Psalm 73 is identified as a psalm of Asaph. The descendants of Asaph were Levites and specifically temple musicians. The writer of the psalm struggled with a common complaint—what value is there in being good? He looked at the seeming success and careless life of the wicked and was moved to wonder in verse 13 “… in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.”
In his cynicism, life appeared to be a “piece of cake” for the wicked and conversely, difficult and sacrificial for those seeking to obey God’s word. Fortunately, he realizes that speaking this way would “have betrayed the generation of your children” and that he had become like a “brute beast.” The resolution of his bitterness came when he entered the presence of God in the sanctuary. Verse 23 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.” When he entered the temple to engage in his inheritance of worship, he rediscovered his joy.
Hebrews 6 reminds us that it is impossible to please God without faith. However, saving faith consists of two indispensable facets. First, we must believe that he exists. Second, we must believe that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. The vast majority of mankind realizes there is a God. What they forget is that he is active in our lives—that he responds to us when we seek him.
When we focus on the cost of following Yeshua our eyes are often diverted from the inexpressible joy and satisfaction that come from serving him and walking in his presence. This wrong focus causes us to concentrate on our trials and pain. The reward of serving Yahweh evaporates. It is like buying our favorite ice cream but neglecting to enjoy it because we are obsessing over the few dollars it cost.
Bill Johnson recently said that mourning creates two divergent results in the believer—for some, unbelief and resistance. For others, the experience of His presence. When the three women reported that they had seen the risen Messiah, the apostles couldn’t believe them. This despite numerous times Yeshua had told them he would die and rise on the third day. In their sorrow they had forgotten the reward of faith. Thus, instead of joy at the good news, they responded with unbelief.
As we walk these 40 days of change each one is an opportunity to review the blessings that God constantly brings into our lives. Even in our trials His faithfulness never wavers and the joy and reward of living in His Kingdom grows exponentially. As the Psalmist concludes in Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
John M Conrad