PSALMS 73:6-11: “Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” NKJV
OBSERVATION: As we view the recent events on the world screen everyone is asking this question – “Is this the beginning of World War III?” Each night we listen to the atrocities that are being committed under the direction of an ungodly dictator. Is this the beginning of the end? Why do evil rulers like Putin seem to prosper as they raise their insolent fists against God and the world?
My father served in the Army during World War II. He was part of a generation that experienced evil in an unprecedented way. When the war was over, when life began to return to normal once again, no one could imagine another Hitler on the world scene raising his insolent fist against God and the world. Yet, here we are once again. What I had only learned about in history class is now playing on the world stage.
Psalm 73 is a psalm of lament. It was written by a young singer, Asaph during the days of David and Solomon. Asaph feared God. Yet, he grew discouraged when he witnessed the prosperity of the ungodly. It was bad enough that they were prospering in their ungodliness. What really shook Asaph to the core was their total disregard for Jehovah.
- “They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Asaph, discouraged, dismayed by what he saw, did what so many of us do at times like these. We begin to question our faith, God’s faithfulness, and why we persist in a life of sacrifice and suffering when it seems so unfair!
- “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning.” Psalms 73:13-14 NKJV
We watch Putin kill innocent civilians. We know that in war Christians die in the same senseless violence as do unbelievers. As we watch this happen before our very eyes we can be tempted to feel like Asaph felt. It shakes our faith, brings fear to our front door, and the enemy shouts in our ears…
- “And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
If Psalm 73 ended there it would one of the most discouraging chapters in the entire Bible. Yet, something happened as Asaph began to spiral in doubt and discouragement.
He did not run from God – he ran to Him!
- “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me— Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.” Psalms 73:16-17 NKJV
I think we need to follow Asaph’s lead in this time of crisis. He could have continued to look only on the evil that he saw or he could enter the presence of God and look upon God’s Word. We need to take heed these days to make sure that the only information we are taking in is not from the nightly news or cable channel. When we face these difficult times we need to hear from God. We need to enter the sanctuary of His presence and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as we meditate upon His Word!
Asaph discovered something in the presence of God. What we see for the moment is not the final outcome in the end. God is still in control. Although the Lord allows evil men to rebel, they cannot do so without consequence. The Assyrian and Babylonian kings who ravaged Israel were judged for their wickedness and cruelty. The Third Reich was defeated and the nation of Israel was reborn. Even though we do not understand God’s timing and His ways, we can be assured of the final outcome through His faithfulness.
- “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.” Psalms 73:18-19 NKJV
I do not claim to know what God’s plans are through this present crisis. Is it the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38? Is it the stage being set for the rapture of the Church and the rise of the Antichrist? Or, is it just another evil ruler moving in the spirit of antichrist who will rise and fall? What I can say with certainty is that God is in control, His Word is true, and He is moving all of human history toward His end and objectives.
The Bible never promises that we will escape all the collateral damage of this life. All one has to do is read the annals of faith in Hebrews chapter 11 to see that this is not the case.
- “…Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still, others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,”. Hebrews 11:35-39 NKJV
We are among those who are not waiting for the promise, we have received the promise through Jesus Christ our Lord! If the Old Testament saints could walk in faith by simply looking for the promise, surely we can walk in faith having received the promise and the gift of the Holy Spirit! We need to turn our eyes and our hearts to the Lord! We need to fill our hearts with the promises of His Word! We need to begin to fulfill the call to preach the Gospel to all nations! We need to proclaim these abiding truths…
- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 NKJV
- “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Heavenly Father, during these urgent times, as we witness evil oppressing the innocent once again, help us to turn our eyes to You. Move us to our knees in prayer for Your peace. Move us to our feet to share the Gospel with everyone we can. And, move us to tangible acts of love and kindness to offer support to those who are fleeing tyranny and are in continual danger. Lord, we place ourselves in Your hands. Speak to our leaders, give wisdom and protection to those who stand for righteousness, and wrap Your arms around those who have lost precious loved ones in this time of crisis.
- “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all Your works.” Psalms 73:23-28 NKJV
In Jesus’ Name!