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Psalm 73 began with the author's  confession that he was just about ready to abandon his faith in God. The injustices that prevailed everywhere he turned were more than he could ignore and still maintain some kind of integrity.

Yet 28 verses later he concludes his psalm by saying, 

"But as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter,and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do". (Ps 73:28)

What could possibly have happened in such a short time to create this radical change of attitude? Well, let me take you to the point where I think the change began.

The key is found in v.17

"Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked".

This verse is the fulcrum verse of the psalm. Everything hinges on this verse. Without it there will be no understanding and no change of heart. No paradigm shift. No new way to look at life and life's realities - including why the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer.

It all depends on one's perspective and that, in turn, all depends on who or what informs our decision-making process. Back in v.10,  Asaph identified the source of information that leads us to wrong conclusions:

"And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words". 

Whose words? Why, the wicked, of course!  If that source is the sole basis for shaping our perspective and informing  our decisions, then we will look at life with a very narrow and distorted perspective. For us, the "wicked" are those who exclude God from their lives and are a law unto themselves. I believe that they exert incredible influence through such social structures as the Media and Education systems. Their "words", that is, their philosophy lead to dismay and confusion as we drink them into our lives.

However, there is another source of information that is radically different from that of the wicked. Asaph describes it as "going into the sanctuary of God" and thinking about these injustices from an entirely different frame of reference.

I take it that the principle here is much more than simply "going into the sanctuary of God" in a physical sense of, say, going to church occasionally. It involved Asaph in putting himself in the way of God. It meant exposing himself to another way of thinking. For us it means time devoted to "drink in God's words". Then, as God's truth prevails, we are enabled to embrace a whole new paradigm - a new reality concerning the issues that are at the heart of Asaph's struggle.

What then emerges is a much more realistic understanding of life with its big questions - like, Why do the wicked prosper? That will have to wait until my next post.

 

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