Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Psalms 73:22-26 -- On the Amazing Within

"So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
Psalms 73:22-26

This is even more interesting when you know why the Psalmist is calling himself a beast.  At the beginning of the Psalm, he says that he was envious when he saw the prosperity of the wicked.  He looked at them and said that they don't have troubles like other men, and they are more successful than everyone else... he believed that he had made himself clean for nothing, because he was suffering and they were rich.
... And aren't we just like the Psalmist sometimes?  Don't we look out and see others getting rich doing bad things, and we can't see them suffering for it.  They seem, in fact, to be happy and thriving.  ... We wonder sometimes whether it is worth it.  It can seem pretty good in that great and spacious building when we're camped out by the tree--not even a roof over our heads.
But this whole Psalm is basically an apology to God for thinking that way.  Why?  Because when he went into the sanctuary of God, he realized what will happen to the wicked in the end.  I'm not sure if the sanctuary was a church or a temple, but either way, the Psalmist learned that the scorecard in life isn't about money at all.  The scorecard is only our hearts and our souls... ourselves, and what we've learned and who we have become.  If we learn wickedness and never repent, then that is what we will receive and how we will have rewarded ourselves.  If we get back what we put in, and our reward is ourselves in a lot of ways, then shouldn't we do everything we can to become the best we can possibly be?  It's a little like deciding to go to college.  What do we want out of it... why do we do it?  Is it because we want a little piece of paper that we can hang on the wall or show to people?  Or is it that at the end we want to know how to do things or know how to function in a certain job or career?  Isn't it to learn about ourselves and become someone we want to be?  And life is like that, but to an even bigger extent.  We came here not to just get a checkmark in the Earth box and say we had done it.  We came here to learn something, to become something.  And if we blow it off, or try to "cheat the system," the only people that are going to suffer the unfortunate consequences of ignorance and inability will be we ourselves.  ... We are here to become something amazing, and God is the one that can see that image of our ideal selves.  If we listen to him, and make the choices that he asks, we can get closer and closer to it.  If we don't, we are still becoming something through our choices, but it's like blowing off classes in college.  We might learn a little, but not what we could have with the Master Teacher.
The Psalmist was forgiven for thinking that it was pointless to be clean and obedient.  He realized that he could become so much more with God than he could amassing wealth.  God taught him and offered his counsel, and even when his strength failed and he was ready to give up, God stood by him.  He will do the same thing for us, if we accept his help.
Today, let's remember what we are trying to get out of this life, and let's look to God to help us find the amazing within ourselves. 

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