Why is life not fair? | May 30-31, 2020
Series: Forget Not
Intro: Eric Geiger/Ines Franklin/DK Kim – 0:00-4:50
DK Kim – 4:50-6:03
Eric Geiger/Roddy Garcia – 13:43-20:16
Sermon: Eric Geiger – 24:35-57:36
Song: Shane & Shane – 58:37-1:02.37
Closing: Eric Geiger – 1:02.38-1:05.19
Mariners Church Family, we filmed the service we’re about to show you earlier in the week. And then here on Saturday night, it’s about 11:00 at night…Several of our pastors, we are just so burdened with what we are seeing happening in our country, in our state and the 34 cities in Orange County. And we want to open our service, praying. Jesus said in John 10:10 that the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy”. And we are seeing the enemy fully active in this season as lives have been killed through injustice and racism, as shop owners in our cities are having their goods and their livelihoods stolen, and as our cities are being destroyed, the enemy truly has come to steal, kill, and destroy.
But Jesus assured us that He has come for us to have life. We’re going to do what we know. We’re going to go to the One who gives us life, and we’re going to pray on behalf of people we love and behalf of our cities. We’re going to pray for those who are suffering the pain of injustice and racism. We’re going to pray for shop owners who are wrestling with losing their businesses. And we’re going to pray for the first responders who are running to danger to protect our cities. Ines is going to open us up in prayer.
Heavenly Father, we want to lift up all our brothers and sisters, Lord, who feel the pain and the sorrow of racism. Those who feel like they have been treated less than, who have been dehumanized by the way that others look at them and treat them. Oh God, the injustice that we have experienced this week has brought so much pain to so many and many lifted up their voices to cry out for change. And they took their time to go out to the streets and share their voice. And Lord, all of this destruction, the chaos, oh God, in our cities have made it even more confusing. And Lord, probably be even more painful, oh God. We pray for our brothers and sisters that You, oh God, would comfort them. You are the only One that can bring hope and peace into their hearts. Oh Lord, heal their hearts. We pray this in Your Name.
Oh God, we pray on behalf of our first responders, especially those who want to protect your people, who want to love and protect and serve our communities. God, we pray for law enforcement, our fire department, paramedics, those who run to danger instead of running away from. God, would You protect them and surround them? And would You allow them to do what they feel they are called to do in this moment? Would You be with them, use them, Father, to restore order to our hurting nation? In Jesus’ Name, we pray.
And Lord, we pray now for shop owners in Santa Ana and other places in LA and our state and around the country, those who have invested their lives in serving their customers and are wrestling with things being looted and taken from them and burned. Lord, would You please protect them? Lord, I pray that You would prosper them. Lord, I pray You would see them and press closely to them in the middle of this chaos. Jesus, we need You. We need You, Jesus. We need You. We need You, Lord. Please come fix this. And Lord, heal the hearts of those who are hurting in the middle of all of this chaos. It’s in Your Name we pray, Amen.
Mariners Church, this has been a crazy time where we constantly are carrying these multiple emotions of mourning and wrestling and yet, we also celebrate because we know that while the thief has come to steal, kill, and destroy, our Savior gives us life. And so now we’re going to join our service and we’re going to sing because Jesus is alive.
Welcome to Mariners Church Online, I’m so glad that you’re tuned in like this. And this is the highlight of the week for me. I love the gathering of believers in this way because it’s a weekly reminder to us that God is with us through the storms of life. And today, we’re going to worship together. We’re going to hear an amazing message from our Senior Pastor, Eric Geiger. And our friends Shane & Shane are going to share a song at the end of service. So you don’t want to miss out on any of that.
But before we worship today, I want to read to you from God’s Word, Romans 8:38-39 says this, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We have all the reasons to celebrate, all the reasons to sing today. I want to invite you wherever you are to lift your voice, praise this God of love, His great love for us. Come on.
I love that song so much. Colby, from our team, actually wrote that song. And we’re singing the name, Yahweh, which if you’re new to the Christian faith, new to studying the Bible, Yahweh is actually the proper name for God in the Old Testament. And everything we just sang in that song is true of this great God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s the rock that doesn’t change. And we can trust this great God.
