The Psalms are realistically honest prayers, sharing people’s experiences and showing us how to integrate God into every aspect of our lives. Dave looked at Psalm 73 last night, which details Asaph’s struggles and how he came through a time of great despair.

The psalms begins with a declaration of triumphant truth: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” (Ps 73:1) God never varies. He is good and His love endures for ever. But Asaph has been in a place where he doubted that truth. He was living a godly life, avoiding sin, meditating upon the things of God and spending his time in prayer. Yet he was plagued and afflicted (vs 14), troubled because as he looked around at those who were ungodly, he saw them living a carefree, easy life. In verses 4-12, he gives a description of their arrogance, violence, disregard for God and disregard for righteousness. In comparison, his life seems full of trouble and woe.

This has been a problem faced by God’s people throughout the ages. The ways God deals with people, the question of fairness, the apparent inconsistency of God can baffle us at times. We need to understand that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways (Is 55:8-9). The ways of the Lord are inscrutable (Romans 11:33); His mind is infinite and eternal; His purposes are so great that they are beyond our understanding.

Being puzzled is not sinful. It can lead to sin, for temptation is always crouching at our door, but how we deal with our puzzlement is crucial to our spiritual walk. We should not underestimate the power of the devil, but we should also look at Jesus overcame temptation. The key to overcoming temptation is found in the truth declared in the first two verses of the psalm. We need to stand on the truth and be sure of that when we are faced with other things that we do not understand. Even Jesus, at Gethsemane, wrestled with God’s ways and wanted an alternative scenario, but He submitted to God’s will and so must we, so that we make the Sovereign Lord our refuge and tell of His deeds to others.

We also had another birthday to celebrate: