Psalm 73: 23-28 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Asaph almost let go of God, but God did not let Asaph go. The goodness of God was present and pursuing him all along. When Asaph met God, his heart was healed – the veil was removed. He was able to see God’s unrelenting grace in his life. His heart changed from complaining – what’s the point? to “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”. This is the power of the Cross of Jesus. When our hearts fail, we can fight back because God holds on to us. How do we fight? We believe by yielding to God at the Cross. When we yield to God, we win.
As we worship to the song “At the Cross” (Click here), let’s yield to God and praise Him for His goodness and glory. Let’s proclaim He is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.
Psalm 73:13-14, 16-18 (NIV) Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
The psalmist concluded, why should I keep following God when all I get are troubles while the arrogant keep succeeding? We may also get tempted to exchange what we believe with where our thoughts may be taking us. When this happens, our hearts are not beating as they should. But God has made a way through Jesus Christ – where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17b).
“The first step out of the sinkhole of resentment and envy is worship. The psalmist enters the sanctuary, and in the presence of the true God his sight clears and he begins to get the long-term perspective.” [Timothy Keller; Kathy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, p.169]
In God’s presence, Asaph was changed and saw how it really ends for those who reject God –all their power will come to end. Let’s pray for the Spirit of God to rain down upon us and transform our hearts to beat as they should for the Lord. Let’s praise God and surrender to Him as we sing the song “Open Heaven” (Click here).
Psalm 73:4-9 – They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
The psalmist describes why he was envious of the arrogant and wicked. “They seem to be carefree and unconcerned about tomorrow. For them, life is now – and now seems to be forever…They are like “gods”…First, they do not seem to suffer from the frailties, adversities, diseases, and toilsome labor common to humanity…Though their hearts are full of evil schemes, the wicked succeed and prosper. Second, the wicked do not regard God and his commandments. Instead they are puffed up with pride.” [Temper Longman, III & David Garland, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p.561]
The arrogant see no need for God and think they are just fine without Him. We need to remember that even as believers, we are but a page away from having similar thoughts. Don’t we tend to set God aside when life is progressing smoothly?
Let’s humble ourselves and pray that God would forgive our pride and sense of self-sufficiency. As we worship with the song, “Lord, I Need You” (Click here) – let’s profess, with thankfulness, how much we need the Lord every hour.
Psalm 73:1-3 – Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Asaph, the psalmist, confesses what he knows – that God is good to the pure in heart. But contrary to this belief is what he actually sees and experiences – that the wicked prosper. He almost stumbles and falls and turns away from God and he admits that it was because he became ensnared with envy when he saw how well everything was going for the wicked.
“To envy is to want someone else’s life. It’s to feel not just that they don’t deserve their good life but that you do and God hasn’t been fair. This spiritual self-pity— which forgets your sin and what you truly deserve from God— drains all the joy out of your life, making it impossible to enjoy what you have.” [Timothy Keller; Kathy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, p.166]
Let’s pray and ask God to forgive us for any envy, resentment or ungratefulness we are harboring in our hearts, and that God would help us to turn away from unhealthy introspection and toward how awesome and glorious He is. Let’s proclaim how awesome God is as we worship with “The Awesome God You Are” (Click here).
Psalm 34:1-10 – I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
What are you dealing with today? Are you experiencing troubles? Are you worried about something? Let’s pray by praising God. Let’s confess all of our concerns to God and look to Him and ask for His help. Let’s pray and ask God to be our refuge. He is inviting us to taste and see that He is good. Let’s worship Him with the song “God, You’re So Good” (Click here).