2 Kings 19, Isaiah 35&36

Psalm 73

 Second Guessing

Hezekiah, King of Judah, was a godly king. His Father, Ahaz, was just the opposite. Ahaz put his trust in an alliance with Assyria to deliver the nation from Syria and Israel who made war against Judah. The result of this alliance was that  he ended up paying tribute to the king of Assyria.

Ahaz and Hezekiah co-reigned for many years. We can only imagine what that might have been like since they were polar opposite in their belief about God.

In our reading today we see that Hezekiah is now ruling and he stopped paying the tribute his father had paid to Assyria. As a result, Assyria is threatening to invade and take the people of Jerusalem captive.

Hezekiah was trying to trust the Lord and lead in the Lord’s ways, but, he backtracked and attempted to pay off the Assyrian king. It did not stop the threats.

It is much easier to follow the Lord when things are going relatively well. However, the real proof of where faith is comes to the surface in a crisis. So, this seems like a good place to insert Psalm 73.

The theme of Psalm 73 is that things are going well for the people who do not believe in God. They don’t have problems. They don’t have troubles. But here I am trusting God and everything is falling apart. Now, none of this is really true but this is what Asaph, the author of this Psalm, is thinking. He is second guessing himself.

We are faced with these questions from time to time, especially when we are in a crisis.

There are two places in this Psalm that become turning points in the writers thinking. The first one comes when he realizes that what he is considering to do will be observed by others. He realizes the actions he was considering would betray his word and trust in God right in front of, “…the generation of Thy Children,”  Psalm 73:15b NASB

What he was about to do was not going to match with the life and witness he was trying to portray before the people and his children. In other words, he was going to be seen as a hypocrite. It would look like his life was a lie. He spoke about God. He went to the temple and worshiped, but, he was about to live like everyone else.

There are many people in church today who are doing this very thing. They think that by going to church they are training their children in the Lord but the reality is our children are more likely to walk in our footsteps. We baby sit our great grandchildren. They are not old enough to read but they are very observant. They learn by what they see others do and they are very good at putting what they learned into practice. My dad used to say to me, “Don’t do as I do, Do as I say.” If you are saying one thing and practicing another, stop! You are wasting your breath. Actions speak louder than words.

We need to take a hard honest look at what we are doing and determine if this is what we really want to communicate or are we “betraying thy children;” the people God has given us to minister to. Are we happy with who we are and what our actions are communicating? Obviously, my dad wasn’t.

You and I are a pastor, preacher, teacher, to someone, especially our children. What are we communicating to our friends and family? What is it in life that we really consider important? When the Psalmist considered what effect he was having on others it became troubling to him. When he came to the sanctuary of God he realized that the things he was valuing had an end in this world and would not last. Some of these things would slip away quickly. Others may hold our attention longer but all will, one day, be destroyed.

He also recognized that the pursuit of these things had changed him for the worse. He said, “When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before thee.” 73:21-22 NASB

Let me ask, how are things going in your life? Really?

So, what did he do? Instead of going to church or the temple and going through the motions, this time he went to seek God and listen. It was with this attitude that God could show him the things that were really important in life. God showed him the things that had true value and would last. These were the things that he needed to impart in others. In listening to his father in heaven he found what had true value.

 Pastor Chuck used to say, “You have only one life and it will soon be past. Only what is done for God will last.”

So, let me ask again. How are things going? What kind of influence are we really having on friends and family? What is our lifestyle really preaching to others? Is our lifestyle leading our family and friends down the wrong road? Are we following the world’s leading or are we following God’s leading? Deep down inside we know God’s way is right. Is it time to start following Him?

Let God put things in order and live it.

Pastor Dave