Today’s reading is Psalm 36.
Imagine yourself at the fork of two paths where two guides encourage you in opposite directions. You know one of them leads where you ultimately want to go, but the other looks fun. It is more pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t look quite as difficult. “Besides,” the guide for that path tells you, “after you’ve had all your fun on my path, you can always hop over to the other path. Just look at how close together they are.” They do seem pretty close. That sounds like a pretty solid plan.
The problem is the guide is lying. That isn’t how it works. Once you start walking on Transgression’s path, you get farther and farther from God’s path. While it is true you always have the option to repent and make your way to God’s path, the farther down Sin’s path you go, the more settled, the more deceived, the more entrenched you become. It is not that repentance becomes less of an option, it simply becomes less likely.
David shows us the path in sin, reminding us again of the very first psalm. In Psalm 1, we see the general settling and entrenchment of the wicked. They start by walking according to the counsel of the wicked, progress to standing in the way of the sinner, and finally settle down to sit in the seat of the scoffer. In Psalm 36, Transgression begins with flattery. “No one will know. You won’t get caught. It’s not that big of a deal. Just this once.” But it is trouble and deceit that ends by having evil thinking and plotting at all times, even when lying in bed. The wicked, no doubt, always assumes eventually they’ll get back to God’s path. But they end up on an evil path that is increasingly difficult to abandon.
That voice telling you today’s sin doesn’t matter that much is lying. Don’t trust it. Trust God. He knows the way of the righteous. His steadfast love is precious. He delivers.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 36.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, please, Please, PLEASE listen to what I shared with your parents. As you grow up, our enemy, Satan will lie to you. Sin will deceive you. These enemies will convince you a little sin here, a little transgression there won’t be a big deal. They will promise you can have a little sinful fun today, and tomorrow or next week or next year or just sometime before you die, you’ll get right with God and everything will be okay. You’ll get the best of both worlds.
It just doesn’t work that way. Please, be aware of three really important principles.
#1: Planned repentance is not repentance. Do not misunderstand, no matter how far into sin you go, God wants your repentance. He is patient and doesn’t want you to die in your sins. However, repentance is not checking off a box. Some folks have the idea that they’ll enjoy sinful pleasure for a few years and then just get dunked under the water and start going to church when they are too old to have that fun anymore. Then they’ll be saved. That isn’t repentance. Real repentance is sorrow for sin. Real repentance is recognizing all this sinful fun you are having today actually isn’t worth it. If you ever really repent, you will not think you have had the best of both worlds. Rather, you will be sorry you wasted so much time in sin. And if that is not the sorrow you have, then you haven’t really repented, and you don’t have the salvation Jesus offers.
#2: As the old preachers used to say, “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.” That’s just the way it is. You never have control over your sin. It always has control over you. If you experiment with it, it will take over, and you will regret it. And for all your plans to let go of it some today, it will wriggle its claws into your heart and it won’t let go.
#3: You never know when your end is coming. Sin will assure you tomorrow is available for repentance so why not keep sinning today. But your last day is coming. It is coming sooner than you realize. It is coming sooner than Sin tells you it is. You may not have tomorrow. Few people wake up on the day of their death thinking that will be the day they die. Why not just repent today and get on God’s path now? After all, today is the only day you have, and, in fact, you may not even have the rest of today.
Listen, I know you will eventually sin. You probably already have. We all do. That is one of the reasons why Jesus died. When you do, don’t listen to the guidance of Satan and Sin, listen to Jesus. Turn back to Him. Give Him your allegiance. I promise, it will never get easier than today to do so.