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Another of Bethlehem's Lessons Posted 12.10.2015

The news is not pretty these days.  It’s troubling.  Isis.  The selling of fetal body parts.  Mass killings. There is so much to depress and distract us this Christmas season.  I’ve turned off the news lately.  And yet the ungodly just seem to plug right along, flaunting God and enjoying life and the blessings of wealth and fame more than ever.  I am Asaph.  The psalmist said, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:4).

 

Sometimes I just wish life could be simpler.  It is way too complex some times.  Asaph, a worship leader in the Old Testament, wrote Psalm 73 which raised that issue in the days of King David.   That choir director had a crisis of faith.  And if he did, I shouldn’t be surprised if I do too.  But Asaph went to the right place to find an answer.  “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.”  The big picture is critical for the person of faith.

At Christmas I often wonder what the whole story of the incarnation must have looked like from heaven.  The Glory of God sleeps first in a feeding trough.  And it doesn’t get much better after that.  Herod’s in a palace.  Messiah in a cave.  Oh, the prosperity of the wicked.

 

This is a great time of year to contemplate such issues, because there are reminders of the big picture of the story of God all around us.  We can’t go shopping without the message of Christmas invading our space.  We can’t drive down the street without the message of Christmas bombarding our eyes.  We can’t watch TV without every commercial reminding us of this amazing season of the year (and the shopping that is suppose to bring it meaning…but we know better).  Our culture is a cacophony of the story of God.  There is a God who stepped into our world to make things right.  But….when?

 

Bethlehem reminds me to take the long view in life.  The plan of God took a couple of thousand years at least to prepare for Bethlehem.  So maybe I could be a little more patient.  And a little less envious of the wicked.  They are like chaff blown by the wind.  Let them have their short moment in the sun.  A friend of mine put it this way:  For the wicked this earth is the only heaven they will ever know.  For the righteous this earth is the only hell we will ever endure.

 

In the end we will discover that nothing on earth or in heaven is more desirable than God. We may die but even death itself cannot sever that relationship with God because it is as secure as God Himself. As long as God is in His heaven, we will be with Him in glory. The wicked cannot take that from us. When we put our coming glory on the scales of eternity, the passing prosperity of the wicked amounts to nothing at all. To borrow a phrase from Jonathan Edwards, “The godly have a better portion even though all they have is God.”

 

 

 


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