Marks Of Those Who Love The Lord
(Scanned from Christianity Magazine, Feb. 1989, p.#57)
"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation." Psalms 91:14-16
Here the psalmist mentions some of the distinguishing characteristics of those who truly love God, and tells us what God will do for them. Notice them with me:
They have set their love upon the Lord (verse 14). The Christian's heart has been turned away from the world in the direction of God. Paul described the Thessalonians as those who had "turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Thus, God's child has turned to Him, and away from sin (see also Romans 6:17-18; Colossians 3:1-2). It is only when we have this understanding and, thus, this kind of commitment that we can be acceptable. Many people have a passing interest in Christ (Luke 8:11-14; Mark 7:6), but this is not enough. Those who love the Lord have set their love on Him (John 14:15; Matthew 22:37-39).
They know His name (verse 14). All of us know people whom we are very close to; our dear friends are people we have spent considerable time with. They are ones we have tested and tried; their friendship has been proven. To "know" God is to trust Him, to believe Him. The psalmist says elsewhere, "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee," (9:10). Abraham knew God - he trusted Him (Romans 4:3; 17-23). On the other hand, the wicked do not "know" God, and they are cursed because of it: "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider" (Isaiah 1:24).
They pray effectively (verse 15). "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him." Those who love the Lord have the assurance that their prayers will be answered; they may confidently express their dependence on God. Some men, of course, God will not hear. "Jehovah is far from the wicked; but he heareth the prayer of the righteous" . . . "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination" (Proverbs 15:29; 28:9; see also 1:24-31 and Job 27:8-9). However, God's ears are open and receptive to His faithful followers (1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 18:3,6).
The Lord is with them in trouble (verse 15). Notice, please, that they are not immune to trouble. We must see that there is actually some benefit to us when trouble arises. "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold trials; knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4). Trials serve to make our faith stronger, so we will have testing times in this life. However, we have the assurance that God is with us in all our troubles. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). "So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: what shall man do unto me?" (Hebrews 13:6; see also Romans 8:31-39 and Philippians 4:13).
They will be saved (verse 16). When God "shows us His salvation," it will be worth it all. Paul said, "For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:6-8; see also 1 Peter 1:3-9; Luke 18: 29-30) .
What a wonderful description the psalmist gives us here of those who love the Lord. If you will "set your love" on the Lord and "know" Him, all these things - and more - will be yours.
By Brent Lewis
From Expository Files 4.12; December 1997