I was reading in Psalm 73 this morning and it seemed to me that it could have been written last week. Many in the world ask, “Why do we need God?” In their minds they have everything they need. The bank accounts are sufficient. Their health is fine. Their kids are not in jail. They have Social Security to look forward to. Everything…well almost everything is fine. [The psalmist says that all goes well for them and their body is fat and their eyes bulge with fatness and they say what they want against God with great boldness and public spectacle with no apparent consequence. vv.1-9]
The people of God were not doing so well by these measurements. They were thin and not fat. They visited the doctors and waited on treatment options for cancer and seemed to live in suffering. Their rights were oppressed and their prayers seemed unanswered. They even asked the question of the pastor, “Why do we suffer while the wicked prosper and the only difference is our present proclamation as the people of God?” [The psalmist summarized the complaint stating, ‘It was for nothing that I/we kept our hearts pure and acted with innocence consistently.” vv.10-14]
This is not a new issue or a feigned concern. It is real, it is historical, and it is present in the heart of so many…even in mine from time to time (I say with a small degree of shame).
“When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.” Psalm 73:16-17, NASB. (bold added for emphasis).
The fact is, if we evaluate life and faith in the context of this life alone, we are bound to conclude as the world and as the people who struggled with “why.” If we place this life in context of the grand narrative though…we have answers and peace.
It is in the sanctuary that the grandeur of God is center stage. God’s glory is manifested in overwhelming ways. It is in the sanctuary that we find shelter beneath His wings. It is in the sanctuary that we are reminded that He is our firm foundation. It is in the sanctuary that His Sovereign edicts and final judgment trumpet loudly. It is here…we see God for all that He is and we are comforted. We are comforted because with the glory of God as the backdrop, the fatness of the wicked seems temporal. Our struggles seem fleeting. Our faith is affirmed. We are reminded, in the sanctuary, that we have done well is submitting to Holy God and it is here that our choice makes the most sense.
We see this, not with arrogance of heart, but with infinite gladness and now our faithful service is the only possible and reasonable course of action…because in the sanctuary of God…it all makes sense.