“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God” (Psalm 73:16-17)
John 5:19 says, “…the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Cops understand the truth of that statement far better than most people. As a cop, you see some of the vilest human behavior on earth. A Bible-believing church is supposed to be, among other things, a sanctuary from the world’s wickedness. “…strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.” (Psalm 96:6). A Bible church is a place where Jesus’ name is revered, not used as a swear word; a place where God’s Word is honored, not ridiculed; a place for music to honor the Lord and turn attention to Him, not to draw a crowd by appealing to worldly musical tastes.
A Bible church is a place to renew your strength for spiritual battle. As a Christian, though, you’re likely to be tempted to quit church because of all the sin you see on the job. That’s what the psalmist went through in Psalm 73. He said, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (verses 2-3). The psalmist had wrong thinking. He had become envious of wicked people.
What did he see? He saw that they held power: “…their strength is firm.” (verse 4). They got away with wrongdoing: “They are not in trouble as other men…” (verse 5). They were full of themselves: “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain…” (verse 6). They were filthy rich: “…they have more than heart could wish.” (verse 7). They were dishonest: They are corrupt…” (verse 8). They blasphemed God: “They set their mouth against the heavens…” (verse 9). They didn’t fear God: “And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?” (verse 11). He also saw that, for all their wickedness, they seemed to do very well: “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” (verse 12).
He started to think that he was wasting his time striving to live right and please the Lord: “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” (verse 13). He complained about his life: “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” (verse 14). The whole situation was painful to think about: “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;” (verse 16).
“Until I went into the sanctuary of God…” (verse 17). When he went to church with God’s people and heard God’s music and God’s Word, God made him see the end of the wicked: “…then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.” (verses 17-19).
The writer was ashamed of his lack of faith: “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” (verses 21-22). He was glad, though, that God had reassured him of His love and eternal presence: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (verses 23-24). God was his help amid his human frailty: “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (verse 26). He concluded, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (verse 28).
So with all the sin you see, don’t think that God isn’t in control or that serving Him is a waste. “Draw near to God” by faithfully going to a Bible-believing church. God will encourage your heart with His music, His people, and His word. If you want to see in the Bible how to be sure that you’ll go to heaven when you die, please click, “How do I go to Heaven?” on the sidebar to the right.
Brian Miller 8/12/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216-671-2822