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.

 

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