Looking at 2021 with Godly Eyes.
Asaph describes an experience that all of us have had at one time or other.
We look around and it seems like the bad guys are prospering and the good guys are suffering.
People who don’t know and love God, who are not concerned with living life God’s way, and who in many ways live selfish, arrogant lives, seem to be enjoying life free of burdens.
Meanwhile, believers suffer.
Who of us hasn’t at some point stepped back and wondered, “What is wrong with this picture?”
Is God good to His people?
Are His promises sure and trustworthy?
Then how do I understand the apparent success of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous?
Remember that Psalm 73 is a psalm, a poem about life’s most significant relationship: relationship with God.
Specifically, Psalm 73 is a lament. Here in great distress the psalmist cries out for God’s help.
As he does, his confusion, doubt, fear, envy, and anger are revealed.
Psalms such as this one bring balance to the way that we think about the blessing and prosperity promised us in other Scriptures.
They expose ways in which “Rejoice always” or “God is in control” can become numbing platitudes rather than a hard won, deep-seated confidence.
Psalm 73 models honesty regarding the struggle of he soul, and it models the process leading to resolution and peace.
I. Let us examine our focus (Ps 73:1-12)
Many of us interpret God’s goodness on the basis of our level of present, temporal, personal happiness.
Our view of hapiness as to do with things that are physical, external, and immediate.
It is hard to imagine that God could be good and not five tus a piece of the “good “ life.
There is not long term big picture eternal focus here in earth.
The tendency to define life as having to do with possessing and experience the created thing goes right ti the heart of the struggle with sin.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
The operative word in this verse is exchanged.
We tend to exchange God for His creation.
By doing this we define abundant life as a happy, preset experience of created things.
Whether that is physical health, friendships, family, financial success, or a sense of emotional well- being, our focus tends to slip from the Creator.
We exchange His glorious plan and purpose for the created blessing.
We exchange the GIVER for the GIFT.
If I focus on the “created thing,” and measure my life by how much of the “created thing”
I now possess and experience, then the work of God in my life is simply not going to make any sense.
The ease of the unbeliever will be a constant source of discouragement.
What is the “good” that God is doing in my life?
What is the “abundant life” of which scripture speaks?
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We too easily privatize and temporize the gospel
WE REDUCE ITS PURPOSE AND PROMISES TO WHETHER OR NOT WE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCE INDIVIDUAL HAPPINESS.
What is the chief good God is doing to deliver form my bondage to my own evil desires.
When Peter says that God has given us everything we need, he does not mean everything we need to fulfill our individual definition of happiness!
James 1 … 1 Peter 1 … Romans 5 Shows God will put hindrances in your life to produce in you the character that us his goal.
We many times fix our eyes on what can be seen. Their inability to face life in a fallen world is a direct result.
Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh. So then, death is at work in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak. For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you. Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Paul is fixing our eyes on what is not seen. (7-15)
If I tend to exchange hope in the Creator for hope in the created thing, then God must draw me away from security in anything else but him.
Paul does not fix his eyes on what is seen because the world of physical things is passing away (16-18)
Paul does not fix his eyes on what is seen because of the reality of eternity (17-18)
What God is doing now, in ordaining experiences for me, he has an ultimate goal: the eternal glory revealed in my life.
Life viewed from the perspective of eternity looks radically different.
Paul calls his life in this fallen world as a light and momentary affliction.
Are they servants of Christ? I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, many times near death. Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers among false brothers; toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and without clothing. Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
He can say this is a light affliction because he places all of these experiences on a scale and weighs them against another reality that far outweighs them against another reality, a reality that far outweighs all of these experiences out together.
When weighed against eternity and its glory of eternity and its glory this seems light and brief.