Briefing: Since becoming a peace officer, I have seen several colleagues get arrested. During the first week of Police Academy, one of my classmates was escorted out of class by two detectives. We later found out she was arrested for forgery. During my career, I have known officers who were arrested for family violence, DWI/DUI, and one for cattle rustling.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 50.
On the Street: What makes a person betray others? Why does anyone turn to the dark side? I get the fact that some people are greedy and have such ambition that they will do anything to get ahead. What baffles me is these people must know the cost they will pay for their treason. God does not approve of this behavior either and we will see more about His opinion in this Psalm.
The Psalm starts out with the topic of sacrifices. The definition of sacrifice is, “the offering of anything to a deity as propitiation (to make atonement for or to appease) or homage.” I used to go to a church that said the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday morning as part of the service. The purpose behind saying and knowing the Lord’s Prayer is honorable and worthy. Because we recited it every Sunday at the same time it became part of the service, like finding a place to sit on Sunday mornings. The problem with reciting the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday was not with the church or the prayer, it was with me. The repetition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer started to lose sincerity. Sunday after Sunday we would recite it until the words just flowed off the tongue without even thinking about it. It was no longer an honest prayer but a ritual. I think this is what God is talking about when He rebukes Israel’s sacrifices. They had lost the meaning of why they were making the sacrifices and they meant nothing to them.
God does not need our sacrifices, but He does want our obedience and honesty in what we do. God is all about truth. He is talking about the heart condition, not the physical acts. He had nothing against the physical act of sacrifices but He was absolute in the attitude of the person sacrificing. Hosea 6:6 and repeated in Matthew 9:13 says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”.
There is a big implication for law enforcement here. How often do you help someone out of obligation to the job and not because you truly wanted to make a difference? As we persist and endure in this line of work it gets harder to perform our duties with honest and sincere hearts. We get so calloused and defensive that our once pure intentions become all too familiar rituals. I understand it is part of the job. Our defenses get heightened to protect us from getting hurt but they also harm us by getting God’s rebuke. We are no different than the Israelites in this passage when we grow cold and disinterested in our job.
Verses 16-21 address the hypocrites. ”But to the wicked, God says, “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.” He is calling out those who pretend or claim to be a follower of God. We have peace officers who do the same. Do you know someone who acts nice and kind when they are with their family and friends then acts like the devil when on duty? Or worse, officers who break the very laws they have sworn to uphold? They swear to protect and serve the jurisdictions they serve in, yet they do not set a righteous example of justice. We have to be merciful and compassionate towards our community. It is possible to do your job, seek justice, serve, and protect all at the same time.
This is your opportunity to repent and get back to being true to what God has called you to be. God does not want hard, uncaring, calloused peace officers. He does not want arrogant people who cannot follow the rules or set an example of righteousness in their communities. “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue”. If you have found yourself backsliding, turning away from God and not living a life of righteousness, take this warning and get right with God. It is never too late to repent and get back on track.
Investigational Resources: Revelation 2:1-7.
Officer Safety Principle: God has called you to law enforcement for a reason. He has a plan for you and a job for you. It’s time to recommit and get back to it.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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