Date: Friday, January 4
Scripture: Psalm 37 (Scholars point out this is an “acrostic” Psalm, meaning each section of the Psalm begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.)
Verse: Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked. (Psalm 37:16)
Growing up I remember chanting from time to time, “Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.” Usually, of course, we were shouting this when we felt someone had cheated and was getting away with it. While that was some comfort on the grade school playground, there are times when I wonder about the truth of my childhood proverb.
There are times when it certainly appears that the cheaters are winning. We see those who succeed in business despite the way they treat their employees. We know of others who do not treat their spouse well, while we long to be married. We know of good parents whose children have struggled, and absentee parents whose children are thriving. We watch a selfish coworker get promoted while we have been in the same position for years though we are always looking out for the good of the company. In times like these, it is tempting to put our values aside and play dirty like everyone else.
Psalm 37 asks us not to allow the appearance of winning fool us, the faithful. “Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked,” we are told. What I hear throughout this Psalm is the “winning” we perceive, is not really winning at all. Holding on to our values, and most importantly our relationship with God, is truly winning.
Prayer: Why, O God, do those who do not follow the rules sometimes get ahead? Remind me that you always reward the honest, the good, and the right by giving them something far more valuable – a relationship with you.
Action: Remind others who might be tempted not to compromise their values to “get ahead.” Some things are more important.
Respond: Share a time you have been discouraged when “playing by the rules” has brought about the desired result by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. Feel free to do so anonymously. (If you are receiving this via email, go to the website for this devotion to leave a comment, or shoot me an email and I will post a list of what I receive.)