Focus; June 5, 2020

Psalm 73:1-3 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

The author of this Psalm, Asaph, was obviously one of the “good guys,” but he had a revelation from God that in a sense, his very goodness had led him into a trap. Seeing the “bad guys” and how good they seemed to have it in life, he envied them, and that is a trap indeed. Thankfully, God enabled him to gain an eternal perspective, so that he realized how fleeting temporal riches are, and how blessed it is to have eternal security. (verse 26) Verses 25-26 have been set to music, making a chorus I have loved for a long time. This whole Psalm seems very timely, with the envy and greed being displayed in the riots and looting, and people ransacking stores and walking off with various material goods, often torching what they can’t steal. Everything about it is sad, from the destruction and loss for those who see their life’s investment going up in flames, to the very people who are trading character and integrity for material goods. On top of that we have the wealthy “glitterati” who, rather than helping those who are suffering real loss, are bailing out the looters. The temptation to absolute disgust and despair is very real. We need to have the same revelation Asaph received, and understand that the things of God are all that matter in the end.

I will confess to being burned out on negative news. Not getting American TV, the Internet is my major news source, but yesterday I found I wanted anything but reports of what was going on and people talking about it. It was refreshing to find a video report of another Space-X success, with the main booster from a satellite launch being successfully landed on a drone ship for the fifth time, marking the first time a rocket has been reused that much. I wanted good news! Thinking about it, however, I realize that there is never any lack of bad news, because the devil and those serving him don’t rest. It’s just a matter of where I choose to place my focus. I am not to ignore the evil in the world, because that would mean failing to stand against it, and conversely to open myself to being deceived and destroyed by it. However, my focus is to be on God, who is indeed “the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” as Asaph says in verse 26.

Father, thank You indeed for this very timely Word. I do pray for Your will to be done, not only in the US but also in Japan, and Nigeria, and Pakistan, and even North Korea. Thank You for telling me so clearly over 20 years ago that there are indeed many things that are not as You want them to be, implying that everything will be worked out in the end. Help me rest, relax, and rejoice in that assurance, submitting to You and resisting the devil, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, even in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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