With me today, is our Outreach Pastor, Roddy Garcia. And I am so eager for you to hear this incredible news. Rodney oversees our Outreach team, including many people you love from Jorge Molina to Christian Mungai, and the whole team. And Roddy, share with us this great news that we’re seeing our church participate in during these crazy times.
Mariners Family, I’m so proud of you and I’m so in awe of our God. We are a family that’s crazy enough to believe that we can join in God’s work to inspire people to follow Jesus and fearlessly change the world. And this is a world that needs changing. There’s so much pain, so much injustice, and so much suffering and yet, I find such hope when I look at the generosity of our church. Just recently, we passed the 500,000 meal mark through our Food Pantry. The meals from our Food Pantry go to single parents, low income communities, foster group homes, refugee communities, and so much more. That’s through your generosity.
Hold on a second, 500,000 meals since COVID began through our church.
Half a million meals, 500,000, however you want to say, it’s insane.
It’s awesome. Thank you.
In addition to that, we got a report from our partners with Red Cross that due to COVID, a lot of the sites were shutting down and there was a dire need for blood supply. And so we’ve been hosting blood drives on our Irvine campus. And through that Irvine campus, over the course of the past eight weeks, we’ve actually seen roughly five times what a typical site would provide in any given year, which is just insane. We are able to supply blood, not just for what was lost in the midst of COVID, but also to continue on and stock up once COVID is done.
Such good news. And as Roddy shared, we are so encouraged in a week where we’ve been confronted with injustices in our world, we are encouraged by you, by a group of people who wants people treated rightly. We believe that our God makes us right with Himself because of Jesus. But our God also created everybody in His image, every single person is an image bearer of God. And because they’re an image bearer of God, God longs for His people who He created to be treated with dignity and respect and care. Church, thank you for us together serving people well. I want to invite you if you have not jumped on to the generosity journey at Mariners to join us in giving and being a part of all the things that we’re doing to serve people. There’s a number on the screen where you can text to give.
To Give, Text “My Mariners” to 77977
Every year around here is usually our year-end giving where we’ll invite people to give and many of you are going to do that, you’re going to give a gift financially during this time. But I want to encourage you if you haven’t yet jumped on to be a recurring giver where it just automatically comes out of your giving and you continually and regularly give to the church, I want to encourage you to do that. That’s how my wife and I give, that’s how Roddy gives it. It fights greed in our lives on a continual basis, and it helps the church be able to advance the mission consistently. So I want to encourage you to pray about participating and giving in that way.
But Church Family, I want us to spend a moment, and I want us to pray for the injustices that we have seen in our world in recent days, specifically this last week with the horrific killing of George Floyd. It was a moment where many of us saw on Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever you the video that it was just chilling to watch as someone created in the image of God, his life was taken in front of a camera. It was brutal, and it was horrible to watch. And for those of you who have suffered the sting of racism, I want you to know that your church loves you, that your church stands with you, that your church is going to consistently teach and believe that every single person is created in the image of God and that God loves and pursues all people, and all people must be treated with dignity, care, and respect.
But I want to pray now for the Floyd family that is grieving, for Minneapolis and all that’s taking place there, and for those of you who are in pain in a moment like this as it reminds you of painful moments from your past. And I want to pray that the Lord would bring comfort to you in this moment.
Jesus, Lord, come Lord Jesus and fix this place. Lord, our hearts are saddened, our hearts are broken, disgusted, angered—so many emotions that we feel when we hear yet another story of injustice. Lord, we long for the day when You will fix this broken place and make everything right. I pray for the Floyd family now, Lord Jesus, bring comfort and grace to them.
I pray that You would minister to them this weekend. Lord, I pray for those in the Mariners family who seeing something so horrific like that on their screen has brought up painful memories for them. Lord, please in this moment, You are near to the brokenhearted, remind Your children, Your sons and daughters that they are loved by You, that they belong to You and that You see and care and You love them deeply and passionately. Lord, help us to be the hands and feet of You in our world, to care that people are made right with You, but also that people are treated rightly. Lord, help us to represent You as ministers of reconciliation, as ambassadors of hope in a world that’s filled with injustice. It’s in Your Name I pray, Amen.
Praise forever to the King of Kings.
