This past Sunday during The Gathering the message centered around Psalm 73. As I was looking in my Bible at this particular Psalm I noticed the last verse marked in yellow. The highlighted verse wasn’t unexpected as I tend to mark in my Bible quite heavily. What was a surprise was that I remember exactly when and where I highlighted the verse.
I was sitting at Beulah Camp in Southern Illinois a few years ago during the morning prayer time. I distinctly remember feeling very overwhelmed that morning. Psalm 73 seemed the perfect Psalm to frame my time in prayer as the Psalmist begins by asking why the wicked prosper and why he suffers, even though his motives and lifestyle are pure (Psalm 73:13). Just a note… I don’t recall attempting to tag a ‘wicked’ label on someone. It was likely more of a ‘misery loves company’ kind of day.
On Sunday Pastor Rick pointed out that some scholars believe that Psalm 73 is a response to Psalm 1. If you read Psalm 1 the gist of the chapter is that blessings follow those who obey the Lord’s command while the wicked will perish and be destroyed. Fast-forward to Psalm 73 and the message is a bit different. Here we find the wicked prospering with no regard for God while the righteous struggle. It certainly doesn’t seem fair.
Rick went on to say that life is rarely fair. It rains on the just and the unjust. Life is also random, and it can seem as if the God we love and follow has abandoned us when the walls of trial and heartache are closing in. Yet, if you keep reading Psalm 73 there is a discernible shift in verse 17:
Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple, and understood the destiny of the wicked. Psalm 73:17 (NET). In other words, once the Psalmist began to worship God his perspective began to change.
This is why I love verse 28 of Psalm 73. I’m not exactly sure why I highlighted it a few summers ago but I can certainly speak to its truth today. In the end, God’s presence is all we need. It is what sustains us and what leads us into truth. The Psalmist underscores this as he concludes Psalm 73 by stating that he has “made the sovereign Lord my shelter.”
I often find that if I take my focus off of God, or if I haven’t spent time in His presence, then life can seem very bleak. I love how the Psalmist writes that even if everything else around him fails he knows that God will keep him stable and protect the very essence of who he is. (paraphrase of Psalm 73:26) Yet, I’ll quickly lose that perspective, that hope, if I don’t spend time with God and allow Him to impart that truth to my soul. This is also a call to worship as much as possible. Worship aligns our thoughts with heaven because it causes us to focus on God and His goodness in spite of what is raging around us.
All that to say, be blessed and press in to His presence. May it be all you need in the midst of the highs and lows of this week.
Til next time,