Daily Reflections September 22, 2017
Throughout my years at Bible College I had a verse printed above my desk that was a constant source of encouragement to me. That verse was Psalm 73:26.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
This verse beautifully captures the whole message of Psalm 73. As a fallen people we are prone to failure. As one famous hymn puts it, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” These well-known words capture not only the experience of Asaph, but of all those who have walked with the Lord for any period of time.
Asaph begins his psalm by declaring the goodness of God in contrast with the feebleness of man. Despite his mental recognition that God is good, Asaph felt himself being compelled towards that which God hates, namely wickedness. With his own eyes he could see the arrogant prospering in care free, abundant living. At first glance it appeared as though God had no idea what the wicked were up to, or He just wasn’t concerned that people were benefiting from their sinful behaviour.
Not a great deal has changed since these words were written thousands of years ago. If we look out our window today we will still witness rampant wickedness and a disregard for God. Thankfully, the end of the psalm also continues to hold true. On the surface these people seem to have everything going for them, but when you probe a little deeper and begin to consider their end, everything changes. These people flourish for a little while, but inevitably die like everyone else. Their wickedness not only cannot save them from death, but it inevitably sets them up for great disaster.
Psalm 73:26 hung above my desk at school because it so perfectly captures the truth of who I am. I am weak, but God is strong. When I grow weary of walking the narrow road that leads to life, Christ comes and guides me by my right hand. Apart from Him my feet would have surely stumbled. As it is, the Lord is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
As you read Psalm 73, be reminded that when the Christian life gets hard and you are tempted to walk with the wicked, that you have a God who offers you His strength to persevere. Turn to him in prayer and be confident that God has made Himself a refuge for all who turn to Him.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier
God is not a localized deity. He is the sovereign ruler and judge of all nations. After the recounting of the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel gives the oracles of God against Judah’s four neighbors.
The Ammonites rejoiced over the destruction of the temple, God’s dwelling place, and conquering Israel’s land, God’s promised possession. The Moabites scoffed at the holiness of Israel, God’s chosen people. The Edomite’s acted in revenge toward Israel, resisting God’s use of Israel as his instrument against them. The Philistines acted in vengeance because of deep-rooted hatred against Israel. There is no doubt that these nations were being judged due to their many sins. They were prideful, idolatrous, and variously immoral. We can read that in the other prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos. However, it is interesting to note that Ezekiel focuses on the fact that these nations were going against God by going against his people, Israel.
God knows the sins of Israel and judges them fairly for their covenant unfaithfulness. But then God judges the nations for coming against his people as if they were God. There is a very comforting notion of God as defender of Israel. Furthermore, by opposing God’s people and what God had promised to them, they were fighting against God himself. And he was going to show them very clearly that he is the only true God.
One might be able to see this situation with the analogy of a parent and a rebellious child. The child clearly disobeys the parent. The parent appropriately disciplines the child and then hears that the siblings are snickering, stealing his toys, and maliciously trying to carry out their own form of punishment on the child. Of course, any good parent would intervene to begin defending the child and also re-establishing the proper role distinction of the parent in the household.
God has made a covenant with his people and will forever love his people. Because of his love, he will chastise them, instruct them, and burden them so that they are brought back to walking in righteousness. It may look like he has completely forgotten his promises and he is intent on ruin of his people. Taking advantage of the situation, the world may rejoice, malign, and unjustly persecute his people further. But in these times when God has put his firm hand on his people, it should be a comfort that he will also deal with those who come against his people. They will not be forever unaccountable. Like the protection and nurture of a parent to a child, God will defend and care for his people.
May we see that He is God, He is good, and His promises are true.
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster