God gave us minds to be able to discern what is good and pure, and what is evil and crooked. He also gave us free wills and he allows us the freedom to choose either.
Psalm 18 is a long, heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving for a military victory. It has two parts to it and each is introduced by a short hymn. Our passage for today comes from the introductory hymn for the second part. It is an expression of a simple truth. If you are pure, God will treat you purely. If you are “crooked,” God is astute and will see your deceits and treat you accordingly.
This translation of the verse uses the word “astute” to describe God’s awareness of our choices. It implies keen perceptiveness, an acute capacity for mental discernment. It also implies shrewdness. God has given us these capacities. But God’s wisdom and sagacity are far greater than ours. In his omniscience, God sees our purity, even if others do not. He also sees our cleverness, our shrewdness, our deceitfulness, even when others are fooled by it.
The crooked may be able to “pull the wool over” our eyes at times, but they can never fool God. It is foolish to think otherwise. There is much suffering caused in the world by the clever, the crooked, the deceitful. None of us are strangers to the harm they do. But are there not also times when we have, for one rationale or another, taken the crooked path? Have we, at times, been less than pure of heart in some of our thoughts, words, or deeds? God sees it all.
The choice is always ours. “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) God gave us minds to be able to discern what is good and pure, and what is evil and crooked. He also gave us free wills and he allows us the freedom to choose either. When we abandon the Lord and take to crooked ways, he allows this. But without the Lord, we are lost, our crooked ways lead us to nowhere. Because we know and love God we also know that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) Let us, then, contemplate purity of heart and practice purity of action more and more in our lives. For in this God will show himself to be pure with us and he will increase our purity through his grace.
Lord, we pray that you give us the grace to grow in purity of heart and in purity of will, so that we might serve you more purely in all that we do. Give us the wisdom, the strength and the courage to turn away from all that is crooked and deceitful. We know that we cannot live without your love. Make of us pure instruments of your will in our daily lives. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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