Psalm 73:5, 21, 23-25
I’d like to read to you three verses from Psalm 73. The psalmist says to the Lord
Yet I am always with you.
You hold me by my right hand.
With your guidance you lead me,
and afterward, you will take me to glory.
Who else is there for me in heaven?
And besides you, I desire no one else on earth. (Psalm 73:23-25)
Here the psalmist speaking in the seventy-third psalm speaks about a familiar topic and that is he is expressing his dismay and even his resentment over the success of wicked people in this world. He tells the Lord as he prays to him that it seems that those who have no interest in God or in his word seem to be at peace. They seem to be fearless. He says they’re not plagued like the rest of mankind.
So that the psalmist really here appears to be scolding God, rebuking him for allowing this state of affairs where his faithful, obedient children are downtrodden and caused to suffer while those who don’t care about God seem to just get richer and healthier and happier all the time. But then the psalmist comes to his senses. It’s as though he’s stopping in mid-sentence and he thinks What am I doing? What am I saying this to God for? And then he admits, he makes a confession to the Lord he said My heart was bitter. I was unthinking and ignorant.
And again I think there’s something familiar about this because it’s so easy for any of us to look around the world and see that certain people seem to be making out just fine and they don’t seem to have any interest in God or any interest in his word. No concern about living as his own children and showing our relationship to him in their relationships with other people.
And so we also might complain and feel resentful when we think about what’s going on in our world with the length of this pandemic we’re putting up with. With all of the political conflict, the volatile atmosphere we’re living in now, and where we may have strong feelings about certain people in public life and we wonder why do they seem to go from one legislative victory to another? It’s not fair.
Of course, as we think about those who truly are on opposite of God and don’t want anything to do with him that comes at a terrible cost. And the psalmist realized that too. That those who we might resent are really to be the objects of our pity and concern.
And then the psalmist testifies to something really very beautiful. He identifies the greatest thing of all. And again I’ll read these words the psalmist says to God “yet, I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.” What a comforting thought that is for us too. Even the strongest, toughest person sometimes needs somebody to hold hands with. And that’s what God does for us all along the way. We know he’s not distant and unconcerned about us. He’s right next to us. He walks with us and he holds our hand in the midst of our sorrows and disappointments and discouragement.
Then he says “with your guidance you lead me.” That’s his word. That’s how he guides us and leads us. And then the psalmist says “afterword you will take me to glory.” Isn’t that a concise beautiful summary of our lives with God? That he’s with us always. That he holds us by the hand and strengthens us and comforts us when we need it. And when our time on earth has ended you’ll receive us into glory all through his Son Jesus Christ who lived the perfect life for us and who was not resentful of the wicked, but who loved them and reached out to them with the precious news of the Gospel.
So that’s the Gospel that we have. And when we hear that we know that everything the psalmist confesses of God here is very true. That he’s with us, that he supports us, and despite us he will take us into glory with him in heaven one day.
God bless you our day and remain faithful to him.