“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous.”
Let’s be honest, it is very hard to live a righteous life. To truly obey God and his commands day in and day out. It is hard to obey right away all the way with a happy heart. To not complain and grumble. To say no to other people doing the wrong thing. There are so many people and things out there that are so attractive but wrong. People who look like they are having so much fun. Laughing and having a great time. They look like they have a lot of money and success. They are on TV. They have friends. Sometimes saying no to temptation and bad things is, well, boring. Lonely.
Here is what King David wrote, the Lord knows the way of the righteous. When God says He knows someone, He knows it like a potter or woodworker knows the item that they made. Each detail they have created and gone over with such attention. God created us and knows our every thought, word, and deed. Now at first, to be honest, that scares me. I know I have thought, said and done things over and over on a daily basis that are sinful. But here is the amazing truth of this passage. If we are God’s children, which means we have been given the faith to admit our rebellion against God and believe that our only comfort and hope in this world and the next is Jesus. If that’s true, Jesus takes off our filthy, dirty rags of rebellion and hatred towards God, and places the royal robe of His righteousness over us and when God now looks at us, it is as if we never sinned. All He sees is the perfect righteousness of Christ. Amazing.
But sometimes God seems so far away. In the day to day moments here at school and at home, the temptations come out of nowhere. They pop up in your face. It seems like when you do the right thing, you lose friends. It is confusing to know what is the right thing to do sometimes.
There was the youngest brother of a large family. His older brothers hated him. They hated him so much that when he went out to the field where they were to check on them, they wanted to kill him. Instead, they settled for throwing him into a deep well. Eventually, they sold him as a slave. Can you believe it, their own brother! Now a slave in Egypt, Joseph, works hard, is diligent, attends to details, and does the right thing day in and day out. He gets noticed and promoted because God blesses Him. As He does his work as unto the Lord, he is all of sudden faced with the wife of his master who is lustfully tempting him to indulge in momentary pleasure. Here is Joseph’s response,
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
His righteous stand eventually leads him to be falsely accused and thrown into prison for years. Again, He is diligent. Works hard. Does not complain. He gets promoted and is blessed by God. He interprets Pharaoh’s’ dream and becomes a ruler of the greatest country of that time. A great famine comes over the land. There is no food. Only Egypt has food, thanks to Joseph’s planning. Guess who shows up in Egypt? Joseph’s brothers. The ones who wanted to kill him and sold him into slavery. When Joseph finally reveals himself to them, this is amazing, he says,
“Please come near to me.” (He doesn’t cast them away looking for revenge) Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not, therefore, be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. God sent me before you to preserve a future generation for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
Here is the point. Joseph refused to trade momentary pleasure, anger, revenge or feeling sorry for himself for the righteousness that God requires. You see you cannot have it both ways. You are either moving your life in the direction of things that last only a moment and serve our own wants, needs, and desires or you are doing things that make the desire of your heart want to know God and His word more. There is no in between. Every moment of your life and mine is moving us somewhere and in some direction. All those moments are marching towards a destiny. You don’t think this moment matters? You don’t think that resisting a temptation really doesn’t matter? It does. It matters for your destiny. Joseph knew that he could not compromise. He put His trust in the Lord. God was with him the whole time. In the dark well, through the desert, in the prison, and on the throne. God was with him and knew him and strengthened him to live a righteous life despite any temptations.
Don’t miss this point. Your life is made up of millions of moments that are all marching towards your destiny. If you trust God with your heart, he knows you. He has made you righteous so that your destiny is with Him forever. You can stand up to friends who are making bad choices. You can say no to temptation. You can stand alone because you really are never alone. You can do your work as unto the Lord. All of this pleases the one who has done everything you need to live a life that glorifies God. Hold on to the righteousness of Christ and do not compromise it. When it’s hard, scary, confusing or lonely. He is the great Jehovah who will guide you, every step of the way towards a destiny that glorifies God.