Worshipping God, Who is the Strength of Our Hearts
“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…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.” (Psalms 73:24-28)
My friend and I are traveling, relying on my GPS especially yesterday as we drove through Hill Country back roads to our destination hours away. At one point we wondered if we were on the right route, in spite of the guidance system. But we had lovely views of the countryside, glad to avoid an over-crowded highway on a Friday afternoon. After we arrived, we drove to an iconic restaurant for dinner, just a short distance from our hotel. That should have been even easier for the GPS to map, but the audio couldn’t quite keep up with our turns at one city block and then the other. The GPS is like God’s guidance only when it is accurate, timely, and functional; but it doesn’t know me. It is an impersonal, imperfect human-made system, much like the idols that Israel worshipped in Asaph’s time.
The God of the Bible, whom we are called to worship today is unlike us in many important respects. In her book, “None Like Him,” Jen Wilken describes ten ways that God is different from us, each proceeded by “infinite,” describing the Lord as the “God of no limits.” (1) In Psalm 73, Asaph implies that he is nothing without God; his physical life will fail, and his heart will be weak outside of a relationship with his Lord. Unlike our GPS, the Lord, our Creator, knows us each better than we know ourselves, and guides us perfectly in his knowledge of us, if we are close to him. His guidance “…is wise and prudent, wholesome, suitable, and seasonable, hearty, sincere, and faithful, and which is freely given, and when taken, infallibly succeeds.” (2) Not only will God’s perfect, infinite wisdom guide us in this world, but will he will take us into his presence in glory. Our hearts fail us, but Christ strengthens us. Our entire beings crumble in old age, and then we wonder why we are still here, but the psalmist says, “I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
As we worship today, let us consider how we might draw closer to God—through biblical preaching, the sacraments, praising God in song, confession, prayers of thanksgiving and supplication and Christian fellowship, since “It is good to be near God,” together as a family.
(1) Wilken, Jan, “None Like Him,” Crossway, Wheaton, IL., 2016.
(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Psalm 73:24, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalm-73.html