Friday, December 8, 2017

Day of Praise

Sat, 12/09/17, "Day of Praise"

"But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold." - Psalm 73:2

Have you ever had a close call? Ya know, an "Oh, I can't believe what almost happened" moment?

One time, I'd parked in the short driveway of a young family next to the large van that's a work vehicle for him. After our visit, I was backing out very slowly but couldn't see because of the work van. I'd barely pulled back toward the sidewalk when, in my right rear view mirror, I saw two very small children flash past on the sidewalk merely inches from the back of my car. "Oh, I can't believe what almost happened!" My heart almost stopped as the near-tragedy flashed through my mind. God alone could be thanked for the horror that didn't happen.

In today's verse, the psalmist is inspired to tell of their "Oh, I can't believe what almost happened" moment. In their case, the horrors were constantly happening, namely, those who did wrong were prospering while those who did right were scraping by. And then, the psalmist got so wrapped up in how unfair life often is that he almost tasted a worse tragedy, namely, he almost gave up faith in the power and goodness of the living and almighty God. "Oh, I can't believe what almost happened," says the psalmist, "But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold" (Psalm 73:2).

The psalmist continues saying that all the unfairness of life "troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood" (Psalm 73:16-17). In other words, when the psalmist surrendered to the nudge of the spirit (instead of quenching the spirit) and he went to God's house, the sanctuary, to worship God, then the near-tragedy of renouncing the faith and giving up on God was averted. 

The real, but lesser, tragedies of unfairness in a fallen, sinful world had still happened, but the greater tragedy of giving up on God was prevented and warded off. 

So, what would have happened if the near miss had happened that day to me? What would have happened if I'd accidentally hit and brought injury or worse to those three and four year old kids who innocently zoomed past on the sidewalk? Would I have kept faith? Would their parents have any faith to draw on? Or would the wrongs and pains of a broken world break us down? We'll never know in that one case. 

But near misses sadly hit everyday. People are hurt or worse everyday. 

How do you deal with it? How do you endure? How do you keep from becoming bitter? How do you walk with a friend who already has?

God says, "Come to my sanctuary and worship me! Run to me and my word! Call on my name, believing! Speak my word of hope to another!"

Through God and his word alone is the ultimate near-miss averted. 

Run to him, friends. Pursue him. Worship him. Listen to his word. Encourage another to keep trusting and searching for the Lord. And find the strength and hope in him to press on. 

Praise God!

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