So glad you were with us this weekend. If we haven’t met yet, my name is Eric, I’m the Senior Pastor here and we are starting this new teaching series this weekend called “Tough Questions”. And we’re going to actually start with one of the toughest questions that there is. It’s a tough question that skeptics have asked me, that people who don’t believe in Jesus have asked me. And that is, “Why is life not fair?” Why are bad things happening to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Why is there still evil in the world? Why are things still so broken? If you have a God who’s in charge of it all and He loves people then why is there so much brokenness in the world?
We’re going to spend these next several weeks looking at tough questions in the book of Psalms. And this is really good news. The book of Psalms does not have a chlorinated view of life. It’s not redacted. Tough questions aren’t taken out of the Bible. In fact, there’s all of these tough questions in the Bible and it shows us that God welcomes us with our struggles that God actually is sufficient in Himself and secure in Himself to let the tough questions be in the Bible because He’s confident in Himself and confident in His great love for us and He just wants us to come to Him even with our struggles and with our doubts. The question we’re going to hit this weekend is really one of the biggest ones, “Why is life not fair?”
In the hit television is show Breaking Bad, at the end of, or toward the end of season five, Walt who was this hardened drug dealer who initially was this reluctant drug dealer who just wanted to provide for his family but each season that passed, he became more and more hardened. And he left a wake of destruction in his path and hurt many, many people. He is actually prospering, so the evil, they’re prospering. And Jesse, who was his partner, is completely frustrated because he continues to see Walt hurt people and Walt actually continues to prosper. At the end of season five, toward the end, he breaks into Walt’s house and he is so frustrated and angry and broken because he’s seen the evil prosper.
Hank, who’s a police officer, comes in after Jesse into the home and tells Jesse he has to leave, to stop because Jesse is in the home ripping everything apart. And it’s a really powerful scene, some say the most powerful scene in all eight seasons of Breaking Bad because Jesse says, “Why is he prospering? Why is this still happening? How is he going to keep getting away with this? Why is he getting away with it?”
We have all wrestled with that question as well. Why does it seem that evil prospers? Why do bad things happen to the good people and good things happen to bad people? It is not a new question. In fact, those who have spoken against the Christian faith, this is perhaps the biggest question that is used against the Christian faith.
Epicurus was this Greek philosopher, years ago, he presented this problem and people still quote this as they articulate an argument against the Christian faith. Epicurus said this, “Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not powerful. Is he able but not willing? Then he is not good. If he is both able and willing? Then why is there evil?”
Maybe you’ve wrestled with that. “If your God, Eric, you just sang a song Yahweh, and you’re saying that this God is great. If he’s great and he also loves people because you keep teaching me, Eric, that he loves people. If he’s great and he loves people, then why are there injustices in the world?”
The question though is a question that the skeptic must also wrestle with because the very question actually causes you to admit that there’s some standard of good or some standard of rightness or some standard of beauty. C.S. Lewis in his classic work, “Mere Christianity” said essentially that the very existence of this question, why is there evil in the world, actually points to the existence of God. The fact that we ask the question really shows us that there is some source of truth, some source of right, and some source of beauty by which we can say that some things aren’t right in the world.
He actually used this as an illustration. He said, how do you know that this is a crooked line? [Image] How do you know this is a crooked line? How do you know that this is a scribbly line? When you first saw it pop on the screen, how did you know that this is crooked? Because you’ve seen a straight line.
And so when we see videos that have been horrifying for us to watch these last several weeks of Ahmad Aubrey and of George Floyd, as we see those videos, we know deep down this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, this is not how people created in the image of God are to be treated. The fact that it bothers us inside and brings up this indignation inside, it actually points to the existence of God because that’s not how things are supposed to be.
And so this question, why is there evil or why do the bad people prosper and the good people suffer is actually a question that really when we stop and step back from it, it really points to the existence of God that there’s some beauty, some source of truth and right, and good. And as Christians, we believe that is Yahweh, that is God.
But it’s a question that not only have skeptics asked, and those who have struggled with the Christian faith, it’s a question all of us have asked. It’s a question I’ve asked. Why is it that there’s evil still in the world? Why are there so many injustices? Why, God, do good things happen to people who are evil and bad things happen to people who are good? Why, God? But we’re not the only ones who have asked the question. We’re going to see in this series, we’re going to look at some of the really difficult questions.
