Job is a book of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom is not merely knowledge. Wisdom is living the knowledge of God’s will, being able to apply what we know. The genuinely saved person longs to know the will of God and perseveres in living it. Job 1:1 describes Job as blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil, giving us a brief description of the person of Job and his character.
Psalm 73:3 expresses a feeling that most Christians experience after they have been saved for a while: "I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Job expressed the same thought in Job 21:7-20. This is especially challenging in a culture where sinful lifestyles are celebrated.
Psalm 73 addresses the issue of why the wicked prosper, but without answering the question. It answers the deeper question of why the righteous envy the wicked and what the solution is for that.
God responds to thankfulness because giving thanks is in line with what God seeks. The Psalms we will study today are imprecatory psalms and laments which show a mix of confidence and concern. They reflect a desire of the righteous for God to destroy His enemies and to vindicate His name. God still pursues these goals, but He does so differently in the church era. The paradox of a thankful heart in the midst of life difficulties is what pleases God no matter what time we live in.
Should believers still struggle with fear? What purpose does fear play in our life? How should we handle fear when it creeps in? What a relief to know that both David and Paul feared at times, as we see in Romans and Psalms. Part of God's work in our lives is allowing circumstances that cause fear.
According to statistics, about 5% of people across the globe suffer from depression, and over 10% of Americans are depressed. Sometimes depression has a physical cause; sometimes it is caused by circumstances. When our circumstances threaten to discourage us, God’s remedy is spiritual. Though you might not guess on the first read, Joseph’s story in Genesis 40 tells us how to avoid depression and discouragement in our Christian walk.
Psalm 16 gives us a glimpse into the warrior King David’s heart and shows us where he took refuge. David didn’t trust in his army, his people, his power, or his wealth. He knew that God alone is the source of refuge and soul security.
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