Do not stand in the way of sinners
Psalm 1:1 tells another way for us how not to recognize the way of sinners.
Blessed is he who does not… stand in the way of sinners.
– Psalm 1:1
So, what does it mean to stand in the way of sinners? Why do we wait for someone, standing in their path? Simply because we want to talk with them. Because they may be our friends, they may be someone with who we are comfortable with, or they may be our relatives… so we are just waiting for them to show up. But if we ever wait for them, we will end up walking in their way along with them. We still may not sin against the LORD, but we will have troubles because of our relationship with sinners.
Does that mean we need to avoid them totally? No. Because, if everyone had avoided sinners completely, if Jesus Christ, the Holy One, has avoided all the sinners, then I would be still a sinner. The Bible clearly says that Jesus did sit with the sinners. Sinners waited for Jesus on His way, but Jesus never waited on the way of a sinner.
If we never forget that we were sinners, if we remember that we are saved only because of our Lord’s grace, then we will be sympathetic towards sinners. But what Psalmist says in the first verse of Psalm 1 is don’t go to the places where they commit their sins. Especially don’t wait in their ways to bond with them. They are on their way to commit sins, and if you bond with them on that way, you will end up in trouble.
In the Bible, we read the story of a king of Judah, Jehoshaphat. He was a very good king and there is an incident recorded in the Bible that almost every Bible reading Christian may know. It is recorded in the 20th chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles. Three different kings come against Jehoshaphat and he had no power to fight against them. In his desperation, he sought the LORD and uttered one of the most used verses from the Bible in times of trouble.
And the LORD answered him through a prophet and again, one of the most encouraging verses from the Bible is recorded there.
And as per the Word of the LORD, the very next day, Jehoshaphat received deliverance from his enemies without fighting the battle. This really was a great thing in the life of Jehoshaphat. But, whenever I read the Bible, I read this chapter with a tinge of sadness in my heart. The reason?
Just three chapters before, the Bible tells us of a blessing that the LORD had bestowed upon Jehoshaphat. You know what that blessing was? It is one of the blessings I seek every single day from our LORD.
The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not make war with Jehoshaphat. – 2 Chronicles 17:10 (NIV)
Yes, the enemies were scared of Jehoshaphat. They were afraid of him and were not ready to fight against him. Imagine that you have such a great blessing. So, what happened then? How did Jehoshaphat go from such a place where his enemies were scared of him (2 Chronicles, chapter 17) to a place where he had to weep before the LORD for deliverance (2 Chronicles, chapter 20)? How did he manage to do that? He did only one thing, just one thing. He stood in the way of the sinners.
Chapter 17 of 2 Chronicles talks about the blessings Jehoshaphat had received. And the very first verse of chapter 18 tells where he failed.
He allied himself with Ahab by marriage. – 2 Chronicles 18:1 (NIV)
Ahab was a sinner and everyone knew it. Yet, Jehoshaphat went ahead and married his son to Ahab’s daughter, whose mother was Jezebel. Not only he got his son married to the daughter of one of the worst women, probably the worst, in the Bible, then Jehoshaphat followed that mistake by doing another mistake. He went and stood in the way of the sinner.
And he went down after some years to Ahab in Samaria. – 2 Chronicles 18:2 (CAB)
Samaria was the place of Ahab, from where he had committed atrocious sins against the LORD our God. Though Jehoshaphat was a good king, he went and stood next to the way of his sinner, because Ahab was his relative now. Don’t ever stand in the way of a sinner. You may be visiting just as a courtesy. But he will pull you down along with you. And Ahab did pull Jehoshaphat down with him.
Ahab was getting ready for a battle and he asked Jehoshaphat to fight along with him. Remember that till that day, no enemy had dared to fight against Jehoshaphat and he did not have a chance to go to a battle. But when he stood in the way of a sinner, his invitation comes. And Jehoshaphat, when he stood in the way of a sinner, fell into the temptation and accepted the invitation. He joined Ahab in his battle and for the first time in his life, Jehoshaphat had to cry out for his life and the LORD saves him. Yet, the battle was lost. In Chapter 19, a prophet of the LORD meets Jehoshaphat and condemns him for this.
King Jehoshaphat, do you help a sinner, or act friendly towards one hated of the LORD? – 2 Chronicles 19:2 (CAB)
And then the things mentioned in chapter 20 happen. From then, the battles came raging against him. Though every time the LORD delivered him, he lost the blessing that the LORD had given him originally in 2 Chronicles 17:10.
Dear friend, if you know someone is a sinner, pray for them. Intercede for their soul. But do not align with them. Do not stand on their way. Don’t bond with them when they are on their way to fight their battle. Because when we stand on their ways, we will end up fighting their battles and finally, our own life will become a battle zone. The LORD has promised to give you peace. Let us not lose that peace; let us not stand in the way of sinners. May our LORD be with us all. Amen.
|James 1:21“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
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Posted on July 14, 2013, in Christian Life, Daily Manna, Strong Tower and tagged 2 Chronicles 20, 2 Chronicles 20:12, 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, Ahab, but our eyes are fixed on you, do not be afraid or discouraged, for the battle is not yours, Jehoshaphat, John 10:5, not standing in the way of sinners, Psalm 1:1, the LORD will be with you, voice of strangers, we do not know what to do. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.