by Patty Morwood
One day I came across a psalm that instantly “talked.” Every line was rich with meaning for me. And oh, how I needed to be reminded of God’s economy of things.
Apparently I had long ago written in the margin of Psalm 73, “God’s sanctuary: the godly woman’s lens for life.” No other beckoning was needed. I put on my magnifiers and settled in with my pen and a cup of tea. This was going to be a slow meditation in search of a fresh, clean reset of perspective.
In the first verses I saw a common predicament that many Christian women live in: themselves saved by the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ, but living and working among unbelievers - being worn down and sawed off raw.
For the psalmist, the salve for his oppressed state-of-mind came when he walked into the sanctuary, presumably packed wall-to-wall with thirsty and needy worshipers just like himself.
It’s true for us, too, the company of righteous believers is where we can rest, finally distanced from gangs of the wicked. For five or six days of any given week the lives of the ungodly live large before our eyes; talk of evil, always punctuated with laughter and jokes, floats through the classroom, the office, and sometimes even the hallways of home.
Do you feel like this psalmist, whose feet nearly slip because he is surrounded by prosperous ungodly people and it eats away at him?
Do you smart because the wicked wear pride as an adornment, a badge of power?
Weep because your colleagues or husband or students actually believe God will not know their sin?
Feel trapped in cords of ugly when they mock God’s wisdom and even His existence?
If you are worn down spend time with Psalm 73. Its author is finally healed of his great burden when he walks into the sanctuary where he is surrounded by the redeemed, where words of life and the beauty of worship dance with joy to the highest heaven.
Finally he understands: God has really set the wicked in slippery places, though the psalmist felt that he himself was sliding down at an accelerating rate. The wicked – those who persistently deny God and disparage His universal rule – will one day, in a moment, meet destruction!
What is the healing truth in this contrasting description of two people-types, the redeemed and the degenerate? It is the shout of victory in verse 25, the literary climax of the song: a believer’s desire for none else but God, Himself. This is the clear lens that reshapes perspective and renews one’s ability to do more than cope.
Let me paraphrase that verse: there is none in heaven but God Almighty and none else upon earth that I desire!
You and I may feel our hearts cast down, our physical bodies barely surviving, but in reality God Himself holds our souls and God Himself strengthens our bones.
It is good for us to draw near to the Lord, GOD in the sanctuary of believers … and also privately in the Word, specifically in this case, by praying through Psalm 73. Experiencing the Lord’s Presence teaches us to breathe the good stuff: His love and power toward us and our Christian sisters the world over.
How can we help but declare His works into the pathways of the wicked? How can we resist the call to stand in the sanctuary with other downcast women? This is our life mission. This is our vocation … and this can be our sheer delight.
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