Psalm 73:25-28 – “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
I want 2016 to be a year that I continually remember Psalm 73:26. My flesh and my heart will fail. That is a guarantee. I will sin. I will stumble. My prayer is that though I stumble, God would empower me to daily remember that he is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. My prayer is that I would be dependent on the Lord day-in and day-out through prayer and through time in God’s Word, and that there will not come a time that God would need to make me dependent. For when God makes me dependent, that is when I have become independent, self-sufficient, and self-reliant. That is a dangerous place to be.
This is exactly what David is describing in Psalm 73:28. Those who are far from the Lord will perish. God will put an end to the unfaithful. And when we stray far from the Lord in unfaithfulness, God will drastically make us dependent on him as we experience the heavy hand of God’s discipline. I don’t love discipline. You don’t love discipline. My kids don’t love discipline. But when necessary, discipline is good. It is loving. For discipline calls us back to dependence with the Lord.
Samson was a man in the book of Judges who was dramatically filled with the Lord’s power. In Judges 14:5, a young lion came toward Samson, ready to attack. It says in v. 6 that the Spirit of the Lord “rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat.” I can picture Samson in this moment, shocked by what has just taken place. It is so odd to him, that he decided not to tell anyone. We hear later in Samson’s life, after some interesting soap-opera like activities, that when Samson’s hair was shaved from his head, that the power of God left him.
Judges 16:20 is a terrifying image to me. It says he woke up from his sleep after Delilah had cut his hair off, and he went to attack the Philistines, who prior to this would have been a simple challenge to him. When he went to attack the Philistines it says this: “He did not know that the Lord had left him.” He was then defeated. His eyes were gouged out, and he was thrown in prison.
Some of you reading this do not know that the Lord has left you. Some of you have experienced the dramatic power of God like Samson did, but for some reason, lately there seems to be merely silence from God. Some of you have become so self-reliant and self-sufficient, that you are merely relying on your own strengths and abilities. Some of you have figured out how to live this life without the power of God, and some of you have not. But in either case, without the power of God in our lives, we are nothing!
My prayer in 2016 for myself and for our church is that we will be a people who understand that our heart and our flesh will fail; but no matter what, we will cling to the Lord who is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. God, make us a faithful and dependent people who are daily empowered by your Holy Spirit!