Perish

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Two weeks ago we talked about how everyone has a destiny.  Destiny means that there are certain events in the future that will happen.  When Darth Vader tries to get Luke Skywalker to turn to the dark side, he says, it is your destiny.  Vader meant this will happen. Thankfully this wasn’t Luke’s destiny because the next movies would have been totally different.  It wouldn’t have been quite as interesting to see them build yet another death star and then have no one to destroy it.

Destiny is the truth that choices and actions will lead you a certain way.  To a certain end. God is a God of order and if you do things a certain way, you will end up in a certain place.  For example, if you stop studying for your tests, stop doing your homework, and instead play minecraft, what will happen to your grade?  It is absurd to think you will make the all A’s honor roll. It is just as absurd to think you can live your life however you want and then expect God to say “well done good and faithful servant”.

In Psalm 1, King David says that if you follow the path of the righteous, which means turning from the path of the ungodly and meditating on God’s word, your destiny is redeemed by Christ and will lead you to heaven.  What is interesting is that seems like a great way to end the first psalm but he doesn’t. He ends with

“but the way of the ungodly shall perish”.

King David says just as sure as we are of the destiny of the righteous leading to heaven, we can be just as sure as the choices, attitudes and actions of the ungodly, will lead to their destruction.  

A famous preacher of the past, Charles Spurgeon said,

“Sinners cannot live in heaven. They would be out of their element. Sooner could a fish live upon a tree than the wicked in Paradise. Heaven would be an intolerable hell to an impenitent man, even if he could be allowed to enter.”  

What Spurgeon is saying is that even if a sinner, by himself, could go to heaven, they would choose not to because they love their wickedness over truth and beauty. This shows how strong our attraction to sin really is. We would want to live in sin than go to heaven.

It is easy to believe that when we look around and see people we obviously can tell hate God but what is extremely difficult to believe is that we all, myself included, have that level of darkness lurking in our hearts.  It took the most extraordinary event in human history, the death of Jesus on the cross, to break the power of sin and the powerful bondage we all were under from it. Only by faith in Christ can we have a destiny of light over a destiny of darkness.  

It seems so obvious that choosing the ungodly path and perishing would be a bad choice.  Why do so many choose it? And if we are honest, why do we sometimes choose it? Only something so powerful and sinister could twist our mind and heart away from the amazing gift of grace secured on the cross, to something that would lead to death.

This is what King David has been fervently warning us about in this first Psalm.  What is this dark and sinister thing that lures our hearts and minds? It is this, you will want to load everything you can into this world so that you only live for yourself.  You will want to get as much as you can out of this world that while you are alive on this earth, you won’t care about living for the next world.  For heaven. You are asking this world to be something it cannot be and that is paradise. God created it good but it is not heaven. God created all the things of this world good, and to be enjoyed.  That big juicy steak. A sunrise on an ocean horizon. Those big white soft snowflakes that fall. The love of a mother. The loyalty of a friend. The satisfaction of success. All these things and more God gave us.  But we confuse all the stuff of this world with our identity. We think that this stuff makes us who we are. Instead, all this stuff is pointing upward. It’s pointing to an amazing creator, to a God who so loved us that he sent His only son to rescue us.

We try to make for ourselves a heaven on earth where we are the rulers of our little kingdom.  We try to become little kings and queens. We want to make the rules. To choose when we want to work hard.  Who and when we have to obey. What we spend our time doing. If we want to be on our phone, then no one should tell us to put it away.  If we want to go home and play video games instead of doing chores, studying for tests or homework, how dare our parents tell us otherwise.  This “me first” way of living is not just a bad idea. It’s not just a bad choice. No, it is much deeper and much more serious. It is a serious heart issue.  

King David writes that when you choose your own path, where you reject God as the king and creator, and that path is the road to destruction and if you continue on that path, you will perish.  We all must look at our lives and decide what is truly important to us. Do I joyfully obey or do I roll my eyes and sigh? When I am asked to help out around the class or at home, do I do it right away or only when forced to?  These are little signs that tell you where you are heading. The direction of your heart. What kingdom you are living for. Your little kingdom, population 1 or God’s huge, amazing, big kingdom that includes the entire history of the world past, present and future?  A kingdom that loves God and loves their neighbor.

Easter is not about bunnies, baby chickens, candy and eggs.  It is about how God sent his son to rescue you from your little kingdom and how he will take you to His huge kingdom that leads to paradise.

Psalm 1 ends with a scary warning that we all must listen to.  The danger is to think I became a christian so I don’t have to worry about perishing any more but the warning is that every day you are moving in a direction, either the way of the righteous or the way of the ungodly.  Christ died, was buried and rose again to give you the grace you need every day to choose the way of the righteous.