Psalm 65:4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
This verse opens up the entire issue of election and free will, and since that has been argued for millenia, I know I’m not going to resolve it right now. That said, David’s point here is how good it is to be close to God. We sometimes forget that, interestingly enough. It sometimes takes someone who has been very far away from God to really appreciate how marvelous it is to be close to Him. The Bible has a great deal to say about that. Ephesians 2:13 stands out in my mind on this score: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” My particular position on the election/free will issue (I should have known better than to think I could avoid stating it) is that God invites everyone, but those who choose to respond, He draws near. Having tasted the riches of fellowship with God, it is incredible to me that so many value that so lightly, and fail to move into what is offered. We are so easily distracted from wholehearted devotion to God, either by the attractions of the world or by the pain of physical or emotional suffering. When we choose God first, above everything else, we discover that He is far better, by every measure, than anything this world can offer, and He takes the sting from, and gives meaning to, any suffering we might experience. As the old hymn says, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”
As amazed as I am at Christians, even, who fail to take the simple steps to draw near to God, I still trip up at times myself. This past week has been high stress for a number of reasons, to a degree I realize only now that the stress has been relieved somewhat. As has been said, stress is not what happens to us, but rather our response to it. If I had been walking closer to God, this past week would not have been as stressful! That said, the events have taught me more, to enable me to walk closer, and I’m grateful. It was interesting to realize yesterday how refreshing it was when I had an opportunity to invite one gentleman to church who seemed genuinely hungry, and then later counsel a young man who is honestly desiring to follow God’s course for his life. You don’t get any closer to God than when you let Him speak and act through you. Since I desire to walk ever closer to God, my focus should be on keeping my expectations out of the way so that I will be instantly responsive any time He has an appointment for me. My date book is pretty full from now through Christmas Day. I am not to dread the busyness – which I tend to do – but anticipate with joy what God is going to do in and through me in each activity, each situation, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that Your grace is indeed all I need. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Help me be increasingly effective not only in drawing others to You, but also in training and equipping them to walk in constant fellowship with You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!