(Psalm 73:16-28; Job 42: 5, 6; Lamentations 3:20-23)
But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped, for I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:2, 3).
Why is it that “the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence?” I suppose a cow could answer this question. Sometimes our hearts are so full of self-pity and wants that we become blind to the blessings before us; we keep looking out for it instead in someone’s success and desiring it for ourselves in the spirit of envy and jealousy, as the Psalmist so wrote, But as for me, my feet were almost gone. . . for I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.. . Until, I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end (Psalm 73:17). In the presence of God the psalmist saw the end of the wicked whom he envied the riches and success. When he realized their end, he also realized his sin of envy and there in the presence of the Lord he repented. He said, For my heart was grieved, embittered, and in a state of ferment, and I was pricked in my heart, so foolish, stupid and brutish was I, and ignorant; I was like a beast before You (vs. 21-22).
Because the blood of bulls and goats is powerless to take sins away, hence when He [Christ} entered into the world, He said, Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me…Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God what is written of Me in the volume of the Book (Heb. 10: 4-5,7). This is the most celebrated birth. The Son of God did not come according to the will of man, but of God. The place where God chose for His Son to be born was most significant and meaningful, although many are ignorant of this fact. The Son of God came to fulfill His Father’s will of salvation for humankind. He came representing a lamb for the purpose of being offered as a sacrifice to take the sins of the world. As such, He was given a manger for a crib in His birth. Not a regular manger, but a special one, where only the perfect chosen lambs laid their heads. These were raised for the temple sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of the nation of Israel. No one knew why there was no room for God’s Son to have a proper place to be born and a crib to lay His head. However, God does not need the things of the world to accomplish His intents and purposes. He has chosen the people from whom He was to bring His Son to the world and the exact place where He wanted to manifest His glory. His glory shone brighter in that humble place, where shepherds and lambs witnessed His glory and rejoiced, while the world slept through it, knowing nothing that was happening.
Israel experienced God’s presence in their journey through the desert in the form of a cloud and a pillar of fire. The cloud served as an umbrella against the heat of the sun; and the fire as light to show them the way in the dark of the night. God’s mercy, love and faithfulness to Abraham were fulfilled many years later in Abraham’s descendant. In His mercy, God was to Israel a shield of protection. One reason why God took Israel the long way to the Promised Land was to create in them a righteous nation, from whom He would send His only Son. They were to shine the light of the only true God to all nations through all the signs and wonders they had experienced. In that period of forty years, Israel experienced the presence of God in a supernatural way when He came down to Mount Sinai. It was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord descended upon it in fire; its smoke ascended like that of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked. There He spoke to them in an audible voice. They saw then the glory of His holiness, for which they trembled in fear. After they had lived four hundred years in a land of so many pagan gods, Israel had adopted them for themselves and their spiritual condition had deteriorated and in need for transformation. Only through the long way through the desert, they would not have gone back to Egypt and through the miracles God had performed in their midst Israel’s spiritual eyes were opened to believe in the existence of the true God.
Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the lord and who thought on His name (Mal. 3: 16)
I remember when young while living in the orphanage in Brazil, I was given a book of remembrance where friends and acquaintances wrote beautiful thoughts of encouragement and what they thought of me. It registered sentiments that would later bring me memories of those days, although not all positive, but sifting them through in my mind, there were a few wonderful memories which I treasured. They bring me joy as I relive those days. It is to me a privilege to know that the Lord is aware and taking notice of the things we say that is pleasing to Him to the point of having them written in a special remembrance book.