Proverbs 29:6 An evil man is snared by his own sin,
but a righteous one can sing and be glad.
The longer I live, the more aware I am of the truth of this verse. When you live in honest, sincere obedience to God, everything becomes much simpler. You don’t have to figure how to get out of holes you’ve dug for yourself, just as this verse says. God’s rules are never to oppress us, they are to set us free from our own folly. God desires good for us His children, but the devil, as Jesus so famously said, is only out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) The devil tries to entice us with all sorts of things, so we need to fill our hearts and minds with the Word of God in order to see through all the devil’s lies. (Psalm 119:11) After all, the only logical counter to a lie is the truth! There are so many contrasts between God and the devil: truth vs. lies, light vs. darkness, life vs. death, and on and on. Focusing on God and sticking with Him in loving obedience is the only logical course, but we can be terribly illogical at times! When we find ourselves in a hole, the first thing to do is look up. That generally requires repentance for whatever we did that got us into the hole in the first place, and repentance is certainly required for actually getting out of the hole. However, we won’t actually repent so long as our focus is on ourselves; that’s why we have to look up. In other words, repenting and looking to God for salvation are part of the same things, and can’t be separated. When we realize that God’s way is the only way to go, that settles all sorts of questions and life not only becomes much simpler, it also becomes much more joyful. Jesus warned us that we would have problems in this world, but He also assured us that He’s already beaten every one of those problems, so if we stick with Him, we can rejoice. (John 16:33)
The NIV here says “sing,” but the Japanese says, “raise the voice of joy.” God doesn’t want us singing the blues! I grew up in a very musical family, and singing and joy are certainly intertwined in my heart and life. I’ve already planned some of the songs I want sung at my funeral! It will be a joyous occasion indeed for me, and I want all present to realize that, and know that it is possible for them as well. The path I have walked has many holes in it that I dug for myself, but God has gotten me out of every one. As a pastor, I desire to help as many people as possible avoid such holes, to join me in songs of joy both here and before God’s throne. Some have done themselves grave harm already, but God can redeem anyone and turn anything around to use it for blessing, if we will allow Him to do so. (Romans 8:28)
Father, thank You for this reminder. You know the various people I encounter, and You know what each one needs. I pray that I wouldn’t try to figure out on my own what to do, but be fully sensitive and obedient to You so that Your plans, and Yours alone, may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!