Recently Adam Hayes taught a Sunday Bible Class that focused on two Psalms. I asked him to share some of his notes with me on his teaching in Psalm 73. This will feed your soul.
“You may be familiar with the popular call and response that goes “God is good all the time… all the time God is good.” Maybe you’ve heard this call from a pulpit or a friendly fellow church member and following your cue you respond accordingly. This exchange can be a pleasant reminder of God’s goodness and maybe a little bit holier than a “how ya doin’?” But what happens when we step outside the church and find living a life of righteousness proves to be limiting or puts us in the way of suffering? Even worse, what happens if we then look around and see those living in defiance of God prospering? When the wicked call out against God and yet succeed, can we still respond with “all the time, God is good”?
Tucked away in the middle of the Psalms, chapter 73 tells of this inner struggle from the perspective of a man named Asaph. Asaph was a Levite and worked as one of King David’s chief musicians in the temple. While being a Levite could be a cause for pride, it was God’s design for Israel that the Levites would not receive a portion of the land or other provisions that were divided among the other eleven tribes. God’s command was that the other tribes would bring their food offerings and tithes to the temple and He would give a portion of each to the Levites. However, at this time in Israel, the adoption of other gods and idol worship were on the rise. This of course meant that the number of those who were faithfully giving at the temple was declining. In that decline, the Levites who relied on the tithes and offerings of others for their well-being began to feel the squeeze of poverty.
The distress of this led Asaph to almost stumble in his faith of God’s goodness. He pointed out that the wicked did not feel the pangs of hunger, they weren’t being faced with troubles, and they were even openly mocking God to prove to others that their prosperity was untouchable. They were living with an ease that Asaph found enviable. He complained “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (verse 13).
How often have we raised a similar complaint? Or how often have we heard the youth in the church struggle this way? When we begin to dwell on the ease with which those outside of the faith seem to be living, we’re stepping onto a slippery surface. The things that the world holds up as the pinnacle of human experience (i.e. money, influence, and personal freedom) can draw the eye of any believer. What’s needed in those most tempting moments is a new perspective. Asaph openly confessed that he remained bitter and confused “until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end” (verse 17). Only when we approach God with our struggles do we position ourselves in the way of wisdom. Asaph’s newly received wisdom reminded him that the lives of the wicked are fragile and over in a moment, prosperity could not keep them from being touched by death. Therefore, if every life ultimately ends in death, what follows is of the most importance; this leads Asaph to proclaim to God, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” (verse 25).
When the temptation to envy the ease or prosperity of those who live for themselves lays heavy on you, submit it to prayer and then remember that all they possess is like a vapor but all that God so graciously gives His children is eternal. God is good all the time…”
Thanks, Adam! Blessings to you church, Pastor Brian
An Easter Start
Link to This Sunday Worship Service
Join us for our Good Friday service on Friday April 2nd at 7pm.
Beginning this weekend and continuing on, we will lift the stricter mask guidelines for first service. Both services will follow the same mask guidelines of wearing masks to and from your seats. This change has been made to better accommodate the overcrowding in second service.
EBC Kids Starts This Sunday!
EBC Kids starts back up this weekend. Nursery – 5th grade will be provided during second service. Nursery will also be provided during first service for Easter Sunday.
EFCA Q & A with Sam Huggard
Save the date, Sunday, April 11th at 6 pm for a Q & A with EFCA District Superintendent, Sam Huggard, concerning EBC’s potential affiliation with Evangelical Free Church of America.
LAST CALL: Upcoming Missions Trip
Are you interested in joining a short-term missions trip? EBC’s Global Outreach Team is joining with Rick Odess from Missions Door to send a group to El Salvador for church related projects. This would be a 9 day trip in or around August. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to Mary Beth Letourneau (603-545-7329) or another member of the Global Outreach Team ASAP.