Psalms 73:1-3, 21-22 ESV
A Psalm of Asaph.
“Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
“When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.”
We should never compare ourselves to other people or feel jealous of those who seem to have it better than us. God made us who we are, by his grace, if we are his followers, and he has a design and a plan for our lives which he is working in and through our lives, if we are willing, and if we are cooperative in doing what he has called us to do. So, he didn’t make us to be like someone else or to have what they have that we don’t have.
I can tell you from much experience from being a Christian for 65 years that it is far better to live for the Lord and to walk according to his ways and in obedience to his commands, even if it means suffering for the sake of righteousness and for the truth of the gospel, and even if it means being hated, mistreated, falsely accused, attacked, rejected, and misunderstood. For there is no peace in living outside of God’s perfect plan for our lives.
If we get embittered because life is not turning out for us like we had hoped or because of mistreatment we have received, and because God did not rescue us in the way that we thought he ought to, or because of jealousy of others who we think have it better than us, that is not a good thing. For it may lead us down a path of sin because we are angry with God for allowing our lives to go the way they did without rescuing us.
And some of us did go down that path for a time and we walked away from our pure devotion to the Lord because of all the abuse and the mistreatment, and because the Lord did not rescue us in the way that we had hoped, and so we escaped into another world of fantasy and acted out our anger and our hurt in ways which were contrary to the will of God for our lives. But there is no peace there, but only more pain and misery.
Psalms 73:23-26 ESV
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
The Psalmist indicated that he had a wrong attitude, a sinful attitude, but that he didn’t act upon it. He had almost slipped, but he didn’t. Instead, he went to the sanctuary of God seeking understanding from God, and the Lord helped him to understand the end of those for whom pride is their necklace, and violence is in their steps, who speak with malice, and whose hearts overflow with follies (recklessness, sinful thoughts and practices).
He did not let go of God. He remained with the Lord and he sought him for help and for counsel and wisdom. And the Lord helped him. The Lord guided him in the way that he should go. His foot nearly slipped, but it did not. And that is because he turned to the Lord for help rather than turning away from the Lord in anger or in bitterness and resentment and pride and envy. And this should be the steps we should all take when tempted with evil.
I wish that I could say that I remained steadfast in faith all 65 years since I first believed in Jesus, but I didn’t. I endured unjust suffering for many years and I turned to the Lord for help and he helped me, but it kept happening over and over again, and I finally came to a point in my life where I felt I could endure no more and so I escaped and I did the unthinkable and I did things I never thought possible because I wasn’t trusting the Lord.
Now, if I had remained there in that condition, and if I had not repented of my sins, and if I had not returned to following the Lord in obedience to his ways, then, according to Scripture, I would have met the same fate as those who never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For the word teaches that if sin is what we practice that we will not inherit eternal life, and the same goes for if we do not obey our Lord. And I take that seriously.
We are not perfect people, for sure, but lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued and deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord Jesus. For we are all going to reap what we sow, and if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8).
So, hold on to the Lord. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the trappings of this world. Don’t let bitterness overtake you. Repent of all wrong thinking and attitudes as soon as you become aware of what you are thinking and feeling, and then choose to follow the Lord and not your emotions. Allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of all wrongdoing and repent of it all and follow the Lord Jesus in obedience from now and forever.
Psalms 73:27-28 ESV
“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.”
This is true. If we are far from the Lord and we are not in fellowship with him because we are walking in darkness (in sin) and not in the light (in righteousness), heaven is not guaranteed us when we die. If we deny Jesus Christ with our lives, he will deny us when he returns for his bride. So, please take this seriously for your eternity depends on you knowing and on you obeying the truth and on you not continuing in habitual sin.
Instead, let us all be those who can say with a clear conscience and in all honesty that for us it is good to be near God. We have made the Lord our refuge that we may tell of all his works. Our lives are under his control, and we are following him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. We are being who God has called us to be, and our hearts are not wandering. Jesus is truly our Lord and we are his to do his will.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Chris Eaton
I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
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