A Midweek Devotional - God's Goodness
In Zechariah 1:7-17, Zechariah received a vision from the Lord. He saw angels on horseback reporting back from their journeys that the nations around Judah were enjoying quiet rest. All the while, the people of Judah and Jerusalem were not enjoying the rest of peace. The Lord was mindful of the discrepancy, a truth that was meant to encourage the discouraged people of Jerusalem. We too are mindful of the discrepancy which exists between us and the non-Christians around us. But what do we do with that discrepancy, and how do we let it color our view of God’s goodness? Psalm 73 offers Godly counsel.
Wednesday, June 10th
Scripture Passage for Reflection - Psalm 73
Reflecting on the Text:
What does God’s goodness look like when directed toward His children? Should we define His goodness by the level of material prosperity we are experiencing? How about physical health and appearance? Popularity? Are we experiencing ease and luxury? Are these the way we define God’s goodness?
Maybe we are enlightened enough to know better than use those descriptors, but how do we respond when we look around at those who are not following Christ, and yet they are enjoying these “blessings?” We all struggle with these comparison games, whether we consciously engage in them or not. So did the psalmist.
The psalmist was honest enough to acknowledge that he looked around at others and envied their arrogant, prosperous ways. He saw the food they ate, the riches they amassed, and the power they wielded, and he wanted it. This wanting caused him to almost stumble…to almost lose his way. It led to a root of bitterness in his heart as he described in vv. 21-22. And the worst of it was that this root of bitterness was directed toward the Lord. With echoes of the serpent’s initial temptation ringing in the background, the psalmist looked around him and felt as if the Lord was holding out on him.
But then, in a beautiful turn of heart, the psalmist found his way. He found his way in the sanctuary of the Lord. It was in the place of worship, likely among the people of God, where the psalmist was able to discern their end, and maybe more importantly, his place. There, in worship, he was reminded that he was continually with the Lord and that the Lord held his right hand. (v. 23) There, in worship, the psalmist realized that God was his portion…that God himself was his prosperity.
In all of this movement, the psalmist models for the people of God how we are to deal with our envy of the ungodly, and how we are to rightly see and experience the goodness of God. So we go back to our original question: What does God’s goodness look like when directed toward His children? God’s goodness looks like His presence.
Questions for personal reflection:
Where are you in danger of stumbling when it comes to envying others and doubting God’s goodness?
Does your experience of worship make you long for material prosperity or the presence of the Lord?