If you are honest, you find it difficult to live in this world and not envy those who are successful and prosperous. We know that it is so foolish and ignorant to be this way as Christians, but there is no stopping us. We are driven like animals to have what we want and what they have. We feel entitled to it, that we deserve it. We need it. This is how we feel, and yet we do not have what we want or what they have. We have what we need, but sometimes our needs are redefined by God.
The psalmist said after admitting that he was like a ravening animal before God, “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73.23-24). How do you go from a position of a foolish, ignorant beast to someone who is so closely and intimately connected with God? It seems like quite a contradiction. I think the answer is to focus on what lasts …what comes afterward.
All envy and foolishness dissipates when we compare the temporary prosperity of the ungodly with the enduring, eternal prosperity of the godly. It’s why we understand we were foolish, ignorant beasts beforehand. We consider what comes afterward to bring to light our faulty thinking beforehand.
God’s Presence in Present
“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73.23). Christians are continually with God, and He is continually with them. He holds us.
I Am with God Continually
I need to be with God continually. Christians do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with the dark principalities and powers of Satan. If I face these on my own, there is no hope of victory. If I am not continually with God, then I am continually in despair, disillusioned about life. God is my Father. He assures me that I have a refuge in Jesus Christ. I am reconciled to the Father through Him. “I am continually with You.” He is always with me. I am always crying out to Him. I cast all of my care upon Him, and He sustains me.
God Is Continually with Me
When my boys were small, I took them by the hand to steady them as they learned to walk. If they fell, I picked them up. If they toddled toward danger, I redirected them. I was continually protecting and guiding them. I provided a safe place for them. Their mother comforted them. All of this effort allowed them opportunity to grow and mature. God takes me by my right hand and holds me up. He keeps me safe. “My foot stands in an even place” (Psalm 26.12) so I am grateful to the LORD.
God’s Promises for the Future
“You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73.24). In the near future, He will guide me with His counsel. But after I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with Him, He will receive me to glory. Guidance in life and glory in eternity are precious promises for my future.
Guidance in Life
God knows the way I need to take in life. I have a general idea of the way I should go. The Lord has arranged it so that I can’t see all the turns and twists. I have a general idea of what I’m going to do tomorrow, but only if the Lord wills. I know the next few steps to take as the Lord holds me by the hand, but I don’t see the entire journey ahead. I take a step and sometimes regret it, but God knows the way that I take. He knew the step would lead to heartache for me, but His counsel guides me in joy and in pain. God shuts a door and opens another, and I step through it.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed and distressed by the decisions which must be made. We need to hear God’s calming voice through His providential working and lovingkindness. “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You” (Psalm 143.8). He speaks to me everywhere. He says, “Fear not, I will help you” (Isaiah 41.13). That’s a promise for me. He assures me by teaching me the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye (Psalm 32.8). The LORD gives me guidance in life.
Glory in Eternity
God will receive me to glory …afterward. This present life ends. We never think it will, but it does. Yet I look forward to that end. It is my high calling. The work begun in me by the Lord will be finished in that day. We should be as confident of this as Paul was (Philippians 1.6). “I am persuade that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8.38-39).
So, our lives are very difficult at times. People in the world do what they want when they want. We fight against what our flesh cries out for. Our lives are often filled with consternation, and the world goes on without a care. But these moments of consternation are pivot points directing us back to God. What is wonderful is the joy that fills our lives through it all. Difficulty and consternation drive us to God and redirect our lives so that what we desire lines up with what God desires.
We have something the carefree world cannot have. We have a life which can demonstrate the righteousness of God for the glory of God. We have a glorious life.