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When Failing Leads to Faith: Psalm 73

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“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God, then I discerned their end…  My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:16-17; 26

 Asaph is the author of Psalm 73, and he writes with raw vulnerability. He admits to his jealousy of those around him who appear to prosper; yet grows despondent as he internally struggles with doubt of God’s goodness. He ponders his efforts to live righteously and pursue God as being in vain. Effectively, he is declaring God as untrustworthy. However, he admits he has failed to seek God’s wisdom in his circumstances, and once he does, his heart and mind change their tune.

Although in today’s culture we are constantly updated with the external accomplishments and experiences of people we follow on social media, we cannot know their internal struggles. Asaph complains in verses three through nine as he lists all the ways the wicked people around him are doing well and it just doesn’t seem fair. He reflects a heart of jealousy and discontentment in his own life since the worldly people are prospering regardless of living a life of sin. Asaph demonstrates what most of us face, which is the misbelief that God is not doing what is best for us.

My appreciation for Asaph grows in the transition between his resentful rant from the first half of the psalm into his confession and realignment to God the latter half of this passage. I think Asaph would advise us to not be discouraged by someone else’s highlight reel. He admitted that he almost stumbled as he had his eyes fixed on the prosperity of those around him. It wasn’t until he came to his senses and sought wisdom “in the sanctuary of God” (Psalm 73:17) that his eyes were opened to the truth of God’s goodness.

Avoid having a heart of discontentment like Asaph described in the beginning of this psalm. This is a lifelong war, and the battle begins in your mind. You must take every thought captive and make it obedient to God (1 Cor. 10:5). Never forget how God is sovereign, and he promises to do what is best for you. The thing is you don’t get to decide what is best for you. You don’t get to decide if you’ll get the job or promotion. You don’t get to decide if you’re fertile or not. You don’t get to decide who likes you or approves of you. You don’t get to decide if you get sick or healed. There are unlimited cases where you are out of control. I believe God is most pleased with us when we recognize this truth and invite him to guide us because he gives us these tough situations to sanctify us. He doesn’t want us to suffer, but he always uses the struggle to simultaneously mold us into his likeness and bring himself glory.

It’s true that God does things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), but he ultimately does things for his purpose and for his glory. Just as one man was given sight so that everyone would know the One who gives sight (John 9), God can use you to be a vessel to demonstrate to the world his glory. Let him use your circumstances to show off how he guides and strengthens those who love him. Asaph explains the necessity of being near to God so he can be sheltered from the enemy of his heart and mind (Psalm 73:28). It is only through humble obedience in trusting God by intentionally and regularly being in the Word and spending ample time in prayer that we can overcome our failing flesh and heart to live by faith.

Posted by Laura Rogers with

The Secret to a Satisfying Life: Psalm 90

The man or woman who has found joy in Jesus isn’t desperately searching for joy anymore, but desperately doing anything and everything to have more of him. They now see every desire and longing through the lens of having already discovered and secured their greatest treasure.”


-Marshall Segall

            Have you ever run out of things to pray about? It sounds silly, but sometimes I get stuck on what or who to pray for. When this happens, I can always turn to the book of Psalms to guide my prayers. Psalm 90 has been a tried and true psalm for my prayer life since it is one of the most poignant psalms about life with an eternal perspective. The psalmist gives a powerful acknowledgment to God’s authority over life and time.

Creation, life, and death are the themes the author draws out in these seventeen verses. The author reflects on creation, reminding us of God’s authority over the lands he formed and the generations he planned to exist. Another reminder follows this to point out God’s ability to wipe out his beloved people, which instills in us a reverence for our fearful, almighty God. Then praise rises in the form of gratitude for life as one experiences the afflictions of life in a broken world. Finally, the psalmist closes the prayer by asking for a blessing of wisdom and favor in their work for as long as God grants them life.

           Something strange and beautiful I experience as I read through various psalms is reading the psalmists’ words but feeling as though I have already prayed the exact sentiment to God or have already written that thought in my journal.  The creator of Psalm 90 writes, “we bring our years to an end like a sigh.” Anyone else feel this? Be honest- like me, you welcomed 2018 with a sigh of relief that 2017 was over, right?  As each year ends, I like to reflect on God’s protection and provisions encountered throughout the year. My list of the day’s occurrences from my planner or the detailed weekly recap in my journal highlight God’s faithfulness to me day in and day out. However, to my shame, there are many days where I felt that God’s fullness of joy had escaped me. Many days I failed to live righteously. I didn’t live as though I had found the greatest joy or that Jesus the greatest treasure. Over the last few months, God has graciously worked on me. As I have grown in the discipline to sacrifice my sleep to meet with him every morning, I’ve developed a deeper relationship with God that I didn’t know was possible. I desperately want you to experience it for yourself. Nothing is sweeter than this time with Jesus each morning. My joy has returned to me. Despite bad days at work and general disappointments typical to life, I only grow more satisfied and joyful in God.

Each year is a testament to God. We are guaranteed “trials of various kinds” (James 2:1), but there’s a secret to not letting these challenging experiences break us. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom… Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:12, 14). Did you get that? The secret to a happy life is satisfaction in God. No job, title, relationship, accomplishment, or whatever may be your heart’s deepest desire can truly satisfy you. Only the Bread of Life and the Living Water can fill and sustain you. This requires a relationship with God. The psalmist tells us when this satisfaction should occur: “in the morning”. If you start your day going straight to work, you will be unsatisfied. Does your alarm go off and you immediately get ready for the gym? You’ll be unsatisfied. Do you open your eyes and directly begin taking care of little ones? You’ll be unsatisfied. In the morning you need to do the only thing that will bring you the lasting joy that will sustain you for the remainder of the day. You must meet with the Lord alone. You must read his word and pray. Only then can you do the work that he has for you and be fulfilled in it.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us” (Psalm 90:17). God gives us work, but it is for his glory. God gives us bodies to maintain, but it is for his glory. God gives us people to take care of and love, but it is for his glory. We are made to work but make sure your priorities are pointing you in the right direction. Remember to have an eternal perspective because this is just another year on this earth, yet it is a vapor in light of eternity. Brothers and sisters, 2018 will be full of things trying to steal your joy, but if you begin each morning being filled by God, you will be satisfied. My prayer for you as you enter 2018 is that you will stop looking for satisfaction in people or things or your accomplishments and that you’ll recognize you’re able to have full joy and satisfaction in a relationship with God.

Posted by Laura Rogers with

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