Hi everyone, Rob here. Today I read these stunning verses in Psalm 73.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing 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 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
The Psalmist (a chap called Asaph apparently) has been wrestling with jealousy. He saw the wealthy, the ease of their lives, their good health and wondered if he’d obeyed God in vain. Eventually he gains an eternal perspective and comes to realise that wealth is temporary but God is forever, therefore, it is far better to have God. In the end, He alone is enough for the Psalmist.
But is God enough for us? The key verse to me in 25: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Really! Earth has nothing he desires besides God? What about a lifetime of great sex? Or a flash house with automatic black out curtains? What about the latest Corvette? Dinners cooked by those great TV chefs? The fact is we all have desires for intimacy, comfort, satisfaction and that kind of thing, but behind those desires, deeper than those desires is the desire to be known and loved by God. That’s what Asaph is getting at. Outside of having God those desires for earthly comforts are utterly meaningless. If God is the strength of our heart then nothing else and no one else will meet our hearts needs. Not even a Corvette!
But how do we avoid the envy that Asaph experienced and that we know so well? How do we discern what is a gift from God and what is a distraction? How do we stop a love of good coffee, sexual intimacy and travel (insert your own loves/passions here) becoming idols that block our hearts from true worship and surrender to Jesus? The only thing I know that helps me is continual dialogue with my King. A continual bringing to him of the days events, thoughts, desires, possibilities and dreams. A continual asking for his thoughts, his eyes, his ears and his heart to be mine. It’s a dialogue that needs to be fought for (see last post) and practiced. By dialogue I also mean listening, silence and solitude when possible. I also mean reading Scripture and opening my life up to others for prayer and counsel. It’s hard to keep up! But it’s so worth it when I do. It leads to freedom, peace and joy because I can be confident that I’m in Christ’s presence and open to his leading when I’m in dialogue with him.
This Psalm reflects an area of spiritual battle for me – for God to be enough, for God to be the strength of my heart, for Christ to be my refuge and to be the source and focus of all my desires. May we know the intimacy with Jesus that Asaph is describing here. May our hearts be filled with His strength because it is so good to be near God.