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Posts Tagged ‘psalm 73’

 

Psalm-73_26

 

Have you met Asaph? He was one of the worship leaders appointed by King David. Twelve of the psalms are credited to him or his sons, including #73.

Read that particular psalm in a modern translation or paraphrase, and you’ll think Asaph is a present-day poet.   He writes about pretentious, arrogant people who wear the latest fashions–how they’re pampered, overfed, and full of hot air.

“People actually listen to them—can you believe it?” he complains (vs. 6-10, The Message).

Asaph found his attention drawn to these people who seemed to have it made. He lost sight of true reality for a moment–until he refocused on God and his ways.   Asaph realized that many who appear confident and successful are actually on a slippery slope toward disaster. They do not know God.

Tucked at the end of Psalm 73 Asaph celebrates a number of glorious blessings we enjoy as children of the Most High God:

  • He is as close as a father holding his son or daughter by the hand
  • With perfect wisdom he guides us through life
  • When our earthly lives are completed, he’ll take us to heaven to be with him in heaven
  • He is our strength—dependable and empowering
  • He is our portion forever (vs. 23-26)

These are precious gifts that money cannot buy. God—our constant companion, our perfect guide, our omnipotent strength. Simply affirming such attributes can energize my spirit and provide new resolve.

But one concept does leave me puzzled: “God, my portion.”

A bit of research revealed that the statement, “My portion forever,” is a metaphor taken from an ancient custom of the Jews. When the patriarch of a family died, they would divide the inheritance among the sons. Each would receive his allotted portion, and have his basic necessities taken care of.

The psalmist is proclaiming that GOD is his portion. That portion includes the Lord’s presence, power, strength, peace, joy—all supplied in generous measure. And those are just a few of his many attributes, blessing us with sublime goodness.

Unlike the inherited portion of ancient times, all of God’s children receive all of him, not just a part.

And God as our portion will never diminish. Never could we exhaust all of these attributes. He will be our gracious, caring, empowering Heavenly Father forever.

“As for me, it is good to be near God,” the psalmist continued (v. 28).   He’s saying, to live with God is good for us.  

Oh, yes.  To rest secure upon him as our foundation is the epitome of peace.

To allow him to work through us to fulfill his perfect plan is the essence of fulfillment.

To know that heaven awaits is the height of security.

God as our portion means complete wholeness and absolute contentment.

Who. Could. Want. Anything. More?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Like Asaph, Father, I can lose my focus on what is truly important and valuable. Thank you for this timeless psalm that draws me back to you and the splendorous gifts you offer. Thank you for nurturing me so that I may affirm with Asaph: “ Earth has nothing I desire besides you” (v. 25). Amen—so be it.

(Photo credit:  www.susancady.com.)

 

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 frazzled-career-woman

 

Ever had a pending appointment you didn’t want to keep? A person you didn’t want to encounter? A task you didn’t want to complete?

Some days are filled with unpleasantries. And if I’m not careful, it’s an easy slide down into a gloomy funk.

How does that happen?

My thoughts provide the slippery slope…

What a lousy day this is going to be. I sure hope So-and-So is in a good mood for that meeting this afternoon. Last time he was as irritable as Oscar the Grouch. And while I’m looking forward to that (Ha-Ha!), look at this impossible to-do list. Talk about crazy. And then there’s our double-date tonight with that new couple from church. I am in no mood to be sociable. All I want to do is go home, put on my sweats, and park on the couch!

 Can you identify my problem here? I’m focusing on the negative. The solution is obvious: turn my thoughts to the positive.

But some days that is next to impossible. It’s as if the problems and challenges are shouting giants, jumping up and down, with arms waving no less. They block any view of the positive.

Making the effort to think about praiseworthy things works for a while, but those negative thoughts often return, unbidden and oh, so unwanted. To make matters worse, I feel guilty for allowing those giants access to my mind and spirit.

Why can’t I get rid of them once and for all?

Maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe God wants me to become more watchful, to learn perseverance, and to practice proactive behaviors, like gratitude and praise.

But one strategy for fighting the giants is particularly important: Get out my sword.

I’m talking about the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Scripture is full of wisdom and encouragement for doing battle, like Psalm 73.

Asaph writes about his challenge: arrogant and wicked people (v. 3) who scoff and speak malice (v. 8).

“What is going on here?” he writes. “Is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store. The wicked get by with everything; they have it made…When I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache” (vs. 11-14, The Message).

Sounds like the giants of negativity had been pestering Asaph, too.

But at the end of the psalm, Asaph affirms what he knows about God and his ways:

 

“You [God] hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

And afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

But God is the strength of my heart

And my portion forever.”

(Psalm 73:23-26)

 

I need to meditate on Asaph’s affirmations and make them my own:

  1. My loving Heavenly Father holds me by the hand, offering protection and security.
  1. He guides me with wisdom, especially through his Word, infusing me with comfort and strength.
  1. God gives me perspective for my earthly troubles as I look forward to blissful eternity with him.
  1. He is all I need.

 

Thank you, Asaph. I’m going to memorize those verses so they’re ready to draw like a sword—on a moment’s notice!

 

(photo credit:  www.ideas.tome.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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