BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “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.” Psalm 73:13.14 NLT
Following the Lord is a path of life and blessing. But challenges and trials arise from life, a secular world and the rise of wickedness and evil. Keeping on the “straight and narrow” can often be a challenge is we focus too much on “all that is happening around us.”
That is what we see expressed in this psalm written thousands of years ago. The same thought process and temptation to “throw in the towel” in the fight of faith has been faced by believers down through the years. As a matter of fact we see as the second coming of Christ comes near that “spiritual casualties” will be greater than anticipated. Jesus even asked, “…But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?” (Luke 18:8 GNT)
In Psalm 73 we see a reflection on the “prosperity of the wicked.” The struggle here is, the life of faith was filled with hardship and the life of the wicked was one of ease. Just the opposite of what we would expect, or the way we would want it to be.
It was a conundrum, that defied human reasoning. It was in a sense “driving the psalmist crazy.” He says, “I was like a brute beast.” But something happened. Insight did not come by human logic or some simple formula or cliche. It came by time in God’s presence. “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:17 NLT)
The psalmist was able to see the wicked and life from God’s perspective and from the vantage point of eternity. The wicked and those who reject God reject hope and a future. They will be quickly gone and God views their dreams and plans and “laughs.”
But we see that in spite of all the confusion, frustration and anger in the heart of the psalmist, he had the assurance that God was with Him. God was with him in the time of question. The time of doubt. The time of wanting to “give up” or even “join the other side.”
“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.” (Psalm 73:21-24 NLT)
The Lord is able to deal with our “nearsightedness” and is not quick to give up on us. He holds to us even when we don’t hold to Him as tightly as we should. If we hang in there, we will find Him guiding us to a glorious destiny.
I think of an Old Testament and a New Testament verse that relates to this theme of faith and our future. The Lord though Malachi gives this promise to those who hold fast to the Lord,
“On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.” (Malachi 3:17-18 NIV)
When Peter asked the Lord, in a sense, “what’s in it for us?” He responded, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.” (Mark 10:29,30 NLT)
Eternity itself will prove that it is “worth it” to follow the Lord and to trust in Him.
Prayer for today…. Lord thank you that you know us and love us anyway. Our doubts, temptations and frustrations with life, don’t throw you off. You are there and if we recognize your presence and seek you, we will be steady and strong in all kinds of storms, life may bring.