Scripture: Psalm 73
Key verses: (13-14; 21-28)
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
and am punished every morning.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
you put an end to those who are false to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
to tell of all your works.
Reflection: “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14: 7-8).”
The Psalmist is foreshadowing Paul’s message in Romans. He has been acting in good behavior, and reprimanded each day. There is a sense of expected reward for positive actions. The psalmist may have even fought God in that he, “was like a brute beast toward you (21).” However, he eventually recognizes the reward is in the faithful behavior itself, not any new shiny possessions. The experience of God’s power and presence is enough. Again, a foreshadowing of Romans, nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:39).”
We are called to be faithful to God, whatever the circumstances, and not look to God for material reward. God’s presence is enough. Nothing, nothing, will ever separate us from the love of God. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: God, our hearts desire is to be faithful to you. However, like the Psalmist, we falter in our faith, as we look for material rewards for good behavior. Help us to be more faithful to you, and live in your presence, and know that is enough. We are grateful for your continued presence and love. Amen.
Author: Amy Speas
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].