And I love that they’re actually in the Psalms. It’s not a chlorinated book. God welcomes us and wants us to come to him with our struggles. If you’re wrestling with some real issues in this moment, we’re going to look at a psalm, Psalm 73, where, Asaph, who wrote this psalm, he would nod an understanding to whatever struggle you’re bringing to God today. Maybe you’re in the situation where you’ve lost your job or you’ve been furloughed, and you were the hardworking one and someone who wasn’t hardworking still has their job. And you’ve said, “God, this is not fair! Didn’t you see it?” Asaph would understand. Psalm 73 would understand exactly how you feel.
Maybe you feel like someone else got a promotion or someone else got something else that you were going after and they were not as deserving as you, Asaph would nod in understanding. Maybe during this quarantine time, you’re looking at the classes and the schooling your kids had comparing to some other kids, and it’s not fair. Why this and why that? And you’ve asked those questions, “Why, God? This just doesn’t seem fair.”
I know during this time we’ve had a lot of people who are outside of Orange County who are watching, and we welcome you. We’re glad that you’re watching. And maybe you’ve thought this isn’t fair, why do the people in Orange County get to have such amazing weather during the stay at home orders? I mean, this is not fair.
And we would just humbly say to you that there has to be a straight line so you can see how crooked the weather line is where you live. And we’re happy to provide the straight line of perfect weather for you. I’m joking, kind of. We’re going to look at Psalm 73, and we’re going to see in this psalm someone who really wrestled with this tough question and I want us to see how he gets to a conclusion.
The conclusion doesn’t mean that the pain goes away, but he’s able to handle the pain, he’s able to handle the pain after he meets with the Lord and it gets to this really good resolution in his life. Psalm 73:1-2. The scripture says, “God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray.”
Look at this passage. He says right at the very beginning, he really starts with the conclusion, God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. And if you’re a Christian, you’re pure in heart. You’re pure not in your own goodness, but Christ has made you pure and God is going to be good to you. He has taken responsibility for you. You’re His son, you’re His daughter.
He’s saying, “I know this is true, God is good. But as for me, I wasn’t really good in this moment. God is good, but as for me, my feet, they almost slipped.” He says, “This was such an intense question for me, this was such a point of pain for me that I almost slipped and walked away from God.” This is Asaph who as (Steve) Bang mentioned last week is the worship pastor, essentially. This is one of our worship leaders saying, “This problem was so deep for me that I almost walked away from the faith over this.” This is how intense this was. He goes back though. And we’re going to see in the psalm to the place where he almost slipped and now, he can look at the struggle with confidence because he’s worked through the doubt.
He’s worked through the question, which is what I hope happens to you in this series, that you will bring your struggles and your doubts to the Lord and He welcomes you, and He wants you with all of your struggles and all of your doubts and that you’ll be able to go back to the same questions and you’ll go back stronger to those questions.
A couple of weeks ago, I physically did this. Asaph is talking about spiritually doing this, but I physically did this because I went back to the place I slipped. If you’ve been at Mariners for the last year, you know that about this time last year I went over the handlebars mountain biking, I slipped and I tumbled and I had a grade three separation. My shoulder is never going to be fully attached to my collarbone. It was pretty gnarly. It was pretty messed up.
I have not gone back to that trail in a year. It’s called Cow Trail. It’s a trail, I think it’s legal to ride it, but it’s a trail up in the hills. I have ridden that with buddies and had ridden before. But after the fall, I had not gone back until a couple of weeks ago. Couple of weeks ago, I went back to the place I slipped. And Vache and John, people I was riding with, they were like, “Man, let’s go back.” “Man, I don’t want to go back.” “Man, let’s go back. Eric, you’ll be fine.” I’m like, “No, dude, I don’t want to go back.” “Let’s go back, and we’re going to do that spot again.” And I did, I went back and this time I leaned way back on the seat and I did this spot again.
And the spot that was very painful, all of a sudden became a place of joy for me. The spot where I slipped that was so painful and devastating to my shoulder, now being back there, I saw that I could conquer it. I was tougher going back. So that’s really Asaph, but spiritually, he’s going back to his struggle and he’s going to get to a really good conclusion. But let’s see why he struggles. Why does he struggle?
