To draw near to thee, my God,
Shall be my sweet employ;
My tongue shall sound thy works abroad,
And tell the world my joy.
Isaac Watts, Hymn:”God our Portion Here and Hereafter.”
S) 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. (Psalm 73:28)
H) This Psalm is in three parts. Each part is introduced by the word “Surely” (v. 1, 13, 18 – NASB;NIV). It is attributed to Asaph and it’s refreshingly honest. Asaph admits his great envy of the godless who increase in riches and appear to have an easy life. It seems that all of his efforts to walk righteously have been a waste of time! Why is it that the ungodly prosper while the righteous suffer trials and persecution? What benefit is there in denying one’s self the sinful pleasures of the world? Where is the justice and equity of God? I have to sadly admit that these questions have crossed my mind. The psalmist feels like an idiot when he finally steps back and reflects. (v.21-22) Asaph reminds us of two things:
1) Keep the big picture in mind. There is an end to the temporary happiness of the wicked. (v.16-20)
2) God is our refuge and our hope. It is good to stay near to God. (v.23-28)
A) Jesus tells me that I can do nothing apart from Him. My goal then is to do as He says and “abide in the vine” (John 15). Jesus made a way through His shed blood for me to “draw near to God” (James 4:8, Hebrews 10:22) and it is by staying near to Him that I maintain His perspective on my sufferings, my joys, my temptations and my true and eternal hope. It isn’t complicated. I stay close through prayer, Bible meditation, worship, fellowship, hearing the preached Word and attending to the table of the Lord. As I draw close and abide in Christ, my eyes are filled with the treasure He truly is. I can say with Asaph:
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 73:25-26 ESV)
P) Father in heaven, I am often confused and dismayed as I look around this world. So often it seems that those who have no heart for you are richly rewarded. They cater to their flesh by their riches and I find myself with seeds of resentment in my heart. O God! You are my everlasting joy! This life is but a vapor and those who perish without Your grace will see an eternal end of all happiness but for those who trust in You there are pleasures forevermore. Our heartaches are for a moment, our joy is everlasting. Thank you Father. Prompt me day by day to draw close to You, make You my refuge and tell others of Your works. In Jesus name. Amen
E) Draw near to Jesus today!
The Psalms of the Day for the 13th are: 13, 43, 73, 103, 133
Reading the Psalms of the Day is a very helpful way to energize and broaden your prayers. You can learn more about praying the psalms here. You can download a chart of the daily readings here. Learn about the S.H.A.P.E. Method of engaging with scripture here.