December 7, 2011
The Hand of God
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In the Old Testament, we read about God creating the world. From John 1:1, we know that Jesus was the Word that was with God, and was God. Jesus, the Word, created all things, including the entire world and that lives upon it. In Psalm 73, Asaph wrote about his feelings concerning the prosperity of the wicked. He felt envious of the arrogant, because they did not suffer pains in their death. They wore pride as a necklace and violence covered them like a garment. They spoke against the heavens, and proclaimed that God does not know or care about their wicked ways. In contrast, Asaph had purified his heart and kept his hands innocent. After pondering the ways of the wicked, Asaph became troubled in heart. Perhaps you have been envying the wicked lately, and wanting more of the riches, power and glory the world offers. The solution for Asaph started when he entered the sanctuary of God, and perceived the end of the wicked. They will be destroyed in a moment, and swept away with sudden terrors. Let us study together a few verses from Psalm 73 to understand the condition of Asaph, and the hand of God in his life.
When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Embittered, Pierced, Senseless, Ignorant, Wild Beast. Asaph graphically describes himself after falling into the mental pit of envying the wicked. He called himself embittered, pierced, and senseless (Psalm 73:21-22). Maybe you have felt that way before, and perhaps you have some of those feelings right now. In America today, some of the 99% are claiming that they want to be more like the 1% of the rich and wealthy. They envy the wealth and prosperity of wicked men. I am not saying the 1% are only wicked, but I am saying that riches often come through illegal means, and often involve unscrupulous practices. For example, the rich in James 2:5-6, were portrayed as people who dishonored the poor man, and oppressed the poor and dragged them into court. Asaph felt terrible inside as he evaluated himself before God.
I Was like a Wild Beast before You. The only way to move beyond your inner hurts precipitated by envying the wicked wealthy will be to spend time with God alone. Find your own sanctuary and lift your heart to God. Asaph described himself as a wild beast before God (Psalm 73:22). Have you ever felt that way? Asaph perfectly pictured the senseless, inhuman, and wild aspects of our lives as we stray away from God. In this case, Asaph had been keeping himself pure and doing the right things. Even so, he watched other people raise their hands against God and they seemed to prosper. When you start feeling that way, remember you are acting like a wild beast, exuding ignorance and bitterness. God wants to help you, however, even when you are at your worst.
Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.
I Am Continually with You. Asaph knew that even when he was senseless and acting like a wild beast before God, Asaph was continually with God (Psalm 73:23). The enemy of believers always seeks to convince you that God has forsaken you, left you, abandoned you, and never cared about you. In contrast, God continually reveals to us in the Bible that He continually abides with His children. Even Asaph, right in the middle of all his problems, knew that God was with him continually, not just on the good days.
You Have Taken Hold of My Right Hand. Asaph also knew that God held his right hand every day, all day, and all night (Psalm 73:23). When we start to focus upon the riches of other people, and we envy the wealth of the wicked, then we should immediately get to a sanctuary, or any quiet place, and spend some time with God alone. Confess that we have been embittered, senseless, ignorant, and acting like a wild beast. Then further confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God is continually with you, and holding your right hand all the time. You will immediately begin to feel the full comforting power of God in your life. He will remind you in your heart of the truth.
You Will Guide Me. Notice that Asaph remains convinced that God has not left him when he felt his worst, but that God would now guide him with God’s own counsel (Psalm 73:24). So often we feel that we do not know what to do next, or how to do it. Even if you have been ignorant and acting badly, God still seeks to guide you every day with His counsel. We can count upon God leading us every day with His divine counsel. The enormity of this promise should lift up our hearts every moment of our lives. God has promised to guide me, personally, through my life all the time. He will lead me by holding my right hand, and never letting go.
Receive Me into Glory. For every believer, the pathway always leads to glory. Jesus leads us down that shining pathway every day of our lives, and the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day (Proverbs 4:18). Walking along the path each day means that we follow Jesus. We go where He goes, as He holds our hands.
So we learn more about the Hand of God.
● When I am feeling lousy, and acting like a wild beast before God, I must remember that I am continually with God.
● Jesus promised to hold my hand forever, and never let go, and guide me every day.
● Jesus promised to receive me into glory after my life on earth has ended.
Application for Today
As I walk through life today, I will be thinking about Jesus holding my hand, and leading me with His counsel every moment. He holds my hand, even when I am ignorant, pierced within, and acting like a wild beast. I take comfort and strength for living because Jesus holds my hand today. Do you feel His grip today?