This is the struggle, verse 3, he says it. This is why he almost slipped. He says, “God’s good, I wasn’t good, I almost slipped.” Here’s why, “I envied the arrogant.” Envy was his struggle. “I looked at people who were prideful and they didn’t love God. And yet, I saw their prosperity.” (Psalm 73:3) “For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” “I struggled because it seemed as if God, where are you? Why is injustice happening? Why are the wicked prospering? And the good, I’ve followed you, I’m not prospering.”
This was such a slippery moment for Asaph that he almost walked away from the faith. I won’t read all of the next verses through verse 12. If you look in your Bible, you’ll see this is what he says as he looks at the wicked and the arrogant. They have an easy time, They’re well fed, their stomachs grow. They don’t have trouble like others. Their wealth increases. Their eyes bulge because they always want new things. They oppress others. They humiliate others. They’re arrogant. They’re prideful. And then they even sleep well in the midst of their wickedness because they say, “God doesn’t know. I can do what I want. God doesn’t know.” He looked at them and even though we know this isn’t true, we know that their lives weren’t perfect. But for Asaph, he felt as if they were.
They don’t love You, and yet everything seems so easy for them. In fact, Asaph then asked this, after he lists their lives, he says this in verse 13 (Psalm 73:13), “Did I purify my heart and wash my hands and innocence for nothing?”
Asaph essentially says, “God, have I been following you for nothing? What’s the whole point, God, of loving You when someone who isn’t loving You has all of these awesome things? And I’ve loved You and things seem miserable for me. What’s even the point?” He asked. What goes on in the rest of the psalm? Let me get you to the conclusion and then we’re going to see how Asaph got to the conclusion.
If you look at the very last verse, the scripture says this, this is the last verse of Psalm 73. He ends the psalm this way (Psalm 73:28), “…God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord GOD my refuge.” At one point he’s saying, “God, I went to you and I didn’t get enough good things from you.” That’s what he says at first. And then at the end, he says, “You know what, God, You’re my good. You are my ultimate good.” He gets to a peaceful place.
Listen, life’s not perfect for him, I’m sure he still wrestles. But he’s saying, “God, I’ve tasted that you are good.” So how does he get there? How do you get there? How do I get there? In the middle of seasons of injustice or moments when life doesn’t seem fair when you’ve asked the tough question to God, and you’ve gone with an honest heart to him, and you’ve said, “God, this is not fair. Are you not seeing this?” How do we actually get to the end when we say God’s my good? How do we get there?
First, I do want you to understand God just wants you to come to Him. If you are asking God those difficult questions, He’s not scolding you, He’s welcoming you and He’s pulling you in. But here’s how you get to the end, three things, and I’ll teach these real quickly. First, don’t look around with envy, number one. Number two, look up for your delight. And number three, look forward to your future. Don’t look around with envy. We’ll see this in the psalm, don’t look around with envy. Look up for your delight and look forward to your destiny.
- Don’t look around with envy.
I completely understand how Asaph was feeling because I have felt this way before. The most vivid memory for me of looking around with envy and it really hurting me and hurting my spirit and crushing me are those years when Kaye, my wife, and I were trying to get pregnant and we couldn’t get pregnant.
This was my thinking. My thinking was, “Okay, God, we’re following You. We’re doing everything according to the best we can, according to Your words. So here’s our plan. And we’ve honored You so You honor us. Here’s the plan so You honor us.”
All of a sudden, we try to get pregnant. We’re not getting pregnant. We pray. We fast. That doesn’t work. We go to doctors. That doesn’t work. “God, why? We’re honoring you.” Dare I say, I think I actually, even in my foolishness believed “God because we’ve been good to You, You owe us.” I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I believe that’s what I thought. You owe us because we’re trying as this couple to be faithful to you.
I started to look around with envy at other people who were having kids. And I don’t mean my friends, I was excited for them. I’m talking about people who weren’t trying to get pregnant who were getting pregnant. I’ve read the stories of people who were getting pregnant in the middle of infidelity. And I’m like, “God, they don’t want a child. We so badly want a child. Don’t you see this?” I was looking around with envy.
