Bible Teaching

Psalm 73

I have been reading a Psalm every day and today I read Psalm 73. I have read it numerous times over the years and have heard multiple sermons on it from a variety of pastors. It is generally titled “Problems with the prosperity of the wicked”. Pastors preach to those in the pews that we should not despair as we see the “wicked” seemingly get away with doing evil, because judgment will ultimately come upon them. This is true of course.

Verses 21 & 22 say, “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.”

During the past 4 years I have had some bitter moments and have fought hard to not allow bitterness to creep in. I cannot say I never felt bitterness at the many pastors who either purposely caused me harm or those who ignorantly acted arrogant and smug. All I can say is that I tried very hard to not act upon that bitterness. While at times I was “senseless and ignorant”, I don’t think I ever became a “brute beast”.

When I read this Psalm and reflect on the sermons I have heard, I realize that many pastors never see themselves in this Psalm as possibly being the ones described in the 1st part of each verse beginning with verse 4; “they have no struggles, they are free from the common burdens to man, pride is their necklace, from their callous hearts come iniquity, they scoff and speak with malice, their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their people turn to them.”

I know this is a hard thing to say, but over the years I have come across way too many arrogant pastors who think it is totally fine to treat those without the title of “pastor” as a lesser human being. They don’t think they are doing any harm. They rationalize arrogant actions such as ignoring anyone they have a disagreement with. They use their authority as “senior pastor” to Lord it over the congregation. Many of these pastors are actually decent folks who are very moral in nearly all aspects, just like the Pharisees. They believe they are doing the right thing when they use their power to “remove” people from “their” church. They say they are “protecting their flock”.

This arrogance is nothing new. In the past those in power would burn their opposition alive, such as happened with Jon Hus. In modern times they don’t do violence. They merely pretend you don’t exist; stop answering your phone calls and e-mails, and just plain ignore you. It’s hurtful and brings scandal upon the church when the people of God do not reconcile and those watching the church see the lack of love. Reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel.

Is there an answer? Yes.Verse 28 says, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

The Sovereign Lord is my refuge . . . not pastors.

 

Others May, You Cannot

  • by G. D. Watson

    If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25

    If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

    Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

    Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

    Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

    The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

    God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

    The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

    So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

    God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.