|Volume 21 Number 11 November 2019||
Psalm 95:1-2 reads, “Oh come let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.” The Psalmist invited his readers into the presence of our Holy God with a heart full of thanksgiving and to express our thankfulness in songs of praise. We are to show devotion to our Mighty Creator and Keeper.
Then, he gave powerful reasons and sound logic for us to show our devotion and love to God. The Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. His possessions are the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains. The very sea belongs to Him because He made both the sea and the dry land.
It is then befitting of us to worship, to bow down and kneel before the Lord, our Maker. Why—because He is our God, and we are His people, the sheep of His own hand by virtue of the simple fact that He created us.
Next, the tenor of the psalmist shifted from a plea for devotion to a sense of warning. He said if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as your fathers did at Meribah, as on the day at Massah, putting God to the test. Do not put Him to the proof when you have seen His mighty works.
God found the Israelites to be a people who would go astray and forget His ways. Because of this, God held a loathing for even His people so that He swore in wrath that they would not enter into the land of rest and peace, which He had intended for them. For 40 years, God kept them wandering in the wilderness until all who had railed against His way, His love and truth had died. Only the faithful followers of God could proceed to the land of promise.
The invitation of the Psalmist still calls to us today. “Oh come let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.” Come into the presence of the Mighty God with songs of praise and devotion. Let us have hearts brimming over with thanksgiving for the love, mercy, purpose and direction that only God our Designer and Creator could have for each of us.
But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. (Ephesians 4:15 NKJV)
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:2-6)
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)
A dichotomy is where two things are divided into separate categories. For example, on one hand are vegetarians and on the other hand are those who eat meat. That is a true dichotomy or opposite matters. The colors black and white are a true dichotomy: one is all the colors in one; the other is a lack of color.
However, sometimes a dichotomy is just arbitrarily invented, in other words, made up. One example is the attitude concerning truth and love. Some feel that love trumps the upholding of truth and sound doctrine. Others think that truth and sound doctrine do not require kindness and love. Both of these positions are false, based on the same artificial dichotomy that somehow sound teaching and love don’t go together.
Let’s boil it down to the bottom line. We must be concerned about what we teach, and we must be concerned about how we teach. We can act in the kindest manner, but if we don’t teach the “whole counsel of God,” we are “kindly” and “lovingly” leading people straight toward eternal destruction! On the other hand, we can firmly declare the truth of God, nothing but sound doctrine, but do it in a hateful, condescending manner and drive people away from God with our attitude. The result is the same—souls lost throughout eternity!
Many will reject the truth. That is simply a fact. However, the only opportunity for souls to be saved is when sound doctrine is taught with a gentle, kind and loving spirit. To neglect the what or the how is a fatal flaw—indeed a very deadly one!