I remember one night after church, I was a pastor in Miami at the time, and this guy came to me for prayer and he was so upset because his wife was pregnant and they were planning to not have any more kids and he came to me and asked me for prayer on how he could have strength to be a good husband to his wife while she was pregnant yet again. He was having all these kids, and he didn’t want any more kids. And I’m like, “This guy is asking me to pray for him in the middle of my biggest struggle.”
I said, “Man, so she got pregnant again, huh?” And he goes, “Yeah, I can’t believe, I just had the…” I know we have some kids watching, “I just had the March Madness surgery.” The surgery where guys like to lay on the couch and watch March Madness, hopefully that happens again, and so he just had the March Madness surgery and evidently he didn’t listen to the doctor tell him that there’s still a certain number of bullets in the chamber and so his wife got pregnant post-March Madness surgery. And he’s completely bummed out, can’t believe it happened and asking me for prayer. And I’m like, “I can’t believe I’m praying for this guy. Lord Jesus, why is he having a kid and what we long for and have prayed for hasn’t happened for us?”
I remember one day driving to the office from home and having to pull over on the side of the road and open the door to my truck and throwing up on the road because the medicine I was taking made me so nauseous. And in those moments, I was asking, God, “God, why? Why?” I was looking around with envy.
The psalmist says that when he did that, this is what happened. Look at verse 21 and 22. He said (Psalm 73:21-22), “When I became embittered and my inner most being was wounded, I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal towards you.” This is what he said happened when he looked around, and I’ve experienced this painfully. He became, notice this, if you have your pen and your Bible, circle it. He became embittered.
See, when you look around, you never win. When you look at others, you never win. When you look at others, you will find some people who you feel have a better life than you and that will cause you to be filled with envy and become embittered. And you’ll see others who you feel you have a better life than and you’ll be filled with pride. But we always lose when we look around.
And the psalmist is saying, “I became embittered and my inner most being was wounded.” Looking around with envy, you never win. He then actually says, “I was stupid. I didn’t understand. I was an unthinking animal towards you.” What does that mean? It means that when we go to God with this mentality that “God, I’ve done these things for You, therefore, You owe me these things.” We show we don’t understand how our God works.
When we try to appeal to God as if He owes us because of something we’ve done, we are appealing to God for God to be fair to us. And listen, God is not fair, and it’s good news that God isn’t fair because fairness actually means that we get what we deserve. And we do not want to get what we deserve because according to the scripture, all of us have fallen short of this holy God. God is not fair, and this is good news, He’s gracious and He’s just. He’s just because on the cross all of our sin was placed on Jesus. He’s just and He’s good and He’s gracious and He gives us what we don’t deserve. He gives us His mercy and His grace and His compassion and His forgiveness. Thank God He is not fair. He’s gracious and He’s just.
Number one don’t look around with envy. Instead,
- Look up for your delight.
Don’t look around with envy, you’ll always lose. Instead you look up. You look up for your delight. You delight not in what you see around you, but you delight in God.
Some of you have been binge watching some of your favorite shows during this time and many’s favorite show is “The Office” and some people’s favorite episode of the office is “Pretzel Day” where Stanley says this. This is amazing. And this is the LinkedIn picture of Stanley, I love it. Stanley, on that episode said this, “I wake up every morning in a bed that’s too small, drive my daughter to a school that’s too expensive, and then I go to work to a job for which I get paid too little…but on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel Day.” Stanley is saying, “I’m able to get through some of the pain of this world because I have Pretzel Day, because there’s something I can long for and look forward to.”
But as Christians, we have much more than Pretzel Day. When you look at Psalm 73, you see this incredible shift in pronouns. In the first 12 verses, all of the pronouns are about looking around. You’ll see “they…them…those people over there…they…they”. But then something shifts in Psalm 73 and the psalmist takes his eyes, Asaph, takes his eyes off of everyone around him and he puts his eyes on the Lord. He stops envying those around him and he looks up for his delight. And this is what happens to Asaph, and this is what happens to us when we look up, we find that God is better than anything we’ve envied. When we look up for our delight, we find that God is more gracious, more beautiful, more stunning, more amazing, more awesome than anything we’ve ever looked for or longed for in this world.
