Posted by: dhkrause | December 7, 2015

Walking in the Light

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 1:9 declares that He was “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” Even in the Old Testament, people had encounters with this true light, as the pre-incarnate Son of God. Receiving light from God makes all the difference in a person’s life as illustrated by Psalm 73.

This psalm deals with the age old question of why, in so many cases, do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? The Psalmist (traditionally believed to be Asaph) was very troubled by this perception until he had a heart to heart encounter with God who gave him true light. Asaph almost stumbled spiritually because he was envious of the prosperity of the wicked:

Psalm 73 (NKJV)
Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

At this time, his view was superficial. He had not yet come into the confidence of the writer in Psalm 84 who declares, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness”. He then describes the superficial good fortune of some boastful people who oppress others and scoff at God, “setting their mouths against the heavens”:

 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.

According to Psalm 2:4, God will laugh derisively at such boastful people: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.” God sees the end from the beginning, but Asaph was only seeing a small part of the picture. Yet to his credit, though he was troubled by his misgivings, he refused to speak against God, lest he lead people astray:

Psalm 73
10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.

Asaph was beginning to learn what Proverbs 3:5-6 would later declare: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” He then went into the sanctuary, and God gave him true light on the larger picture:

16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.

The prophet Daniel later would similarly describe how at the resurrection of the dead, God will honor the righteous and he will show contempt for those who showed contempt for Him during their lives. They will miss out on the glorious gift of eternal life in His presence.

Daniel 12
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.

When God showed Asaph this vision, and gave him this understanding, he repented for having doubted God’s goodness. He then thanks Him for being continually with him, guiding him, and leading him to eternal glory.

Psalm 73
21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

God was showing Asaph that for the righteous there was eternal glory ahead. This glorious future comes through the living Word of God, who was encountering him in that place. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” He declares in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” This is the free gift of God received through faith in His only begotten Son: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 12/6/2015, https://compellinglove.net/


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