Tuesday, January 28, 2014

spiritual crisis

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Psalm 73:26

This psalm documents a spiritual crisis. Its ancient perspective fits perfectly with contemporary experience. I find it timely. It is attributed to Asaph, who must have been one very perceptive person. The crisis being analyzed in this psalm begins with the observation that outwardly the wicked may prosper. And the one who trusts God may suffer. It is Theodicy (google it... you should know what it means since most people experience it) combined with the irony of the opposite. The righteous man may be in pain. The wicked man may seem to have not a care in the world.

Surely God seems a vain hope from that point of view. But it really is a shallow and incomplete picture. It is superficial. Just because someone has all the stuff of this life does not mean that their soul is at rest. In fact, all that stuff just may be cover for their own unhappiness.

When the disturbed believer takes these outward observations into true worship, some real clarity starts to come into focus. There is a heart check. What seems to be a simple, non-partisan observation on our part turns out to be envy. And first acknowledging the slip of our sin puts our observations into perspective (Psalm 73:2-3). Trapped in the despair of selfish secularism, the soul must enter a holy place to once again see things from a higher place (Psalm 73:6-17).

Once in worship and faithfully trusting God, it all clears up. The apparent prosperity of the wicked is the slippery slope of their ruin. They are enjoying the long slow slide into perdition... but a loving God gives them time to know His grace. And anyone who knows God's grace realizes that the reward of knowing God is greater than all earthly fame and gain. God is always with us, guiding us with daily counsel, and ready to receive us into His glory after this life ends (Psalm 73:23-24). As Psalm 73:28 commends, "it is good to be near God." Amen. That is where I want my life to stand.

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