Do You Have Zeal for the Lord?

DO YOU HAVE ZEAL FOR THE LORD?

by Wayne S. Walker

     "Because zeal for You house has eaten me up.  And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me" (Psalm 69:9).  The heading identifies Psalm 69 as "A Psalm of David."  The summary given by the editors of the New King James Version is "An Urgent Plea for Help in Time of Trouble."   I do not know the specific time in David’s life to which the Psalm refers, but it was in circumstances which caused him to cry out, "Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire…" (vs. 1-2a).  Evidently, he was suffering as the result of actions by his enemies.  "Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me…" (v. 4a).  Although David recognized that sometimes his hardships were the result of his own foolishness and sin, in this situation his prayer is, "Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me" (vs. 5-6).

     No, on this occasion, David believes that even his brothers have become strangers "because zeal for Your house has eaten me up."  It is true that the general tenor of David’s life included a zeal for God’s house, which was always demonstrated in an obedient desire to do the will of the Lord.  The Jews understood this Psalm to be Messianic in nature, so that in the events which took place in David’s life they could see a foreshadowing of what would be true of His most illustrious descendant who was to come.  Therefore, when Jesus Christ cleansed the temple the first time during the early days of His earthly ministry, the scriptures record, "Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up’" (John 2:17).  Just as David was characterized by a zeal for the Lord in His day, so the Messiah might be identified by a similar zeal for God’s house.

     No Christian is the Messiah, but all Christians are to be followers of the Messiah.  He left us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).  Are you zealous for God’s worship?  One of the reasons why God commands the church to assemble is for worship by which we encourage each other, so those who claim to be children of God should be "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).  Are you zealous for God’s work?  The Lord wants His message of salvation taught to every creature under heaven, so as members of the body of Christ all of us should be diligently looking for opportunities to "teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).  Would the people that come in contact with us day to day and those who know us best conclude from our actions that zeal for God’s house has eaten us up?

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