I am far from perfect, but I believe in learning from others, and sharing what I learn.
It has been commonly understood that God will bless those who come to Him and strive to please Him (do His will), and bring judgment on those who wickedly reject Him and His will. This is better understood in the New Testament teachings that the wicked prosper in this world as servants of the ‘ruler of this world’ who is HaSatan (the adversary) of God. Yet God will discipline His children as they stray from His will to bring them into His will (or as the New Testament teaches in 1st Corinthians 5, He will allow a straying one who refuses to repent to have his body destroyed by Satan so that his soul may be saved. But even in the Old Testament (without the benefit of New Testament teaching) the people of God understood that there would be a final judgment when all would be rewarded in accordance with their submission to God’s will. In the following passage, the psalmist ponders this apparent enigma of the success of wicked people.
Psalm 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth (Elohim stationeth) in the congregation (witness) of the mighty El; he judgeth among the gods (elohim). 2 How long will shall ye judge unjustly (wickedly), and accept (lift) the persons (faces) of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend Judge the poor and fatherless orphan: do justice to justify the afflicted humble and needy impoverished. 4 Deliver Slip away the poor and needy: rid rescue them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They know not, neither will shall they understand discern; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course totter.
6 I have said, Ye are gods (elohim); and all of you are children sons of the most High (Elyon). 7 But ye shall surely die like men (humanity), and fall like one of the princes (governors).
8 Arise, O God (Elohim), judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations (goyim). (ERRB)
Verse 6 above is often misinterpreted. The term ‘eloah’ is singular and often translated as ‘god’. The term ‘elohiym’ is plural and usually translated as ‘gods’ or ‘God’ (with an uppercase ‘G’ for our Creator). Actually the term means ‘mighty one(s)’. It is sometimes translated as ‘mighty one(s)’, ‘judge(s)’, or ‘ruler(s)’ as mighty ones among the people. All of God’s children are called to be ‘mighty ones’ among the people of this world, but this does not mean, suggest, or imply that we are to be or become ‘Yahwehs’ or gods as creators or to be worshipped. There is only one to worship and that is the Great I AM, Yahweh, known by us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the El of Elohiym- the Mighty of the Mighties.
Psalm 86:4 Rejoice (Cheer) the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord Adonay, do I lift up my soul. 5 For thou, Lord O Adonay, art good, and ready to forgive (forgiving); and plenteous (abundant) in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (ERRB)
It is always good to meditate upon the forgivenesses and mercies of God who has such loving-kindness for His children as unworthy as we are.
Psalm 94:11 The LORD (Yah Veh) knoweth the thoughts fabrications of man (humanity), that they are vanity. 12 Blessed (Blithe) is the man - the mighty whom thou chastenest (disciplinest), O LORD (Yah), and teachest him out of thy law (torah); 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity (evil), until the pit of ruin be digged for the wicked. 14 For the LORD (Yah Veh) will shall not cast off (abandon) his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. (ERRB)
Happy is the one who is disciplined by the Lord. When it was taught in Hebrews that the Lord chastens His children, weren’t the New Testament writers already aware that this was even taught in the Old Testament? Of course they already knew it, because they were well versed in the Old Testament and now had an enlightenment through the life of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But discipline is not necessarily an enjoyable process, and becomes harder the farther we stray from our Creator’s will. Yet as it is consistently taught, He will not forsake His inheritance, and we are heirs through Christ. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Oh, but some teach that we may leave Him, and thereby lose our salvation (our inheritance). The Scriptures teach that we are as sheep in His pasture. He knows that sheep are prone to stray. The Great Good Shepherd is faithful and just to seek out His straying sheep and return them to His pasture. This is the purpose of the chastening and scourging of the flock. Even though we are weak in our faithfulness, He remains faithful. This concept is taught in the Old Testament and made more clear in the New Testament. Romans 7 teaches that we have the law of Christ in our minds, but in this fleshly body, we are still prone to fall to the law of the flesh. We are to strive to overcome the flesh, but it is still there pulling, and we are still prone to falling. This is why in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 a man who had strayed so far that he was living with his father’s wife as his own, Paul does not suggest that such a one would lose his salvation. The Scriptures do not say that Paul could guarantee for a fact that the man had truly accepted Christ in his heart. But Paul said that (if indeed he had found salvation through Christ) God could ‘turn his body over to Satan so that his (fleshly) body could be chastened, scourged, even so far as delivered up to destruction, so that his body could be destroyed that his soul may be saved. (“May be” saved- that would, of course, depend on if he had truly been saved to begin with.)
The Scriptures teach that when a person has found that saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit would seal that person until the day of Christ. The Lord knows the end of a person from his beginning. Why would the Holy Spirit set such a seal upon a person if He knew that the person could possibly lose that saving faith? The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit has begun His work in a person who comes to that saving faith, and that the Holy Spirit would not begin a work He could not complete. Why would He begin a work in a person if He already knew that person would lose his place in God’s Kingdom? If a person could lose his salvation, wouldn’t that be teaching that the Holy Spirit had begun a work that He couldn’t finish? But the Holy Spirit doesn’t begin a work in anyone that He knows He will not finish. Learn the meaning of “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able …” It is not that we are able, but that He is able to complete His work through us.