The Lower Lights> March 2003|
Alan Jones, Editor
"Brightly beams our
From the lighthouse
But to us He gives the
Of the light along the
Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box
86-233, Westland, MI 48166
The Brown family serves God every day. Mr. and Mrs. Brown live godly and
have an excellent reputation in the community. They have been faithful to
their marriage vows for 20 years. Every Sunday morning, without fail, the
Brown family can be seen, Bibles in hand, getting into their car to go to
The Greens, who are neighbors of the Browns, live day to day without
thought of God. The present "Mrs. Green" is Mr. Greenís fourth wife in 20
years as he easily forgets his vows when he finds someone "younger and
prettier". The neighbors all know that Mr. and Mrs. Green spend every
Saturday night at bars and swingersí clubs. On Sundays, they get up late,
eat brunch and read the paper.
The Browns live in a small ranch house, while the Greens live in a
spacious two story house. The Browns drive an old Chevy Impala. The Greens
cruise through the neighborhood in a new Rolls Royce. Mr. Brown works at a
machine shop. Mr. Green is president of the local bank. The Browns
struggle to pay their childrenís frequent hospital bills. The Greenís
children are exceptionally healthy.
The Browns wonder, "If godliness pays, why do the wicked prosper?" The
Greens ask, "We are getting along better than those who are Christians.
Why do we need God?" Letís turn to Psalms 73 to answer their questions.
A Waste of Time?
Asaph was a man wholly devoted to God. David appointed him to be the chief
of the musicians who played before the ark of God (1 Chron. 16:5,7,37).
Not only did Asaph play music, but as a prophet, he wrote inspired songs
(2 Chron 29:30; see Psalms 50, 73-83). However, this righteous man almost
slipped away from God. Psalms 73 records his mental anguish as he viewed
the world around him. His understanding of God was that He was good to the
pure in heart (vs. 1). But, he observed the wicked prospering and he
wondered if this was really true.
It seemed to Asaph that the wicked did not have the problems of the
righteous. Since they were not plagued, they just sinned more. They even
defied God, saying, "How does God know what we are doing?" All the while,
it appeared to Asaph that they "have more than heart could wish." (vs.
As Asaph meditated on what he saw, he had serious doubts about where his
godly life was getting him. He thought, "If the wicked prosper,
righteousness is a waste of time. Why am I keeping my heart pure and my
hands clean? Why am I restricting myself by Godís laws? My devotion to God
is all in vain." (vs. 13-14).
It Is Good to Draw Near
After painfully wresting with his doubts for some time, Asaph finally
discovered the answer to his problem. He was troubled until he came into
the sanctuary of God (vs. 16-17). He finally realized that life must be
viewed from the standpoint of God and eternity rather than the standpoint
of man and time.
When Asaph went to the sanctuary of God and looked at the wicked through
Godís eyes, he saw a far different scene. Through human eyes, the
prosperity of the wicked seemed endless. But, their prosperity only lasted
for a blink of an eye in the sight of an eternal God.
Those with no regard for God live on "slippery places" with one foot in
hell and the other on a banana peel. They are ready to be cast down to
destruction and become a desolation in a moment. It is as if the Lord is
taking a short nap. When He "wakes up" the wicked will receive their just
desserts (vs. 18-20).
Once Asaph saw
life from Godís perspective, he was grieved that he had ever doubted the
value of serving God. He realized the great blessings that come from
serving God-guidance in this life and then glory in the one to come. He
asked, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing
on earth." God was his strength and his portion (vs. 21-27).
Through the resolving of his doubts, Asaphís faith became stronger. He
ended his psalm by reaffirming the truth that he understood before he
wavered, "It is good for me to draw near to God." (vs 28)
Living Like the Browns or the Greens?
Unfortunately, in our land of abundant blessings, more and more families
are living like the Greens. Is your family one of them? Do you have any
regard for his moral law? Do you set aside any time to study His Word and
worship Him? Or are you deceived by your material prosperity, thinking all
is well, feeling no need for God, satisfied with life without Him? You may
think that you are prospering without God. But, your brief pleasure here
will be but a dim memory in an eternal hell.
You need to live like the Browns. You need to live the life of a
Christian. Your life may be full of problems. But, even so, the guidance
God will give you through His Word will make your life happier than youíve
ever dreamed. And then afterward, God will receive you into glory. Believe
it, my friend, God will reward those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). Wonít you
and your family draw near to God?
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