Have you noticed in life that how we view circumstances impacts our attitude?  When life is good, it is often easy to follow God.  But, how do I respond when I find myself questioning the fairness of God because of my circumstances?

This is an age-old dilemma.  In fact, it is the problem addressed by Asaph in Psalm 73 almost 3,000 years ago. In this passage, Asaph comes to realize he is deeply troubled by his perception of what he feels is God’s lack of fairness due to the prosperity of the wicked.  He realizes that this tension in him has allowed him to become bitter toward God.  Notice how he summarizes this in Ps. 73:21-22,

“When my soul was embittered . . . I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.”

Asaph describes himself as a person lacking sense as though he were a mere animal in his understandings of God’s ways!  His perspective had made him angry and his life reflected it.  Have you ever felt that way?  I know that I have.

What do we do when we struggle with our perception of the fairness of God?  Asaph gives us insight today for this problem in verses 16-17. It is there that he was able to discern the truth and regain his perspective.  Notice what he said,

“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.”

Asaph had a change of heart when he went into the Temple.  It was there that he talked with God, meditated and wrestled with his concerns.  He does not answer why the wicked prosper, but he does realize their certain end.  As he ponders this further, he mentions three things for followers of God to remember in life regardless of circumstances to keep life in perspective.  In fact, these three things are critical for living life with a God-centered perspective no matter how hard or seemingly unfair our circumstances might be.  As I live life, I must remember three truths:

  1. “You hold me by the hand” (vs 23). He realizes that in the midst of the challenges of life, God is intimately aware and involved with him. Truth number one is that we will have challenging times, but we will never fall because God is holding our hand!
  2. “You guide me” (vs 24). God is the one who is our Shepherd and cares for us enough to guide us in life through His Word.  The second truth is that I need to remember is that God is guiding me no matter how I “feel” about my circumstances when I live by His Word.
  3. “You will receive me to glory” (vs 24). Asaph remembers his certain destiny!  Truth number three is that upon death, God will receive me into his presence. This realization gives meaning, purpose, and hope in life.

As Asaph regained his perspective in view of God’s truth, it caused him to say:

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26

Asaph’s perspective and attitude are once again in line with the truth.  His circumstances did not change, but his perspective did and that changed his attitude. His renewed view on life caused him to recommit himself to God as the number one allegiance of his heart.

Father, thank you for giving us your Word which is the truth and I can find my footing in life by standing upon it.  There are times in life where things do not seem fair, but I can bank on the truth that in the midst of these times: 1) You are with me holding my hand so that I will not fall.  2) You will constantly guide me in life as I live by your Word.  3) I have a great future and hope because You will receive me into your presence at death.  Father help me to “see life” as You do so that my perspective is in line with the truth.  Thank you for loving me so!



“Do What Is Right!”

King David made a simple statement 3,000 years ago that was easy to understand and apply, but today has become uncertain and controversial.

Psalm 37:3 says,

“Trust in the Lord and do what is right!

As I was reflecting on this passage this morning a number of things stood out to me.  The first is that reliance on, or faith in, God should result in me doing what is right.  My faith needs an appropriate expression.  In this case, David is describing God’s Word as THE truth that I need to embrace and live out. My will and my feelings are to yield to the will of God as laid out in His Word to us…the Bible.

Second, did you notice that to “do what is right” implies that there is a standard of right and wrong that we are to conform to?  Our culture today tells us that we do not need to live up to some imposed external standard of right or wrong because we each have to determine what is right and wrong for us individually.

Timothy Keller profoundly summarizes our Post-Christian culture when he said,

“Throughout history, all cultures believed the truth was something outside (the person). Truth, ‘capital T,’ was something out there (outside the individual). And in here (in us), we had feelings . . . When you found out what the truth was, you brought your feelings in line with it . . . We are the first culture in the history of the world in which we are being told . . . you find the truth inside; you go inside (yourself) to find the truth. And then you come out and you tell everybody you have to accommodate me because I found the truth. This is who I am. This is what’s right or wrong for me. There’s never been a culture in history like that. It’s the complete reverse of all other cultures.”

Today we are being led astray by the false narrative that truth is something I determine for myself. As Christians, we believe truth is something God has given us and we need to understand it and conform to it, no matter how I feel about it.

Father, thank you for caring enough about me that you not only provided your Son to be my Savior, but you also gave me THE TRUTH to live by as one of your children. Help me to better understand your Word and give me the courage to unashamedly live by it.

“Choose Trust”

This morning is was impressed with something David said in Psalm 31:14-15.  This passage says, But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand…”

The words “but I” are in a place of strong contrast in the Hebrew.  David is making a statement about something.  What he is about to say is in strong contrast to what he had just said in the previous verses.  What did he say earlier?

The context shows that his life is seemingly out of control and there are some who are even plotting to kill him!  He is the anointed king.  How can this be happening?  I have had bad days but never have experienced someone trying to assassinate me.

How would you have responded to that situation?  Would you doubt God’s promises? Would you panic and worry?  I am sure I would have done all of those things.  I am sure David was not passive in the situation, but he mentioned where his heart was in the midst of these extreme circumstances when he said: “But I, trust in you O Lord.” In spite of his circumstances, he chose to trust.

It seems that as David thought about his situation he was able to rest in the truth that God cared for him and would protect him.  Instead of reacting as those around him in panic, he realized that he needed to trust God because he knew God’s promises to him were true and that God had shown him multiple times that He loved him.

Why could David trust God?  He knew God was in control.  He said, “my times are in your hand.”  What does that mean? Gerald Wilson states,

“The use of ‘time/times’ in this sense is more than a remark on the passage of time. Underlying the psalmist’s surrender is an understanding of life as made up of a series of decisive moments in which a person can take either appropriate or inappropriate direction, depending on how he or she responds to the circumstances.”

So what is the appropriate action for you and me as we understand our times are in His hand?  When David faced difficult circumstances in life, he chose to trust God.  In the same way, I need to trust God and live life with a yielded heart to His leadership in my life.  Why? My times are in His hand.  I need to be active in my obedience, but I also need to rest in the knowledge that my very life with all of its details are under His control.  In addition, I need to resist the temptation of trying to help God by “fixing things” I don’t agree with in His leadership of my life.

Father, thank you for loving me so much that you care about me and all the details in my life.  I can trust you like David did.  When life seems hard or out of control, help me to trust you and say, “You are my God.  My times are in your hand.”  Help me live a yielded life so that you can change me and accomplish through me everything you desire.  I want to be a moldable vessel for you use.  Help me to chose to trust you in spite of my circumstances.