Sunday, January 20, 2019

A song so true today

Psalm 73      As presented in the Believers Bible Commentary(W. MacDonald)

“I know for a fact that God is good to Israel, and to such as are pure in heart.

But there was a time when I actually began to wonder. My stance on the subject became very wobbly and my faith almost took a temporary tumble. You see I began to think how well off the wicked are – lots of money , plenty of pleasure, no troubles – and soon I was wishing I was like them.

Everything seemed to be going their way. They don’t have as much physical suffering as believers do. Their bodies are healthy and sleek (naturally they can afford the best of everything) . They escape many of the troubles and tragedies of decent people like ourselves. And even if troubles should strike them, they are heavily insured against every conceivable loss. No wonder they are so self confident. They are proud as a peacock and ruthless as a tiger. Just as their bodies seem to overflow with fatness, so their minds are spilling over with crooked schemes. And are they arrogant! They curse and scoff at their underlings and treat them as if they were dirt, threatening them continually. Even God Himself does not escape their malice. Their speech is punctuated with profanity, and they brazenly blaspheme Him. Their tongue swaggers and struts through the earth, as if to say “Here I come; get out of my way”.

Most of the ordinary people think they are great. They bow and scrape and show utmost respect. No matter what the wicked people do, the people find no fault with them. And this only confirms the oppressors in their arrogance. They figure that if there is a God, He certainly doesn’t know what’s going on. So they feel safe in pursuing their careers of crookedness. And there they are  - cushioned in luxury and getting richer all the time.

Well I began to think “What good has it done me to live a decent, honest, respectable life?” The hours I’ve spent in prayer. The time spent in the Word. The distribution of funds to the work of the Lord.  The active testimony for the Lord, both public and private. All I’ve got to show for it has been a daily dose of suffering and punishment. I wondered if the life of faith was worth the cost.

Of course I never shared my doubts and misgivings with other believers. I knew better than to do that. I often thought of the man who said “ Tell me of your certainties: I doubts enough of my own.” So I kept my doubts to myself , lest I should offend or stumble  some simple , trusting soul.
But still the whole business was a riddle to me: the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer. It seemed so hard to understand. In fact it wore me out trying to solve the problem.

Then something wonderful happened. One day I went into the sanctuary of God – not the literal temple in Jerusalem, but the heavenly one. I entered there by faith. As  I was complaining to the Lord about the prosperity of the wicked in this life, the question suddenly flashed across my mind “Yes but what about the life to come?”  The more I thought about their eternal destiny, the more everything came into focus.
So I spoke to the Lord something like this. ‘Lord now I realize that despite all appearances’, the life of the wicked is a precarious existence.  They are walking on the slippery edge of a vast precipice. Sooner or later they fall over to their destruction. In a moment they are cut off- swept away by a wave of terrors too horrible to contemplate. They are to me like a dream when one awakes in the morning – the things that disturbed the dreamer are seen to be nothing but phantoms.

I now see that the things that were causing me to be envious were mere shadows. It was a bit stupid of me to become bitter  and agitated over the seeming prosperity of the ungodly. In questioning your justice I was acting more like  a beast than a man. ( Excuse me for behaving as I did).
Yet in spite of my ignorant behaviour, You have not forsaken me. I am continually with You, and You hold onto me, like a father holds his child by the hand. Throughout all my life You guide me with Your counsel, and then at last You will bring me to glory!

It is enough that I have You in heaven: that makes me fabulously wealthy. And now I have no desire for anything upon earth apart from Yourself. Let the ungodly have their wealth. I am satisfied with You and find my all-sufficiency in You. My body may waste away and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my life and all I’ll ever need or want throughout eternity.

Those who try keep as  far away from You as possible shall perish without You. And all those who desert you for false gods will be destroyed. As far as I am concerned, I want to be as near to You as possible. I have committed myself to You for protection and I want to declare all Your wonderful works to anyone who will listen.’