Not so long ago, when we could go to a restaurant as a family, we’d all make our choices, then wait…until the kitchen doors opened, and the meals were set before us, one by one. But – terrible thought – what if the meal I have chosen does not look as good as someone else’s…and I have to sit and watch them gorge their way through their delights, while I’m a bit disappointed in mine? Fear Of Missing Out. It can take all the joy out of of what should be a thoroughly pleasurable evening out!
We can do that in our lives too. Have I made the right career choice? Does someone else’s husband/wife seem so much better than the partner I selected? What if I’d chosen a different path? Have I messed up on life, made bad decisions, missed out on the best?
Do you ever wonder if all the effort of trying to live life as a Christian is really worth all the effort? Self-denial doesn’t come easily to most of us; then there’s the time and effort of spiritual disciplines like prayer and bible study, not to mention the pull on the wallet for tithes and offerings! Was this really the best choice for my life, compared to others, who live life free as birds, doing what they please, with no hidden deity to be accountable to?
This is the ‘oppressive’ (v16) question the writer of Psalm 73 was asking himself. The whole Psalm turns on v17, “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Coming into the presence of God cleared his head, and he could see it all. Like when you realise that glorious fluffy desert tastes of nothing. The people who live without God, are not free at all. They are on a slippery slope, with no-one to call out to when they run into trouble. The riches and power they have stored up for themselves are lost to them the minute they pass out of this world. There will be no-one to hold their hand then. Those who live for the present have that, nothing more.
What a contrast to the joy set before those who choose to follow Jesus, and chase after God! “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!”