Do you have a favorite Psalm? Mine is Psalm 73.
I grew up in a good home with parents who loved (and still love) God very much. Some of my earliest memories are those of being in Bible class on Sunday mornings and of watching my dad preach.
As I grew up, I compared what my parents taught me regarding God’s view of morality and right living with that of my friends, many of whom weren’t raised as I was.
Internally, I developed a very unhealthy envy of my friend’s carefree lifestyles that seemed so much easier than the one my parent’s advocated for me. Eventually, the “do what you want” philosophy of living won out over the “do what God wants” philosophy in my life, and I journeyed down that sordid road of pain for many years before coming to this realization: life may appear to be more easy when God’s moral compass is replaced with your own “do whatever you want to” attitude, but that’s an illusion. The pleasure is there to be had, but it’s temporary, and ultimately a lie.
Sinful living is like that carrot on a stick that leads the jackass down the road and eventually off a cliff … the chase may be fun as first, and you may get a nibble every once in a while, but it doesn’t stay fun, and it won’t end well either.
That’s the message of Psalm 73. A guy named Asaph observed the wicked people around him seemingly without struggles or a care in the world, and he became jealous of them. He came to view serving God as a burden rather than a blessing, and believed he could bless himself by living according to his own rules like his rowdy neighbors better than God could bless him by continuing to do God’s will.
Like me, Asaph, over the course of many years, came to realize how stupid it was to think that way … how deceived a person has to be to think that way.
Ultimately, my life got off track because I failed to trust God … to trust that He’s there, and that He loves humanity and actually wants to bless us.
Like Asaph, God has helped me overcome my mistrust of Him, and Psalm 73 is my life in a nutshell.
I have the privilege of preaching from the Psalms at Lake Merced soon, and haven’t decided which I’d like to work from yet. Maybe Psalm 73, but I’m thinking I may want to save that for some other time.
If you have a favorite, let me know. I’m going to do some reading today.
In other news, things with the new college group are going great. Eight people were at Borders’ coffee shop last night for our study – several new people. Please pray for us as we continue to grow, reach out, and get people plugged in to the Lake Merced congregation. 🙂