“But when I sought to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” (Psalm 73:16-17)
Psalm 73 is the cry of a heart on the threshold of despair.
The psalmist looks on as the faithless mock God and get away with it, the violent succeed at harming the vulnerable, the powerful and greedy advance their empires through corruption (v. 2-15). And what’s worse, verse 10 tells us that the people of God “find no fault in them.” God’s very own children were complicit in their wickedness.
As the psalmist reviews the reprehensible state of humankind, he nearly gives up hope. But just when he’s ready to throw in the towel—right when he’s about to turn his back on God’s children—he comes to his senses. How? “I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.”
Rather than running away and isolating himself from the people of God, the psalmist went to the place where they worshiped together.
And though he arrived wearied by despair, he left declaring, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v. 25–26).
There is something about gathered worship that can make all the difference in our lives.
The world has its ways of overwhelming us with anxiety, despair, and isolation. But worshiping with the church each week is one vital way that God cares for us, encourages us, and knits our hearts together with others who are devoted to worshiping Him.
Even though at times those who claim to worship God will become complicit in the world’s depravity, worshiping with the church reminds us that God is keeping for Himself a faithful remnant whose worship will not be compromised by the ills of this present evil age. As Jesus Himself said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
So do not despair, Christian; do not allow your anxiety to overwhelm you; and for the sake of Christ in you, do not keep the people of God at a distance (even if they’ve let you down at times), because it is in and through those very people that Jesus is at work to redeem this wicked world by the hope of the Gospel.
So join in with the church’s worship this Sunday and find renewed hope in Christ.
If you’ll “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22) as the psalmist did, you might just come to find that the Lord’s presence among His people has a way of bringing us to our senses. With Him, no situation—no matter how overwhelming—is hopeless, and the church itself is living proof.
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
- How has God used gathered worship to change your perspective on a situation? Can you point to specific instance? Why or why not? Pray that He would use this week’s gathered worship to impact your heart, so that you can say with the psalmist, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
- Are you struggling with depression, anxiety, or isolation? Based on Psalm 73, how can life in the church help you with that?
- Do you know of anyone in the church who needs encouragement and care? How can your presence among LifePoint help to meet that need? What’s a specific way that you can bring that encouragement and care when you see that person this Sunday? Perhaps you can pray for that person now.
Set List for Sunday, June 09, 2019:
- Welcome the Healer (B. Brown, S. Curran, J. Johnson, B. Younker)
- Kingdom Come (Lift Up Your Heads) (R. di Castiglione)
- What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)
- Your Mercy (M. Dawes, A. Ivey, B. Land, J. McCreary)
- More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)