Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

Presented by Mike Tune and Amazing Grace International, Inc.

Uncompromising Honor

“I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:5)

Between November 28 and December 1, 1943, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Franklin Roosevelt met in Tehran to coordinate military strategy in the war against Germany. In his podcast “Reflections of History,” Jon Meacham tells about an evening meal the three leaders shared on November 29. During the dinner, Stalin bragged that he planned to execute 50,000 German officers after the war.

When I heard that, immediately I figured everyone laughed, being reminded of an old “lawyer joke” with the punchline “a good start.” Indeed, Roosevelt tried to lighten the comment by saying perhaps only 49,000 should be killed. Churchill, however, was having none of it. He pointedly reproved Stalin and said such talk was barbaric and then, visibly shaken, got up from the table and walked into an empty nearby room to be by himself.

Churchill needed Stalin and Roosevelt. Together, they had a chance against Hitler. Churchill knew that alone, Britain would be toast. And yet, principle and honor and decency was at stake. He could not abide such cruel talk and would not be a part of it.

And I thought “wow.” I then thought of the Psalm text above, as well as Psalm 1:1 and Job’s comment “I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.” Whatever else history may say about Churchill, there was an admirable moment.

I’m tempted to say “we need more leaders like that, who exhibit in their dealings an uncompromising devotion to justice, honor, decency, and mercy – come what may, cost what it will.” But really, we need to be a people like that. And when we are, we’ll have the leaders we need. For followers of Jesus, such a life is not an option. It is our calling. Nothing less will do.
Mike Tune

Saturday, April 20. Psalms 24 – 27

Psalms 26 – 28 seem to go together for in all three, the writer mentions the dwelling place of God.  He calls it God’s “house” in Psalms 26 and 27, and God’s “Most Holy Place” in chapter 28.  We can imagine the writer making his way to the tabernacle in Psalm 26, seeing it as a shelter from his enemies in chapter 27, and finally, hear him make his petition before God in Psalm 28.

In Psalm 26, the worshiper takes us by surprise with his bold profession of perfection.  He has led a “blameless” life in unwavering devotion to the Lord and willingly asks God to examine him to see if it is not true.  But I think the writer is not claiming to have done everything right.  Rather, he is professing his sincerity before the Lord.  God himself will refer to David’s “integrity.”  If he doesn’t always get it all right, it was, none-the-less, his desire to get it all right, but more than that, to gain God’s approval.

You see how this sincerity works out in verse 4.  David knows that his own life, and the future of his kingdom, depends on his choice of companions – friends.  And so, he tries to choose them wisely.

How do you do that?

You watch their “heading.”  Look at their lives.  Look at the direction they are going.  Is it toward God, or away from God?  If away, do not align yourself with them.  They cannot help you in your relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is most important of all.  This brings us back to David’s sincerity, which he underscores in chapter 27.  The one thing he asks of God is that he might live in the presence of the Lord.  When we make that our goal, rather than just our wish, everything about our life is then turned in the right direction and though sinful, we can proclaim with David the “blameless” life.