Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
In Reformed theology, the “P” in the acrostic T.U.L.I.P., otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism, stands for “Perseverance of the saints”. This can be misleading as some may believe that this perseverance is accomplished by our own strength. You don’t have to read the works of the Reformers for too long before you see that this was not what they meant by that phrase at all. Some have altered the phrase slightly to the “Preservation of the saints” or simply use the term “Eternal Security”. The main idea behind this phrase is that, for the true believer, our eternal soul is safe in the hands of our God. We believe that “He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it to the end” (Philippians 1:6) meaning, as R.C. Sproul puts it, “If you have it—that is, if you have genuine faith and are in a state of saving grace—you will never lose it. If you lose it, you never had it.”
David recognizes that it is God alone who is able to persevere him and he asks Him to perfect the good work that He began in him. What other hope do we have? We have nothing good apart from God. David gives a pastorly example here by public lamenting his own sin, but encouraging his fellow believers. He finds no good thing in himself except God, but calls his fellow believers “saints” and tells them how much joy he has because of them. May we always be quick to confess our sins and encourage one another.
It doesn’t always seem like the sorrows of the lost are multiplying. Sometimes it seems like they are having all the fun in the world. This world is filled with distractions that can hold are attention…at least for a while. But the more we dive head first into sin, the more our heart gets hardened. What are we to think when it seems like a person that doesn’t follow God seems happier than we are? What if they are healthy and we are not? Wealthy? Popular? We must remember that this is all temporary when compared to eternity. Every breath of the unbeliever is an astounding measurable of grace from our God. It’s the same grace He extended to you before you had eyes to see. As for our suffering, it’s light and momentary:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
But what about the happiness of the unbeliever? It’s light and momentary. Sadly, this may be the closest to heaven they ever get. Their enjoyment of the common grace of God ends when they take their last breath. All the health, wealth, and happiness doesn’t go with the unbeliever.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:26
What does David do to protect himself from such an end? He refuses to take part in anything that resembles ungodliness. He won’t even talk about them. Avoid evil at all cost. Even if it means not being popular.
Eternity is a long time.
This life is brief.
Invest it wisely.
“Seek good, and not evil, that you may live” Amos 5:14