‘Nevertheless…’ (1)

Psalms decorative

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.

Psalm 73:2, 23 ESV


Amongst the themes of Asaph’s twelve psalms (50, 73-83) is the faithfulness of God in spite of his people’s sinfulness, and Psalm 73 in particular is a song about his grace towards them.

Asaph struggled to live with doubts about the faithfulness of God  in view of the prosperity of the godless; he wondered, ‘where is the payoff?’ for innocence, for godliness, for me; further proof, if we needed it, that  ‘What about me?’ has been the big issue for the entire alphabet of generations since generation (A)-dam.

Asaph’s experience of discovering the faithfulness of God, just at that point when he was most tempted to deny it publicly, reflects the lives of almost all the major characters of scripture; at least of those God had chosen to be prophets to his people and witnesses to the world. Often (think of David’s failures and Peter’s denials) they were the ones skidding almost inevitably down the slippery slope from self interest to sin.

Someone wrote that even our repentance needs to be repented of, that we will find self interest even at the heart of our submission to God. That is the terrible truth of our sin, the hopelessness that is only overcome by the death of Christ through the grace of God.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones knew this when he wrote, ‘We talk so much about our decisions and what we are doing. We must learn to think in this other way and to see that it is God who has done it all. You never decided for Christ, it was He who laid his hands upon you and, to use Paul’s term, ‘apprehended’ you. That is why you did decide. Go beyond your decision. What made you decide? Go back to the beginning, to the grace of God. It is all His grace, and if it were not, though you decided for Christ you would very soon decide otherwise, and you would fall right away and go right out. But you cannot fall from His grace. You can in your muddled intellect and thinking, but you cannot in fact. God’s saving grace! But we need to be restrained afterwards, and when we fall we need to be restored. And He does it all. You must realise that ‘it is God who works in you’, from beginning to end. Thank God for His amazing grace – saving, restraining, wonderful restoring grace. ‘Nevertheless, I am continually with you.’ It is almost incredible, but it is true. ‘I am continually with you.’

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