“The Lord keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.”
“God is brought under an obligation to no one for any kind of obedience; for “after we have done all, we are still unprofitable servants.” But God’s right that rational creatures should be subject to him, either by obedience or a vicarious punishment, is indispensable.1”
Perhaps no phrase rings so disdainful in the heart of prideful man than this. In a world where the temper tantrum is the more common device of every level of society than not, when their presumed right is violated or overridden; it is not surprising that God’s right is either mocked or treated with contempt. The reality is that society has become so narcissistic it is entirely oblivious to the proposition that God has a right that subjugates all other rights.
I would venture to say that the Psalmist would be ostracized by the reasonable majority of most of American society today for the bold statement he has made about the character and conduct of the sovereign God of the Bible. But such cannot be pressed too severely because the indictment of humanity is that he is at enmity with God from his beginning. What is more terrifying is that the assembly of the outward professing church of our day would find the Psalmist’s statement as equally appalling as the community of the ungodly.
The gravity of the Psalmist’s statement is that it is a fundamental and pervasive principle to the whole of Divine Scripture. That God favors those whom He will and condemns whom He will is a matter of the majestic supremacy of a sovereign God and is consistent with the character of the absolute righteousness of the Holy God. To make God out to be a mere subject to the manipulations and merits of mankind’s efforts is to make Him to be a puppet of man. This is the argument of atheism at the core that God is nothing more than the manifestation of an irrational human imagination. And indeed, if we construct a god with less than absolute right, we have simply constructed a minion that is equivalent to the heathen gods of the world.
The fundamental distinctive of the God of the Bible is that He reserves the right of supremacy over all the affairs and outcomes of the whole world and its inhabitants. Therefore, if one would love God, it must be on these terms. In fact, the Psalmist, David, had opened the book of Psalms with this very same spiritual reality when he said; “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”(Ps.1:1-2) The blessed man is privileged to the Divine right of God to favor him with grace and the result of God’s right to favor him is that this man loves and embraces God’s right over him.
The great Puritan divine, John Owen, does not mince words in his dealing with the topic of God’s right, when he says that it is “indispensable.” The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines the word, ‘indispensable’ as; “not subject to being set aside or neglected, or absolutely necessary, essential.” We cannot begin to speculate that we might have found favor with God if our humanism retains the right to its own right above that of God in matters of faith. “The Lord keeps all who love Him…”is a statement of ‘cause’ not ‘effect.’ Those who love Him are the evidence of God’s right to exercise His favor upon an individual who otherwise by his nature despises God and His supremacy over his life. The Psalmist would gather all humanity under one heading before Him in Psalm 14:2,3; “The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” Thus apart from God exercising His right to act righteously, all mankind would be categorized among the wicked and subject to destruction. God’s right is indeed “indispensable.”
The Rev. Ray Druckenmiller is the Pastor at Manning Community Church.