“By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.”
Psalm 17:14 (NIV)
Probably most if not all of us have friends of whom we might say, “Their reward is in this life.” We know and love these people who do not live for another world, and who believe that this life is all there is to our existence. They will confess that when you die, you no longer exist. We do not accept their view of life and death, but we still love them and wish to be in their company.
So why does the Psalmist ask God to save him from such people? What is going on that should make God’s people cautious of those who see us as no more than “trousered apes”?
Let me explain. A man named Demas had been a companion of the apostle Paul. However, Demas abandoned the apostle because the charm of the world seemed so much greater than the relative poverty of the Christian ministry. Paul was appalled by such a desertion.
Everywhere in Scripture we read of the glory of the life to come. The Bible repeatedly tells us that this life is short, its treasures are deceitful, and what really lasts is eternal. Money can deceive you, as it suggests that if you have a lot of it you will be happy.
Yet when we consider the rich and famous, we are really considering some of the world’s most miserable people. They keep on marrying and divorcing in a vain effort to find real peace and joy. One marriage partner is exchanged for the next, but happiness runs through their fingers like water.
They buy more homes around the world, bigger yachts, have more parties, and yet they are not content. Too much time with people whose god is made of gold can distort our thinking. We can become foggy about what really counts in life. This is why it is so vitally important to be in the company of people whose treasure is in heaven.
We need to mingle with those who love Jesus and seek to honor Him in all they do. People that are honored by God—and the ones we should seek to be with—are described as follows: Malachi 3:12,16 (NIV) “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty…Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.”
Make sure your best times are in the presence of God’s people, and you will find there the comfort and inspiration to continue on in the Christian life. In the company of Christians you will discover that your faith will grow, your joy made complete, and your hope brighter every day. The Psalmist said that he was glad when believers called on him to join them in the house of the Lord. May the same be said by you this Lord’s Day.