Part 4) Follow: Life of Obedience
“The call of Jesus is the call to come and die” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
- Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
- Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
- List out all that you are grateful for.
Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
Bible Text: PSALM 73
God Is My Strength and Portion Forever
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself,
you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and
my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
CONTEXT & COMMENTARY
The psalmist’s description of the elites of his day is almost timeless. They have healthy, sleek bodies; today we might call them the beautiful people (v.4). They have the powerful connections to avoid the burdensome responsibilities most people face (vv.5, 12). They have been what we call fortunate, but they take full credit, feeling superior to all beneath them (vv.6, 8). The root of it all is that they see no need for God.
The first step out of the sinkhole of resentment and envy is worship. The psalmist enters the sanctuary, and in the presence of the true God his sight clears and he begins to get the long-term perspective (vv.16-17).
Keller, Tim. The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms.
- (vv.1-15) How much can I identify with the psalmist’s envy of “the prosperity of the wicked” and that his pursuit of holiness has been “all in vain”?
- How does the reality of judgment and eternity bring me back to spiritual clarity?
- The power of this psalm is the psalmist’s candid admission of envy and frustration as he tries to live a holy life. Living a life of obedience is hard, and God doesn’t begrudge our complaints, envies and frustrations. He invites us to honestly dialogue with Him. The psalmist models this for us as part of the process to him returning to worship (vv.23-26). Pray an honest prayer to God, and end with worship and commitment.