This Sunday evening, as God spares me, I hope to preach on the subject, "What does it mean to walk with God?" Meditating this morning in preparation for this, my mind was drawn afresh to Psalm 18.
Interesting, in the Hebrew original, the word "Departed" is not there. The text simply reads: "I have not wickedly away from God." Although this makes for choppy and rather poor English grammar, it does offer a rigorous and practical theological insight.
What does it mean to act wickedly? In our culture today, we often associate the term "wicked" with child molesters, porn addicts, crazed ISIS-beheaders, etc., and we would be right to do so. But this is the terminus ad quem (the ultimate, full grown expression) of wickedness. In our text, however, David considers wickedness in seed form. What does it mean to act wickedly? Where does it all begin? It begins quite simply when a person walks away from God. Often this happens when we choose to abandon the paths of His righteousness, but often it can happen quietly, neglectfully, as a soul slowly drifts away from the pursuit of God's fatherly nearness in Christ. From this perspective, who are the wicked? Most basically and fundamentally, they are those who are happy to keep their distance from God. There, in the far place, is the sphere in which they live their life, find purpose, seek contentment, raise their family, and enjoy pleasure. Such a life choice brings a slow creeping death over the soul, and but for the preventing grace of God, it will take us much further than we ever intend to go. If I can quote that well known American Philosopher, Clint Eastwood, "Dying's a poor way to make a living, boy!" Listen to the graveyards: death is no place to find life.
I suppose, in the final analysis, perhaps the first step in walking with God is to make very sure we are not walking away from Him. How does this challenge you, this morning? Are you hungry for God's nearness, or content with His distance?
Wherever this text finds you, Jesus greets you in it. He is the One who walked with God par excellence. He lived this life and walked with God way for us. On the cross He went further, walking down to the pit of hell, so that we could walk with Him to the heights of heaven. He says to you, "Come walk with me a while, let Me lead you in a better direction!" "Follow me and you will find rest for your soul!