Sunday, August 17, 2014

Psalm 73

Despite a chilly autumn-like morning, Pastor Brad welcomed us warmly. He noted that today's message would be on Psalm 73.

1. There will be a picnic next Sunday and a fund raiser at the Town Hall.
2. Walt gave us an update on the new building. The walls are up. Great weather all week and a lot done. If you go to the site to see what is happening, please be sure to put on a hardhat for safety reasons.

The trio led us in worship this morning beginning with One Scarred Hand. (thank you, Ken, Chuck and Darlene.) We then joined them  in "Worthy of Worship" plus several additional songs from the blue hymnal.

During the offering the trio gave us "I Believe In Miracles" with its summing up, "I believe in miracles for I believe in God."

There are heart-breaking prayer needs in our church family and other needs we lifted up this morning.

Psalm 73

How many of you have ever experienced a spiritual low? Not just a garden variety spiritual low, but a much more profound, dark brooding questioning sense... A spiritual low where you've got serious questions for God.

Verse 2: But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

Verse three explains how this came about. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

This is something that didn't just pop up. It's been a gnawing issue for some time. The writer states how unfair it is, as if to say, "I've followed you all my life and yet my life is a burden, and these wicked people over here live carefree lives with success in everything they do, and don't seem to have any penalties for their behavior.

Verse 13 sums it up: Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.

It happens in real life that we're tempted to see things this way when bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

Asaph is about ready to throw in the towel regarding his faith. He is frustrated by the unfairness of it all, and the futility of being a good person when people who don't play by God's rules seem to have everything go their way.

Verse 17 becomes a turning point, though, as he has an insight in God's sanctuary (a church service), gaining a new perspective: ...till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.

Brad illustrated what slippery ground is with an anecdote from his trip to the Arctic. While on his snowmobile those 1500 miles he did fine, didn't get hurt. But while walking to a building in Churchill his feet flew out from under him on a sheet of ice, and it hurt. Fortunately it wasn't more serious, but slippery ground is dangerous ground.

What the Psalmist spells out is that we must be very careful about envying those who are far from God. We don't see the whole picture. At least not God's perspective. We need to be reminded of their final end, and that there is an alternate destiny for the righteous.

If you're one who is on slippery ground, doubting God's goodness, you can make a choice to move up to higher, solid ground in Christ.

In Psalm 73 Asaph says he's making his choice to put all his eggs in one basket, in God's basket, for as Billy Graham was fond of saying, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul."

Brad underscored the location of Asaph's insight. It took place in the house of God.

He then closed with Jesus' words in Mark 10:29-30:

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

Whatever sacrifice you make for the sake of the Gospel is worth it.

* * * *
A quick peek at the peak of the new building....

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