When we look up for our delight, we find that He is more satisfying than anything else we’ve ever beheld or anything else we’ve ever pursued. In fact, this is what he says in Psalm 73:25-26, “Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you.” He’s saying, “Listen, who do I have in heaven but You? Heaven is heaven because You’re there. That’s what makes heaven awesome. And I desire nothing on earth but you.” “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.”
Here’s what Asaph concludes, all of the things I’ve envied are nothing compared to how awesome God is. I used to envy things around me and all of those things pale in comparison to how beautiful and amazing God is. When you take your eyes off of things around you and you look up, you find that He is better than anything else you’ve ever wanted. And the scripture actually encourages us to taste and see that the Lord is good. To delight in Him and find Him to be satisfying.
I’ll illustrate it this way. My downfall when it comes to trying to eat healthy, which I’ve been trying to do during this crazy time. But my downfall is gourmet ice cream. It will totally ruin my day if I’m eating clean, if I’m intermittent fasting and then this comes along, I would just get messed up. So I’m going to introduce you real quickly to two of these, and I hesitate to do this because I don’t want you to give this to me because I will then eat it and feel guilty after. But this is Graeter’s Ice Cream Black Raspberry Chip.
Now, I’m not sponsored by Graeter’s, they haven’t paid me to do this. But Graeter’s, I am open to that if you would like to contact me. But Graeter’s Ice Cream Black Raspberry Chip, this is insane. In Forbes Magazine one time, they wrote an article about everything that guys should experience before they die and Graeter’s Ice Cream Black Raspberry Chip was part of it. It’s melted a little bit, but it’s insane. DK, do you want a little bit? We can’t share. We’re in the middle of social distancing so you can’t get any. Black Raspberry Chip. I mean, for real, dang! It’s a mixture of deep, dark chocolate and yet fruity raspberry all together. Oh my goodness. I mean, for real, it is insane.
Now, I can describe this to you. The other one I really like is Jenny’s Ice Cream Salty Caramel. Oh my goodness, so good. I could describe these to you about how amazing they taste, but that’s very different than you actually tasting it. I can describe to you how they are so good, but that’s really different from you tasting the goodness.
In the same way, you can think that God is delightful, but that’s very different in you actually delighting in God. You can mentally believe that God is good, but that’s different than you tasting and enjoying the goodness of God. The psalm actually invites us to do this. Look at Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” Look up for your delight, taste and see that He is good. And when you taste and see that He is good, yes, there are still struggles in this world, but they don’t compare to how good He is.
Augustine, early church father, I love what he wrote about Psalm 73. He said this, look at it it’s really good. “The Psalmist asks no other award from God except God…God’s award is simply God Himself.”
Do you understand that? Do you understand that the message of the Christian faith is not, “Hey, listen, you come to God and then God is going to give you a bunch of good things.” The message of the Christian faith is actually way better. The message of the Christian faith is you come to God and you get God. You come to God and you get Him. And He’s who you need, and He’s who quenches, and He’s who satisfies. You come to God and you get God. So don’t look around with envy, look up for your delight. And then lastly,
- Look forward to your destiny.
Look forward to your future.
Asaph said, “This question about why evil is going on, about why bad things happen to good people. It was such a weighty question, it oppressed me.” But then something happened. Something changed for Asaph and he recounts it. Look at the scripture with me, verse 16 and 18. He says (Psalm 73:16-18), “When I tried to understand all this,” when I tried to answer the question of why there is injustice, of why bad things are happening to good people, when I tried to get it, “…it seemed hopeless.” Maybe that’s how some of you feel today, you feel hopeless. But here’s the change, it was overwhelming, it was hopeless “until I entered God’s sanctuary.” Until I met with God and I saw God’s plan for me and I saw God’s design, “Then I understood their destiny. Indeed, you put them in slippery places…” Remember he said at the very beginning, I almost slipped. I almost slipped.
But then when he meets with God, he says, “I’m not the one who’s slipping. Those who are wicked, they’re the ones who are going to forever slip but not me because You’re holding me and now I understand the future. I’ve entered Your sanctuary. I understand their destiny and my destiny.”
Jesus said it this way in the book of Matthew 25:46, about those who are wicked, “They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Jesus is teaching about everlasting life, about our future and here’s what He’s saying, “Those who are wicked, they will be separated from God forever. But the righteous, they have everlasting life.” The wicked are separated from God because of their wickedness. The righteous have everlasting life not because of their righteousness, but because of the righteousness of Jesus that is given to us. We have everlasting life not because of our goodness, but because of His goodness.
