God's PresenceYet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. Who do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strengthof my heart, my portion forever. But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do. Psalm 73:23-26, 28 (HCSB)

As Asaph begins this psalm, he reminds himself that God is good to Israel. That was his logical side. At the time, Israel was living in captivity in Babylon, that magnificent and powerful ancient world power. As he looks around at the prosperity and power in this adopted godless nation, his heart begins to fail him. He asks the question that has plagued believers for centuries, “Why do the wicked seem to do so well?” It seems like the most prosperous, healthiest, wealthiest people are the most godless. They don’t figure God into their lives. They live carefree lives with no worries about sickness or trouble. Asaph’s heart begins to lead him astray, and he begins to envy the arrogance of the wicked as they oppress other people. Just as he begins to lose his perspective, Asaph enters the sanctuary of the Lord and his perspective changes. He understands that the wicked are not better off. These prosperous wicked people think they can live without God, but it is only an illusion of prosperity and well-being, not permanent. Their chosen path is easy to find, easy to travel, but Jesus says it leads to destruction. In fact, He says the way to the abundant life is narrow and only a few find it. Asaph understands that to live God’s way is to live differently from the world. He doesn’t need the world’s prosperity when he has the best—God’s presence.

Jesus tells a story of two builders. One builds on sand. His beautiful house goes up quickly, but when trouble comes and the storms of life beat against that house, it quickly collapses, totally destroyed. In contrast, the godly man builds his house on solid rock. No matter what storms come, the house stands firm because it is anchored in Jesus Christ. In faith, Asaph says, “Yes, I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.”

Which way is more secure, relying on the world’s promises or on God’s truth? Of course, relying on God is much more secure. On whom are you relying today? Does the seeming prosperity of the wicked keep your eyes off Jesus? Come away and spend time with Him and gain His perspective. When the world seems to careen out of control, Jesus is the only safe refuge. You can say with Asaph that even when “my flesh and my heart fail…God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever….God’s presence is my good.” Will you join Asaph in this praise today?

By Carol McLaren

For extra reading: Matthew 7:24-26

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