The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
… [there is a lot of baggage with this ellipse, but it isn’t my point]
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He [the righteous man] is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
David, king of Israel, Psalm 37:18-19, 23-31
It occurs to me that I forget the tense of the verb “shall” far too often. It is the future tense of either a personal intention or command. “I shall not do this,” or “I shall do this.” Similarly, “You shall not do this,” or “You shall do this.” When in the first person–at least from my understanding–it appears to connote a promise to do something. This promise does not necessarily entail the ability to keep that promise, however.
When a human being says “I shall do this,” they are making a false statement. Are you predicting your own future? How do you know what you “shall” do? Do you prefer to know exactly what is going to happen next, or would you rather be surprised? I like a mixture of the two, personally. Lately, though, I have enjoyed the concept of being surprised. Some things are nice to be certain about, and others are better to leave to God. I want to be surprised by good things–by God things would be even better–and not by bad things. That is why I was so afraid to be surprised before, at all. I was expecting bad things instead of good.
David solves our problem. David is an incredibly wise person. I am amazed by his intelligence, compassion, understanding, and ability to express the vast range of human emotion and intellectual reasoning. His Psalms are streams in the desert of my soul. His words are like a light unto my path. Anything that man said during his lifetime must have been like listening to scripture straight from the mouth of God. I look forward to meeting him in the next life.
Anyway, David solves our problem, and shows us the “Why?” answer behind Jesus’ “How?” question(s):
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles [non-believers] seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness [spirit and truth], and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Yeshu’a of Nazareth, Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
David’s answer is God. More specifically, David’s answer is “delighting in [the] way” of God. David makes a proposition at the beginning of the passage I quoted.
Premise 1 – If, “The Lord knows the days of the blameless.” [A]
The Lord knows everything, actually. David knows this, but he is not concerned with the broad concept of knowledge right now. David is speaking to us about how to be happy and prosperous. I would pay attention to his advice, rather than pick apart the premises of his argument before understanding his logic.
Premise 2 – “and their heritage will remain forever.” [B]
David reasons that “If God knows everything, then God knows that good people deserve good things (at least in the afterlife if not in this one).” David is presupposing the justice of God, essentially. Blameless people will live forever. That is another way we could rephrase proposition B.
Conclusion – Therefore, “[the blameless] are not put to shame in evil times,” and “in the days of famine they have abundance.” [C]
Given A and B, the conclusion C logically follows. If you accept that God is all-knowing, you accept that God is all-powerful. All-anything means God would have to be perfect. Nothing can be perfect in one respect without being “perfect” in all respects. Levels of perfection or degrees of perfection is a logical impossibility. Only God is perfect. Ever.
A + B = C
God (the “What?”, the “Way,” the “spirit”) + knowledge of God (the “How?”, the “Truth”) = Eternal Life (the logical consequence of a friendship with a Perfect Being).
David is a very wise man.