The Believer, the World, and Christ: Part 2

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73 A PSALM OF ASAPH.

1  Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3  For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4  For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5  They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6  Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7  Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8  They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9  They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10  Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11  And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12  Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13  All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14  For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15  If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16  But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17  until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

18  Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19  How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20  Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

21  When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22  I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23  Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24  You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25  Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26  My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27  For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28  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.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 73). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Here is the desperate cry of godly man who looks out into the world and sees faithful believers in despair, in poverty, in persecution, in pain, and in doubt. He sees the unrighteous, the ungodly, and the God hater in wealth, comfort, prestige, and power. He sees them loved and adored.

They have no pains. They are well fed. They are puffed up with pride. They are unkind, they speak with malice, and they threaten oppression of the believers.

Asaph cannot fathom how God would do that. He cries out in wonder how a truly just God could let the wicked reign supreme. Then he went to the Lord in prayer and he realized the answer.

The ungodly and the God hater who hates God’s people are on a slippery place and will fall to ruin.

This world, and think about this because it is true, this world with war and disease and poverty and pestilence and violence — this very world is the best that the ungodly will ever have. In this world, they will enjoy the fruits of God’s creation, the benefit of God withholding his wrath, and then the end. They will be destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terror! God despises them and those who are far from God will perish.

Draw near to God. It is good for you to do so. Let God be your refuge. For the unbeliever and those of this world, this world and all its flaws is the best they will ever have. But for you, the one who calls on the name of Jesus, this world with all its flaws is the worst you will ever have.

Praise God and let him sort the wicked. When we all walk into eternity, your best days are still ahead of you and theirs are short, finite, and ended. So do not hate them, but mourn them, pray for them and that they repent, and praise God and be joyful when any do repent and are saved.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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