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Number one
Sarah Habben
by Sarah Habben
June 30, 2022

A certain fifth-grade class has had a dodgy reputation since kindergarten. They tattle and talk back and can’t form a line without arguing about who’s first. But in private, any one of them will calmly discuss how disrespectful and disruptive their classmates are. They can’t fathom that they’re part of the problem.

King David says the wicked are like those fifth graders: “There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin” (Psalm 36:1,2). The “wicked” have no respect for God’s majesty. No fear of his judgment. They elbow through life, quick to detect others’ sins and blind to their own. 

But let me hear the warning too. God’s child though I am, my sinful nature still makes noise. It blinds me to my awfulness by yammering about my awesomeness. It convinces me that I’ve earned special attention from God just for being less trouble than the guy in the next cubicle.

Yet what do I deserve from God? Pretty much what a snail deserves from a gardener. The boot. Salt.

Not love.

How I marvel, then, with David: “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens” (Psalm 36:5). God stooped down in the person of his Son, not to crush me but to lift me from my sin. His priceless, unfailing love changes me. I don’t have to look out for “number one.” I can, in fact, be last in line . . . because the Holy One is looking out for me!

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