Good to Be Near God

You kind of sense that the songwriter of the seventy-third psalm has hit the wall. Whatever’s been going on around him . . whatever’s been happening to him . . . it has him at the point where he sets his feet, crosses his arms over his chest, looks heavenward, and cries, “Enough already! What’s the point?” He’s at the breaking point . . . “my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped” (v.2). As he looked around at a world gone crazy, he caught himself wavering . . . “I was envious of the arrogant” (v.3). In a boisterous self promoting fashion, those who mocked God grew in riches . . . they “set their mouths against heaven” . . .and yet they seemed to “always be at ease.”

The divinely inspired lyricist didn’t get it. When he compared his faithfulness to their folly . . . when he saw their increase while all he was getting was more and more indigestion . . . he wondered if in vain he had kept his heart clean and his hands innocent, “for all day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning” (v.14).

He was unable to focus . . . he was losing his grip . . . until he “went into the sanctuary of God” (v.17) . . . and realized anew that it was good to be near God.

Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. 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. . . . But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.  (Psalm 73:23-26, 28 ESV)

That’s where perspective is regained . . . in the holy place . . . at the foot of the ark . . . where the glory of God rests. When our eyes are diverted from what’s going on around us to the One who reigns above us . . . when, instead of trying to live by this world’s playbook, we look to His counsel as our guide . . . when we stop going to the “junk food” of this world for sustenance and again feed on the presence and power of God as our portion . . . when we realize afresh, by His grace, that it is good to be near God . . . then, is our equilibrium reestablished.

James says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). That’s what I need to do when my world starts spinning a bit . . . draw near to God. Enter again into His sanctuary. Be still again and know that He is God. To feel again His touch as I’m reminded that He holds my right hand. To know again the thoughts He has for me. To see again His majesty . . . and to recount again His great works. To know afresh the goodness of being near the God who has invited me into His holy presence . . . through the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God . . . and by the continuing intercessory work of Christ, our great and faithful High Priest.

No place I would rather be, than in the cleft of the Rock. No path I would rather be on, than the one that leads to Him receiving me in glory. No passion I would rather know, than that of desiring Him and Him alone.

But for me it is good to be near God . . .

Yes, it is!

By His grace . . . for His glory . . .

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