Psalm 26:9

Gather not my soul with sinners.

We enjoy the game of golf because it was created to be a sport among gentlemen. It is a game of integrity without the need of referees or umpires. It is a game without violence or fear of serious injury. Plus, there isn’t a lot of physical exertion. So little sweat is expended in fact that you can go straight from the 18th hole to an evening worship service. Additionally, the proper dress of the golfer was intended to be respectful. Men are expected to wear pants and collared shirts.

We live our life as a Christian among the same kind of people with which we wish to spend eternity. The Psalmist had a great fear not to be “gathered” in the same bushel as the sinner. He desired not to be among a people who thrive upon cursing, vain boasting, lying, and cheating.

The Bible teaches that “like are to be gathered with like”. As reference, Matthew 13:30 taught that we all live together in this world but ” in the time of harvest [He] will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” At the time of judgment, “like kinds” will be gathered together. A great separation is promised. The saved will be eternally gathered with other Saints while the lost will be grouped together in forever torment.

With whom do we desire to mingle? Are we offended by those who insist upon telling crude jokes? Do we admire and desire the company of the businessman who increases his riches by unscrupulous tactics? Our answer to these questions indicate whether we truly have a desire that our soul not be gathered with sinners. The good man will become better following his promotion and the sinner will be even worse upon judgment.

The faithful Christian looks forward to a gathering among people with Godly desires. David did not want to spend eternity with the wicked. He didn’t desire an association with them while on Earth. Sinners don’t even want to be gathered with other sinners. Consider the prayer of Balaam who petitioned, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” Numbers 23:10. Balaam lived a life which is relatable to our society. He had the desire to die the death of a believer, but wanted to live his life with sinners. Put in other words, he wanted to live like Hell, but go to Heaven. The New Testament reveals how Balaam was truly remembered. 2 Peter 2:15 described a fallen people as those “which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” It is indeed a paradox for those who live a riotous and sinful life to desire an eternity with a righteous people.

There is a difference in the desire of Balaam and the prayer of David. Neither wanted to be gathered or associated in an eternity with ungodly. Balaam’s motive was to avoid the misery of Hell while David yearned to spend eternity with God and the Saints in glory. The believer has greater desires in serving our Savior. Spurgeon preached, “if sin entailed happiness, if rebellion against God could give bliss, even then the Christian would scorn the happiness, and avoid the bliss which sin affords!” Indeed, our prayer should be “Lord, father not my soul with sinners!”

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