By Robert Halsey Pine
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73 NRSV).
It is not easy for us to resist the temptations of the world and follow our Lord God. Only God can truly satisfy us, yet we search for other satisfaction. Asaph, the psalmist here, is dealing with this dilemma. He begins this Psalm by saying, “Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Asaph recognizes the challenges before all of us. We are lured by Satan to think that there is no benefit in keeping a clean heart. The psalmist says, “For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning.” He wonders why the wicked always seem to be at ease and prosperous. But he knows that through constant faith, continual hope and praising the Lord, that his soul will be rescued.
It is a struggle for us to make the Lord God our refuge. When trouble comes, we are not acquainted with the ways of the Lord, and we feel helpless. We must be so near to God that like Asaph, we will always be telling others about His works. This is our life together, to be near the Lord praising Him and sharing His love and grace with each other. Can we do this and still function in the natural world? We won’t know if we don’t try.
In our natural life, when we go out on a limb, there is always someone there ready to saw off that limb. There is no security when we don’t know where the saw is and who will use it. When we go out on a limb for God, He is out there with us. After all, He knows the tree and its limbs well, for He made them. He knows us also, for he made us. He will protect us from the saw of the natural world. If we should lose hold and fall, He will catch us. The key is always to be near to God. We then can tell of all His works.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.