Today: Psalms 73:15-28; Acts 9:1-31; 2 Samuel 22; 2 Samuel 23:1-7
Today’s Psalm reading is a continuation of our reading from June 12. In the first half of the Psalm, Asaph (the author) laments how evil men prosper. He says wicked men “are always in ease; they increase in riches.” (v.12) He wonders if “surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.” (v.13-14)
In the second half of Psalm 73, God reveals to Asaph the “end” of the wicked. God will “cast them down to destruction” and they will be “utterly consumed with terrors.” (v.18-19)
Asaph’s lament rings true today as well. All around us the wicked seem to flourish. “Their eyes bulge with abundance; they scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.” (v.7-9)
But some day they will be “brought to desolation, as in a moment!” (v.19)
Our eternal condition is much more important than the 75 or so years we spend here. I would much rather live a difficult life following God and spend eternity in God’s presence, for God to “hold me by my right hand” and “guide me with…counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (v.23-24)
I worship God along with Asaph when he exclaims:
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
Saul was a Christian killer. He had authority to arrest and imprison Christians and he used this power mercilessly. It doesn’t get much more evil than that! Yet God chose to miraculously reveal Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus. God appointed Saul to be His messenger while Saul was on his way to kill Christians!
But after his conversion, Saul preached far and wide “proving this Jesus is the Christ” to many people. He wrote a large portion of the New Testament. His letters have explained Christ to generation after generation ever since. Truly God had chosen Saul (Paul) to “bear [His] name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” (v.15)
What a powerful example of the miraculous transformative power of the Holy Spirit. I wonder how many people were saved just from hearing about Saul’s incredible, logic defying conversion…
Sometimes God pursues certain people relentlessly. He did that with me. All the years I was running away from Him, God pursued me in a thousand different miraculous ways. He even sent four angels to save me when I died from a drug overdose many years ago. Through their divine help I was brought back to life in the hospital. God’s relentless pursuit is the most precious gift and I am so grateful.
Not everyone get blinding light or angelic visitations. But in truth, God pursues EVERYONE. He has imprinted a message of His existence upon His glorious creation for all to see.