Listen to your destiny. Listen to what your future is if you are a Christian. You don’t have to look around with envy, you can look up for your delight, and you can remind yourself of your future as you look forward to your destiny. A time is coming when you will spend everlasting life with your Savior, when everything that is wrong will be made right, when everything that is broken will be fixed, when everything that is sick will be healed, when every injustice will be reversed, when the curse will be turned around and you will enjoy everlasting, eternal, glorious life with your Savior as you enjoy His hope and His happiness and His joy and His peace forever and ever. That is your destiny. That is where you were headed.
The psalmist says, “All of this was overwhelming, I went into your temple. I went into your sanctuary, and I saw my future. I saw what’s coming.”
We still struggle with the question, why does injustice prosper? Why does good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? And from Psalm 73, we ultimately learn to look up for our delight. The psalmist says, “Lord, you are my portion. You’re the only meal I have, but You are the best meal. You’re all I have on my plate, but You’re all I need on my plate. You are on my plate and You are better than anything that’s on anybody else’s plate. You are the best portion.”
We’ve asked Shane & Shane, a Christian music group, who’s written a song from Psalm 73. They called it “My Portion” because the Lord is our portion. He’s the best meal. We’ve asked them to sing this song over us, Mariners, they’ve done this just for us. And then after this song I’ll come and lead us in a prayer of blessing over you.
Hello Mariners Church, my name is Shane.
Together…Shane & Shane.
This is actually, Adrian, back here joining us. What a pleasure it is to be with you. We long to be with you in person, but to be with you through the screen is, I guess, second best.
And we’re going to sing Psalm 73, that has been near and dear over the years. And I love the part of Psalm 73 towards the end that says, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” I love thinking about that, that heaven doesn’t even have anything but Him. If God’s not in heaven, heaven is not heaven. Whom have I in heaven but you?
And the earth has nothing I desire but You. Oh, that we would believe that and desire that. My heart may fail and it has, my flesh may fail and it has. But You are the strength of my heart and my portion. You are my reward forever. What a prayer for the believing heart to pray. And we’re going to sing it, I know we’re going to teach it here. Here we go. You ready for this?
Here we go…
He is our portion now and forever. He satisfies us now and we have everlasting life with Him.
Before I pray a prayer of blessing over you, I want to share with you what’s going on in our church in terms of re-opening. I know many of you are longing to come back together for worship, and that is a pure and holy longing, I’m glad you have it.
We are not going to resume worship service gatherings at our physical locations until we’re confident that we can offer church in a way that is a refuge and a solace to you. But we are, right now, in what we are calling “Play 2”, where we are encouraging groups to gather together for Mariners with your Life Group. In fact, we have Life Groups that, in this service, gathered together. Life Groups, I’m so proud of you for meeting together and I hope you’ll enjoy the discussions that you’re going to have together after and the time that you’re going to be able to spend together.
But if you’re not yet in a group, we want to help you. Some of you, you may want to host a group at your house just with your friends and people that you’ve come to know better during this time, neighbors that you have. If you just will see the text number on the bottom, if you’ll text “Connect”, we’ll help you get connected. And we’ll help you launch a group at your house and give you all the resources that you need.
Text “Connect” to 949-267-3131
We also are going to have some new groups that are launching this next week at our campuses. We’re going to use our campuses to help new groups get started. They’re not going to stay forever at the campus, we’ll push them pretty soon to a house but we’re going to use our campus to help people get connected to a group for the first time.
If you want to get connected, do not live in this season alone. We want you to be in community and we want to help. We have Mariners at Home and Mariners with your Life Group, that’s Play 2 and we have called that play. We want to encourage you to be in community with others.
Will you extend your hands and let me pray a prayer of blessing over you as we go.
Father, I thank You for Your sons and daughters today, and I ask that You would bless them and keep them. I pray this new week that You would remind them that You are their portion, that You are the best meal. You are the one that quenches and satisfies. And I pray, this week, You would press close to them and sustain them and keep them and fill them with wisdom in all their decisions and compassion in all of their relationships. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.