From the Pastor's desk - May 2020

 

The Government has enforced social isolation, that individuals do not come into contact with one another, so that the spread of the Coronavirus is curtailed. In  Psalm 119 the Psalmist suggest another isolation, not social but spiritual, and very much for the same reason, in Verse 115 he writes “depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God.” The Psalmist says that he will isolate himself from evil doers,

As Calvin writes…”As [the Psalmist] saw how great a hindrance the ungodly are to us, he banishes them to a distance from him; or rather, he testifies that he will beware of entangling himself in their society. Nor has he said this so much for his own sake as to teach us by his example, that if we would hold on in the way of the Lord without stumbling, we must endeavour, above all things, to keep at the greatest possible distance from worldly and wicked men, not in regard to distance of place, but in respect of lifestyle and conversation. above all things, to keep at the greatest possible distance from worldly and wicked men.” 1

This is exactly what the Psalmist urges us to do “depart from me you evil doers". Not to literally cut ourselves off from speaking or meeting them, not going into a convent or monastery, but rather, not entering into a close association whereby we are influenced by the lifestyle, example or conversation.

This time of social isolation could be good for us if we used it to observe this example. To be careful what we see and hear in the media, what we read, lest the seed of fear is sown in our hearts, to say in spirit if not audibly, “depart from me you evil doers.”

Isn’t this the root of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” There is no communion, no harmony between a Christian and one who is still in their sin, their outlook and worldview is dictated to by fallen flesh.

The newscaster, the politician who is still in their sin, will see the answer to all this by science and political means, whilst the Christian looks up to the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, the one who sustains us by the Word of His power.

Although the storm is raging we can say truthfully "all is well with my soul."

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my sou
l.2

 

Adapted from a sermon preached for SCEC at the start of the Pandemic.
1 Calvin's Commentaries www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol11/htm/xxviii.xv.htm;
2
CCL 37168  Horatio Gates Spafford (1873

Scripture taken from, unless otherwise stated
NKJV - NEW KING JAMES VERSION®
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