On the verge.

Scripture(s):

Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.

These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.

And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!

Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.

 
When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.


 
Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. – Psalm 73

Observation:
Asaph wrote this psalm with a deep, sincere honesty in his heart, as he addressed God with the burden that weighted him down. He realized that he had harbored bitterness inside his heart against those that had wealth and riches in this life and seemed to flourish in everything they did! Then he learned through God’s counsel that the way of the wicked is death. The Lord showed him that wealth and riches may make this life easier, but those that serve them are serving idols that show their hatred and rebellion against God. They will go the way of all sinners – to the grave and spend eternity in hell.

Application:
When I read this psalm, I realized that I, too, held some bitterness in my heart and was on the verge of slipping, as was the psalmist. My situation and the circumstances surrounding it were different in substance and composition, but there were similar feelings and emotions brewing within me. I had to take time to speak with God and let him show me the error of not only those toward whom the bitterness existed but within myself, also. I reckoned that the thoughts that permeated my brain would appear as foolish to God as Asaph thought his did! The joke was on me.

However, despite the need for repentance, which I did, I also realized that like Asaph, I still belong to the Lord Most High, who holds my right hand and guides me by his Holy Spirit into all truth. He does have a glorious destiny in store for me. As he spoke to Jeremiah, so he does to all his children. He knows the plans he has for us; plans to prosper and give a future and not for evil. Therefore, I had to make choice in my heart, “Do I strive for the things that I want? Or, do I strive for the plans God has for me?” Well, the obvious choice is to choose God’s plan, for as Asaph said, “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

I do desire God more than anything or anyone on earth. He is my Solid Rock, my Sure Foundation, a Tried Stone, and my Cornerstone! Why would I want to seek the companionship of anyone more than he? People will fail me, as I will fail them. However, the God of Creation and the Lord of Salvation has promised to never leave me or abandon me! He is mine forever!! His joy is my strength. Thus I will trust in him to be my ever constant companion, friend that sticks closer than a brother, Father, and Lord.

Prayer:
Father, I come before you in the name of your son, Jesus. I acknowledge you in my wrongs as well as my right doing. I have desired to have closeness in my life, but I should have looked to you first. I tried in the past to find comfort and consolation in the arms of women. I even hung out with the best guy friends a person could have, but I always seemed to be missing real, true companionship in my life. Today, I further realize that only You can give the peace and close relationship for which I hunger and thirst. Please forgive me for being envious of others who have close friends in their lives. There is nothing wrong with good friends and being around them, but I need and want to have the closest intimacy and companionship with my Lord and Master. Cover me with your wings and nestle me against your chest while you sing over me and remind me of your great love, grace, and mercy you’ve shown me already. Comfort my weary soul, please. Allow me to rest in your strong yet nurturing arms. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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