When Serving God Doesn't Seem Worth It

Sam Petitfils

“Surely in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.” Psalm 73:13

In Psalm 73, the writer (probably Asaph) bemoans what he sees around him, and then begins to feel like God’s people seem to take a back seat to the world.  The world, he observes, “have no struggles” (verse 4), “are free from the burdens common to man” (verse 5), and are not “plagued by human ills” (verse 5).  He then looks at his own situation and sinks in a depression of sorts.

When we have faithfully served God and yet struggle with many burdens that unbelievers seem free of, we, too, can draw similar conclusions about life.  But fortunately, the Psalmist provides the path forward.

In verse 17, he enters the sanctuary of God.  In other words, he begins to view things from God’s eyes and gleans fresh insights from the Word of God.  Things aren’t as they appear to be.  Sometimes the sky outside seems dark and threatening, only to give way in an hour to blue skies.  What God teaches in Psalm 73 is that a day of reckoning is coming when God shall right all wrongs and perfect justice will prevail.

God will deal with the wicked of this world, in fact, they already stand on slippery ground (verse 18).  If they refuse to repent, they will be destroyed (verse 19).  While the child of God may seem to suffer unduly in the world, they may confidently look forward to a sure reward (verse 25).  Until that time, we need to praise God for His presence, power, and care over our lives.

He guides us with His counsel (verse 24), provides strength (verse 26), and will one day take us to glory (verse 24).  We need to respond to these precious promises.  How?  We should see God as our chief desire (verse 25), and view Him as our “portion forever” (verse 26).  We should also make God our refuge and then proclaim His deeds to others (verse 28).

As is true with many of the Psalms, Psalm 73 shares the anguish of a troubled writer.  Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked get away with everything?  When we try to understand it on our own, it becomes oppressive (verse 16).  That’s why we need to let God speak through His Word.  When we attempt to figure out things by ourselves, we only become frustrated.  On the other hand, when we listen to God through His Word, He lifts up our troubled spirits, blows away confusion, and breathes new life into our depressed spirits.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace




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