It is good for us to draw near to God as it tells us in Psalm 73. In fact, the nearness if God IS our good, which is another way of rendering that verse. The psalm goes on to lament how easy and prosperous a life the wicked seem to enjoy. It's interesting that if you turn the digits around from Psalm 73 to Psalm 37, you find another psalm which deals with the same question, "why do the wicked prosper and the righteous appear to struggle so?" (The Bible seems to try in its own way to help us remember things and to find our way easily around in it.) As Psalm 73 continues it eventually mentions that as the psalmist entered the sanctuary he understands the end of the temporarily blessed wicked ones. "Until I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end." (verse 17) What we are being told here is that as we enter into our places of worship we are enabled to see the "big picture" that eludes us outside on our own, where we function as individuals. Four psalms later in Psalm 77 we find this verse reinforcing the changed perspective; "Your way is in the sanctuary." (v.13) God has designed us such that we need frequent fellowship to glimpse the big picture, and we need to be praising Him in the His House. Two psalms before (Psalm 71 v14) the psalmist speaks of praising God more and more and, in an earlier verse, of saying continually, "God is great." This describes an ever growing appetite for praise until it actually becomes a lifestyle. ( If this appetite isn't growing in us it will be diminishing, that is its nature, one or the other.) After all, God indwells or inhabits the praises of His People. (Psalm 22 verse 3) We come into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. (Psalm 100) The very term "Judah" from which we get the term "Jew" has the idea of praise at its root and is defined by it. The apostle Paul says in his epistle to the Romans that he is a Jew who is one inwardly in the spiritual sense. And praise is at the heart of that identity and essential to it. As we proceed from gates into courts we are drawing near to God, which we have said is our good. And as we draw near we begin to see what God sees, see through God's eyes, which is always a bigger picture or vision than ours. Bigger in space and bigger in time. In space, taking in the situations of more and more people and places, we find our sample has been too small from which to draw such hasty conclusions. In time, realizing that perhaps we have not been patiently waiting on God for the inevitable reaping of seeds that have been sown. We are reminded that God waits too, waits for changes in attitude, waits if by any means He might show himself gracious and compassionate to some who this very moment are progressively running out of time.
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