Sunday, November 21, 2010

God Is My Strength & Portion Forever

Psalm 73
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.
For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat & sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff & speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens, & their tongue struts through the earth.

Therefore His people turn back to them, & find no fault in them.
And they say, "How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean & washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken & rebuked every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.

But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Truly You set them in slippery places; You make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when You rouse Yourself, You despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish & ignorant; I was like a beast toward You.

Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel, & 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 & my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever.

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.

We were blessed to sit under the preaching of this Psalm this morning.  This is my favorite Psalm, one I turn to when I feel overwhelmed by the seeming injustice & prospering of the wicked.  Don't you love how it turns in the middle?!  And then the climactic declaration that nothing is to be desired & treasured above God!  Ah!  When I read through this Psalm, I am reminded that the wicked will only appear to triumph for a little while.  I'm reminded that I have God; let them have their things!  Let them wreck & ruin in this life; destruction is their end.  They are under the sovereignty of God, as are we all, & can do no more than He allows.  In the end, we have the ultimate treasure & will receive the ultimate reward in God.  Praise be to God!

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things & count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ & be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know Him & the power of His resurrection, & may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:7-11)