Psalm 73 deals with the causes and the resolution of a brief period of distraction experienced by Asaph. Having considered the attractions of the world, and pondered the fate of those who would forsake God in pursuit of these attractions, he comes to a tremendously insightful conclusion.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
What a remarkable statement! Many in Asaph’s day, and in ours, would insist that drawing near to God is harmful, if even possible. Some religious souls might recommend drawing near to God because it is the right thing to do. But here Asaph declares something totally revolutionary: drawing near to God is not merely right, it is not some burdensome but mandatory act — it’s good for you!
How the world needs to hear this truth! Far too many of God’s people even today commend each other for doing the “right” thing, while gazing wistfully at the supposed benefits of the world. Unbelievers either ridicule or occasionally commend us for choosing such a hard way. But even among those who commend, the general consensus is, “I could never do that. Think of what I’d have to give up!” What exactly would they have to give up?
Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
God’s Word declares that good understanding, which comes from God, gives one favor, or grace. That does not sound too odious to me. On the other hand, it is the way of the transgressor, the one who departs from God’s way to seek his own, that is hard. Only a fool would refuse to give up his own way — the hard way — in exchange for grace!
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Jesus Christ spoke God’s Word. He lived God’s Word. He came to proclaim and to fulfill God’s Word. If drawing near to God were as difficult and costly as some would make it out to be, one would expect the price of following him to be a harsh one. But God’s Word proclaims that the “burden” is light and easy to bear. This sounds far less costly than what we once were forced to endure in the world.
In his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ drew men and women to God. God calls this “doing good,” not “oppression.” Oppression is attributed to another source.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
By His complete sacrifice, Jesus Christ drew men and women to God. God calls this “blessing,” not “iniquity.” Iniquity is what he freed us from.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his iniquities.
In the first century, and today, those who preach Christ draw men and women to God. God calls this “help’’, not “hindrance.” And it is a help that many are still praying for at this very moment.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.”
Drawing near to God may seem burdensome, oppressing, hindering and even iniquitous to some. In drawing near to God we are drawn to acknowledge that we are more than instinct-driven animals. We are drawn to acknowledge our past, and our future. We are drawn to acknowledge the absolute inadequacy of our flesh.
But God has provided an answer to all of these things in the accomplished work of His Son. In him we find goodness, blessing and help. In believing on him, we find an access that draws and keeps us near to God for all eternity.
Yes, it is right for you to draw near to God, but it is also good for you.