If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Numbers 29, Psalm 73, Isaiah 21, 2 Peter 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalm 73.
Is it really worth it to follow God? If you’ve ever asked that question, you identify with Asaph’s song here in Psalm 73. He begins by affirming God’s goodness to those who are righteous (v. 1) but then contrasts how he nearly lost his faith (v. 2). The problem was his envy toward those who lived sinful lives and yet seemed to prosper (vv. 3-12). In that long section of verses, Asaph describes a distorted perspective on those who are sinful. They have it all—health (vv. 4-5), confidence (v. 6), all the fun that sin can offer (vv. 7-8), the fawning attention of others (vv. 10-11), and an ever-expanding bank account (v. 12).
If you saw all of that, and had none of it yourself, you’d wonder if you were doing life wrong just as Asaph did (vv. 13-16). So what kept him from turning away from everything he believed and the life he had always lived? Verse 17: “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” It was God’s revelation that saved Asaph’s faith and his morality. When he heard God’s promises of judgment explained in the tabernacle, then he had the right perspective and the motivation to keep following God (vv. 18-20).
What was the result of the correcting power of God’s word? Repentance (vv. 21-22) which led to a renewed love for God and appreciation for his grace. Asaph realized that God was always with him, always holding him (v. 23). He learned that God would give him wisdom to live well in this life (v. 24a) and then would bring him into eternal life (v. 24b). Understanding this gave him a deeper thirst to know and love God (vv. 24-28). These words are so encouraging, so powerful to stimulate my emotions: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…. as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (vv. 25-26, 28).
This passage reminds us how easily our perspective gets distorted. We maximize our own pain and struggle in our minds while simultaneously concluding that everyone else has a perfect, carefree life and can do whatever they want. This is why we need the nourishment of God’s word and instruction in it as often as possible. Not only do we learn more about God but God’s word corrects our focus and reminds us of the eternal perspective we need to keep on following Christ, even when things get hard.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/calvarybiblechurch/. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.