Tag Archives: Psalm 73

I Must Get To the Sanctuary of God

pray.jpgBut when I thought how to understand this it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went to the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  Psalm 73:16-17

Asaph wrote this Psalm.  He was David’s music director and was a priest and he set David’s words to music.  The context for today’s verses is that Asaph was getting twisted around by seeing the arrogant and wicked prospering while the righteous struggled.  He was bitter about it and it messed up his relationship with God.  In verse 22 Asaph recounted that when he was bitter he was like a beast, brutish and ignorant.  In other words, when you hold bitterness against God in your heart, you can’t hear from God, just like an animal.  You can’t be led.  It blocks off your relationship with God.

O God, I can get so bitter, cutting off the channel between us.  I can get bitter at others, which is just as bad.  I can mutter about others, and it’s really me that’s in the wrong place.  Like the King and Country song, “Oh, oh God, Forgive us (ME)…”  Show me where I harbor bitterness.

Another significant thing about what Asaph testifies is that he knew enough to keep his bitterness to himself.   In verse 15 he testifies, “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.”  If he had told others about what he had against God, he would have betrayed them by telling them something about God that wasn’t true.  How often do we vent to others, only later realizing that it wasn’t God who was in the wrong, but us?

God, keep a zipper on my lips.  If I speak against You or others I am really betraying the generation of Your children.  I am telling things about You that aren’t true.  I am a stumbling block.  

Asaph stayed in this funk until he went to the sanctuary of God.  In those days, they had to go to the Temple to meet with God because that was where His Spirit dwelt.  Praise God that His Spirit now dwells inside of us and we can meet with God anywhere, anytime!  It wasn’t until Asaph went before God that his attitude was adjusted.  It was in praying to God and seeking His face that Asaph realized that it wasn’t God that was off.  It was his view of what success is and his view of how God works.

Oh how my soul longs to get in quiet communion with You this week.  This is where I hear from You.  Clear out my schedule and keep distractions far away from me.  May I meet with You and see what you have to say about what’s been going on.  I so need You.

Then Asaph stopped being bitter and he started hearing from God again.  And he was able to write the beautiful words of praise found in verses 23-28.  Asaph realized that those who are far from God perish, but those who love and fear God will be rewarded in the end.  He also realized that it is better to be near God and to make Him his refuge than to have money.

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.  Psalm 73 23-26

When you are bent out of shape about life’s unfairness, don’t vent it out–go to God.  It is in our prayer closet that we get a proper perspective.  Don’t hold on to your bitterness, it only shuts off your connection with God.  Pray it out and listen to what God has to say.  Get close to God’s heart.  The nearness of God is our good.

*Image from Auntie Em’s Guide to Life


Green Pastures

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:2-3

“In Your presence there is fullness of joy.”  Psalm 16:11

“Repent and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  Acts 3:19

“When I couldn’t understand, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I entered God’s sanctuary and then I discerned their end.”  Psalm 73: 16-17

 

With the rough winter that is still not behind us, it seems that everyone around  is more tense, ready to lash out, stretched thin and looking at a jam packed schedule.  The darts and arrows in battles seem to be more destructive lately.  Turning on the news, it doesn’t get better.  It feels like a pressure cooker ready to blow most days.

What replenishes me?  My first inclination is to fight for “me time.”  Maybe a day off to go do something fun.  But even if I get physical rest but don’t get my spirit and soul restored, I’ll still be drained.  The word restore carries with it the meaning of a returning, a movement back to the point of departure, back to my soul’s original resting place.  That must be in God, not in anything else.  They say that artificial sweeteners don’t give your brain what it’s looking for, so it keeps craving sugar.  I have a lot of artificial substitutes for God’s presence that leave my spirit and my soul still craving for Him.

That’s when the times of refreshing come.  In Acts 3:19 Peter linked refreshing to repentance.  I need to repent when I turn to anything else to satisfy and give me the soul restoration that I need.  Or when I run away from God instead of to Him.  I run to some dumb TV show, to shopping, coffee with friends or quality time with my hubby–instead of face time with the lover of my soul.

In Psalm 73 Asaph, the writer, was embittered and bothered because the evil people seemed to be getting ahead and the godly people were struggling.  He said when he was holding on to that bitterness he was like stubborn beast, unable to hear from God.  Until he went to the sanctuary, God’s presence.  That’s where he got an attitude adjustment.  They had to go to the Temple to meet with God.  We don’t, we just get to curl up in a quiet place to pray, seek God and read His Word.  Maybe with some good worship music on, or maybe it’s just acknowledging our need for Him as we drive to work or sit at a stop light.

Psalm 23 tells us that is is God that leads us to those green pastures, still waters, and places of soul restoration.  Today I must stop, listen and go find my joy in His presence.