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He Rewarded Me

Psalm 18:20 (ESV) – The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.

“We shouldn’t do things for rewards” many Christians like to say. People often dismiss being rewarded as a motivation for serving God or obeying Him. “We should do it because we love him” they will instruct. I do not completely disagree that we should obey because we love God. I believe we should serve Him and follow Him because of our delight in Him and gratitude. But the Bible also makes clear that the Lord rewards people for their lives. And it is okay to seek that reward.

Our passage today teaches us about this truth. The psalmist says in Psalm 18:20, “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.” Notice that the psalmist points to God’s dealing with him on the basis of his righteousness. The psalmist has obeyed and sought the Lord. The result? The Lord dealt with him according to those deeds. It can also be the opposite. The Lord can deal with us according to our unrighteousness. 

The psalmist continues that it is according to the cleanness of his hands that God has rewarded him. What does he mean by the “cleanness of his hands”? This is his holiness. He is without sin. His heart is pure. This doesn’t mean he is perfect, but his life reflects obeying God. The outcome of this is God has rewarded him. God rewards obedience and withholds for disobedience. This is a truth Christians, especially conservative evangelicals ignore, because we try to avoid prosperity gospel theology. But this isn’t prosperity gospel. This isn’t believing that giving some money or offering your service to the Lord becomes new houses and cars. The teaching of this passage reminds us that the favor and blessing of the Lord follows our earnest pursuit of Him. This isn’t heresy (like prosperity gospel). This is biblical.

Seek Him today. Seek His blessing and favor over your life today. Recognize that your obedience and righteousness is rewarded by Him. It is not in vain that you order your life around His precepts and commands. Love Him with all your heart. Repent of sin. And let the cleanness of your hands and heart be evidence of your devotion to Him. He will reward that.

Reflection & Journal: 
- Why do conservative evangelicals struggle with the concept of reward from God?
- What does this passage not teach that we must avoid?
- How should this text inform your life today?

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