January 25, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
*C H O F Ministry Bible Study Reading: Psalm 73
**C H O F Ministry Focal Verse: Psalm 73:26 - My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
When it comes to our health, we don't always feel comfortable talking about our mental state, even though it's an essential component. Approximately 26% of adults in any given year live with a mental disease that can be identified and treated. At least half of us will have mental health problems at some point in our lives, yet only about a third of adults who could benefit from treatment do so.
Psalm 73 was written during a moment in the author's life when he was experiencing feelings of depression and distorted spiritual perspectives. The introduction reminds us of a fundamental reality: God is good (v. 1). However, after verse 2, a significant emotional letdown lasts till verse 14. Asaph had the impression that God was neither excellent nor loving nor just. Instead, it appeared as though the evil was prospering. Even though Asaph was aware of the reality, he did not "experience it" in his day-to-day life. He felt down and discouraged about everything. His belief was shaken; a crack appeared in his faith (v. 2). It appeared as though his efforts to live a pure and blameless life were a waste of time (v. 13). These thoughts continued to "affect" him daily (v. 14).
However, pay attention to verses 15-17 because this is where things take a surprising turn. It says that Asaph "entered the sanctuary of God" and worshiped with the congregation (v. 17). The act of worship prevented his unpleasant thoughts from turning into words and causing harm to other people. It straightened up his previously warped perceptions. When he was alone, his feelings made it easy for him to make errors that led him wrong, but his faith grew more assertive when he was with other people.
The subsequent ascension is found in verses 18–28 as a result. The truth is that regardless of how things appear or how they feel right now, the Lord will execute judgment on evil people. God has not abandoned Asaph but is comforting his despondent child by holding him by the hand (v. 23). Even when we lose hope and are tempted to give up, God remains faithful (v. 26). In conclusion, "It’s nice to be near God" in the company of other believers in worship (v. 28).
*Beloved, we've all experienced moments when we've felt like Asaph. Why does it seem like evil occasionally prevails? When that happens, you might wonder, "Where is God?" If you're feeling that way right now, I encourage you to take some extra time to reflect on verses 23–26.
Let Us Pray:
Dear Emmanuel, what does Your presence signify? Despite the fact that we have faith, there are times when you appear so far away. We long to be closer to You. Annihilate everything that keeps us from being able to know You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.