Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ps 73 a quick look

Here is certainly one of my favorite psalms
I'll paraphrase a lot, so it would be good for you to read Psalm 73
1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Asaph or perhaps David shares exactly how he felt and then later reveals what came out of all of this;
Yet certainly all believers go through some of these same conflicts.
Here Asaph says: "There was a time, where i almost gave up, I almost lost all hope. This happened because i was envious of the wicked."
Here was a man, that could not grasp how these wicked men could reap such blessings. They seemed to have it all, they sinned without punishment and then boasted about it later. These men continue to manipulate, lie, and scheme without consequence. In his eyes it seemed the wicked were blessed and the righteous were cursed.
13All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.14For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
Asaph felt as though his attempts for righteous living were for nothing, not only lacking a good reward, but in turn only making his life worse. In other words this psalm was an extended pout (a me party). Ever have those?
Ever feel like this? Do you ever feel as though, you've been sold short? If you have i hope it was only passing, surely i don't think a true believer could stay in this state.
For who might this effect? All!!! of course!
Let's get specific: the Minister who is pouring his heart into a flock that hasn't grown in years, laboring over each text, weeping over each soul, disciplining, counseling, to the point of exhaustion and yet people are whining about the length of the sermon, or how you didn't visit them, and so on. Or perhaps you're the one who's given your heart to defending the faith only to receive back nods, but no fruit, you watch as charming and entertaining heretics get the ears of the people.
The single adult who faithfully prepares themselves trying to restrain from compromising situations, pleading with the Lord for a godly mate, only to see their wicked peers getting married and being blessed with children in what seems to be a great marriage.
The Married person who seeks the Lord daily, for help, strength, faithfulness, change, and yet you see and hear of the ungodly growing in happiness, and in affection.
The godly worker trying to honor the Lord in going far beyond what is required, faithfully tithing and giving offerings only to see someone else get the promotion, or even being unexpectedly laid off.
The list could go on, yet this is a reality. Certainly this reality is one reason among many that the prosperity gospel is so damaging.
For some there is no turning point for them in their circumstances, it is simply the lot God has chosen for them to endure. This must never be forgotten, too many live in a constant state of confusion because they are trying to evaluate their walk or fruit by their circumstances.
We could look at these times with the same frustrations as Asaph and complain "but God this isn't fair, shouldn't I your child be more blessed then the wicked", "God look at these rebels, are they never judged?" "God i just can't go on, this is absolutely useless, I'm not the one"
Yet praise be to God this is not the END! Asaph declares that he would be a deceiver if spoke this way, although it still confused him. UNTIL!!!!!!!!!!
17until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Ahhh THIS is the turning point, this is where everything in life is brought into it's proper perspective: In the presence of GOd. In the light of eternity the things of this dark world can be seen clearly. This is what it means to have a biblical worldview, a view that weighs what is seen and heard by the standard of absolute truth- the word of God. In the presence of GOd Asaph saw the mist rise, and he saw the end of the wicked. Consequently he saw the end of the righteous as well. The end of the wicked is swift, as Thomas Watson put it, 'they are fattened for the slaughter", their blessings are like drugs which give them some sort of comfort while killing them softly. Envy is not what we should feel towards the wicked, for they have NOTHING!! We should only feel pity, in the words of Mr. T "i pity the fool" Truly they are fools seeking and getting excited over 'fools' gold. All their comforts, all their wealth, all their luxuries will serve to give them nothing but regret on the day they stand before Almighty God. The richest of the world have one thing in common to all men, when they die they will all have nothing. I often tell men at the jails, that it may very well be a blessing that they have been put there, perhaps God has shown mercy by punishing you (or capturing you) and causing you to hear the gospel. I'll tell them that the worst thing that could happen in this life is to be left alone by God, to go through this life fast and high without any wake up calls, without reaping consequences, only to be awoken by the final judgment of God.
22 I was brutish and ignorant;I was like a beast toward you.
He says as we could say, in our pity party, in our wicked complaints, in our hardness we were acting like ignorant beasts: how dare we who have experienced the amazing grace of God ever forget His faithfulness, His goodness, his love and wisdom.
In his repentance Asaph declares that God has been good to him, He has held him up, He has provided for him. Can we not too remember all the mercies of God (new every morning) towards us, in keeping us, in causing us to endure, in putting up with all our whining and yet giving us grace.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Here is one of those scriptures that could inflame a weary heart. Meditate on this verse when things seem out of whack. This is a declaration, a heartcry that should be said with pure passion, with tears, with great excitement, while jumping and spinning, while on your knees! hallelujah! God is the only treasure available, He is altogether lovely, altogether wonderful, he alone is to be sought after. In all our weakness, He upholds us, He pushes us, He works in us: We can't give up, He won't let us. All we need, all we should want!
To the wicked: one thing must be grasped and that is they are trading the eternal for the temporal, the true treasure for that which will turn to dust. As for their schemes and apparent escape from judgment; be reminded that GOD IS NOT MOCKED they will REAP what they SOW, either in this life or in the life to come, not one sin will be left unpunished by the Judge of all the Earth.
To the righteous: don't grow weary in doing good --you will reap (Gal 6:7-9 covers both examples I've just stated) In our struggle let us go QUICKLY to the throne of grace for help, being ANXIOUS for nothing but giving all thing to the Lord with thanksgiving (let's daily give thanks for what has been done for us and what is yet to be done---this will alleviate a lot of discontent).



Good points. I don't see many people address this issue. It's refreshing.

Also, I don't believe I've ever read an article in which Asaph and Mr. T were both quoted.

Kudos on both accounts.

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