of fellowship, joy and prayers together. Unified. One mind. One heart.
Once a person gets this, they’ll never be asking, “Do we have to go to church every time?” That won’t come up. He will see the powerful good of dwelling a long time with those who love the Lord. Great things happen that way.
Who have you been dwelling with for a long time? Not a name, but what kind of person? What character? What nature? What heart? Sure is something to think about…