“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 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.” Psalm 73:21-28
Generally, we try to be good Christians. We wake up each day, intending to avoid failure. Though we try our hardest to meet God’s standards by loving Him and our neighbor, at one point or another our failure is inevitable.
Of course, you and I know that everyone makes mistakes. No one’s perfect. Yet we exhaust ourselves trying to prove otherwise, and we can’t escape the thought that comes with every failure:
“God must be (furious/angry/disappointed/irritated/disgusted/etc…) with me.”
Feeling like a disappointment to God is our deepest fear.
Psalm 73 speaks to our inevitable failure, and God’s view of us in light of it.
For the first 20 verses, the Psalmist is seriously concerned about the prosperity of the wicked. He brings the matter before the Lord, but as he tries to discern how justice might come to punish the wicked, he finds grace for himself.
(v.21) When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
The Psalmist realizes that in the midst of his sin (which makes him like a beast before God—very similar to how he describes the wicked in v.4-12), he finds himself in the grasp of God. But it gets better: The Psalmist has inherited the benefits of walking with God, despite being guilty of sin! He lists them:
God holds my right hand God guides me with his counsel God will receive me to glory
This grace and the living presence of God is not a result of the Psalmist being perfect. To the contrary, the grace comes because of his sin and need for God, unlike the wicked, who know no need for God, and in turn, suffer the ultimate consequences (v.27).
Your status as a child of God is secured for you by God’s grace through Jesus. Even when your sin, or proud, stubborn heart makes you beast-like, God’s love for you does not leave and the gifts of His presence are not taken away. You do not need to make yourself perfect to be accepted by God. Let that sink in! When you fail, when you are disappointed with yourself, remember, God is not surprised or disappointed - He loves you!