Out of Focus
Day 237: Out of Focus
Psalm 73:1–2 (AV) — 1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
I want to think that I keep a pure heart, with pure motivations and meditations. Truly God is good to those who are of a clean heart. But He is good to us even when we lose focus, and our perspective gets distorted. He knows our hearts and knows when they get askew.
Can you hear that in the writer's voice? "Truly God is good...to such as are of a clean heart, but as for me..."
Have you ever had a "But as for me," moment?
This Psalm is written from a heart that had lost clarity, and discouragement clouded the writer's view of God. We sometimes filter life through the lens of impatience and envy. We question why others prosper so well, and we struggle. We shoot out our bottom lip, cross our arms, and say, "It just isn't fair."
That's what this writer expresses. Notice how his eyes were on his fellow rather than God:
Psalm 73:3 (AV) — 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalm 73:5 (AV) — 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
Psalm 73:7 (AV) — 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
This child of God looked at the wicked and noticed their prosperity, their lives free from troubles, and their heart's desires were granted.
"Why God," you can hear him say. "Why do You bless them, and I struggle so?"
He goes further in his grumbling,
Psalm 73:13–14 (AV) — 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
God, why can't I have that kind of life? Why go through all the trouble of living a righteous and holy life, and suffer when I could have it like them?
Psalm 73:17 (AV) — 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
When the writer got into the presence of God, he understood. It was a light bulb moment. It just clicked. I'll spend eternity with the Creator of the universe and enjoy the perfection of His creation, without sin, Satan, and death. What do they get?
Psalm 73:18 (AV) — 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
Because the wicked refuse to turn to God, they are cast down into destruction.
Psalm 73:20 (AV) — 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
The wicked are living the life they create for themselves in this life. It's called an "image" in this verse. God will despise it. Why? Because they built a life that did not include God. Their life rejects the plan God has for them found in His Son Jesus Christ. They were made in the image of God, but they deny that image. Therefore, God will reject them. They are leaving the dream now, but they will wake up to find their worst nightmare: they will be judged for their sin and their refusal to accept Christ's payment on their behalf.
The writer was brought back to the correct view. His heart had once been focused on God, but he got his heart focused on those around him. He took his eyes off of God. It cost him his peace until he got it right with God.
Psalm 73:26 (AV) — 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
To keep our focus correct, we must remember that God is our portion. That phrase means He is our inheritance. We get God. Let them have the world. We get God. Ultimately, we'll get this world, too. Just not now.
I do not know what better world, in many respects, there could be than this, so far as material nature is concerned. It is so full of the beauty and loveliness that God pours upon it on every side. It is a wonderful world.
But I could not reconcile myself to the idea that this world would be Heaven. It will do well enough for the thousand years of glory if it shall literally be that we shall reign with Christ upon it during the millennial age. But it is a drossy thing, and if it is ever to be the scene of the new heavens and the New Earth, it must first pass through the fire. The very smell of sin is upon it, and God will not use this globe as a vessel unto honor until he has purified it with fire as he once did with water. -- C. H. Spurgeon