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Drawing Near to God

It is tempting for believers to doubt God’s favor and love and to think it is not worth living as a Christian.
The main theme of Psalm 73 is the truth set forth in the first verse: “Truly God is good to Israel.” The final verses of the Psalm involve a renewed commitment to focus on God as the true treasure.
Draw near to God! Put your trust in the Lord God!
All the things of earth will fail. Friends, family, and spouses will forsake. Your health will deteriorate. Your strength will diminish. But, God will not fail!
There is nothing as desirable as God. The closer you are to God, the less you will be affected by the distractions and attractions of the world. It is good for you, me, and all saints to draw near to God.
Drawing near implies distance.
By nature, there is a chasm between God and us. The fall of man into sin cast all men away from God. Not only are sinners far from God, they don’t even desire to be anywhere close to God. The wicked try to get as far away from God as they can, like Cain who “went out from the presence of the Lord” (Gen. 4:16).
Rather than draw near to God, every morning after we wake up we are tempted to run away from God. We are selfish, and we pursue our own desires. The prodigal son went into a far country and tried to get as far away as he could from his parents. The prodigal of Luke 15 is a picture of the sinner running away from God. We fill our minds and our days with all kinds of activities, and we try not to think about God. We draw near, not to God, but to all kinds of wicked things.
We draw near to the world and the ways of sin. Think of Demas whom Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”
The wicked think it is good to be far apart from God! The Psalmist starts thinking that way as well. “So foolish and ignorant I was,” says Asaph (Ps. 73:22).
What you need to realize is that the further you are from God, the closer you are to hell!
If God is truly good to Israel, then it is good for his people to draw near to him, as verse 28 states. God calls us to repent and to draw near to him.
How do we draw near to God?
We draw near to God only because he drew us to himself first! By virtue of his wonder of election and his work of grace in my life I am drawn to him, and I draw near to him.
What a wonder of grace! He drew you and me before the mirror of his perfect law, and he gave us eyes to see ourselves in our sin. He caused us to stand in shock before that mirror as we saw the folly and misery of our image by nature. We see the chains of sin binding us. We see the bonds of hell wrapped around us. We see ourselves enslaved to sin. We thought we were free, but now we see that we are bound. God works a wonder in our hearts by which he draws us to himself with his cords of love. His cords break the chains of bondage to sin and set us free!
He draws us by the power of his everlasting word to the cross and shows us the wonderful love by which he loved his people from before the foundation of the world.
We draw near to God only through Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Mediator through whom we are able to come to God. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20).
We read here literally, the nearness of God is good! This is a marvelous confession. God’s everlasting love in Jesus Christ draws us to himself and gives us to know and believe that he is our God and we are his children. He gives you to know that you are free from the bondage to sin and death. You are free to draw near to God and his life and light and love. You experience peace and joy and the goodness of God’s presence. O how good it is!
But, we worry still and are inclined to depart from him. So ungrateful we are! With the Psalmist, our feet are sometimes almost gone, our steps slip (Ps. 73:2).
But, God is always near! He never fails even though we fail him. He never forsakes or lets us go.
There is only one place that is good for the child of God—to be near to God!
“They that are far from thee shall perish” (v. 27). As we are tempted to draw near to all kinds of things other than God, we constantly need to remind ourselves of the warnings of God’s word. I can not trust my own will and desires.
How must we draw near to God? By faith. Trust that his will is good for you. That involves self-denial. You belong to him, therefore what matters is not what you want, but what would he have you to do.
“I have put my trust in the Lord God” (v. 28). Renounce your own weak judgment of things. Trust that although the way seems dark and wrong and destructive, nevertheless, all will be well and God will work all things together for good to them that love him (Rom. 8:28).
We draw near to God through his Word. The Word of God is the revelation of God to us as his children. God reveals himself through creation, but that testimony is not able to be understood apart from the word. We draw near to God by reading and searching his word as his letter of love to us as his children. We not only view his glory in creation from afar, but we draw near by coming to his word.
As you read the scriptures, what will be the fruit? At least these four things: First, we will stand more and more in awe of the greatness and glory of God and his wonders. Second, we will see God’s grace manifest toward his people in treating them not how they deserve, but in love. Third, God’s faithfulness will be more and more seen as God does not forsake his promises. Fourth, you will more and more see your own sinfulness and unworthiness as you stand before the will of this great God who is the searcher of hearts.
The fruit will be seen in our worship and prayer. “That I may declare all thy works” (v. 28). We gather in worship to declare the great and glorious works of God. Prayer is a coming to him to glorify him and to make known our needs to him. The whole of our lives becomes a confession of the intimate covenant friendship with God, a communion of life concerning which David says: “I have set the Lord always before me.” We delight to go to his house to worship him Sunday after Sunday. We draw near to him in worship, confessing the greatness of his glory and bringing our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving
“Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee” (v. 27). There is nothing about the world and their lives that we ought to envy. Pray for them! Witness to them of the greatness and glory of God and the peace and joy that is in Jesus Christ.
Nearness to God does not mean the end of earthly troubles. Nearness to God is not first of all about my comfort and encouragement, but it is about God and his glory. The life to which God calls his people is a life of suffering with a view to final glory. God often does not change the circumstances of our life but gives us grace which changes our attitude and response to those troubles.
For the first time in this psalm, the Psalmist confesses God as his covenant God, Jehovah! Jehovah is the covenant-keeping God who works all things well and performs everything for his glory and his people’s good. He is our refuge and our strength! He bears our troubles and will preserve us in his great glory.
“It is good for me to draw nigh to God, that I may declare all thy works” (v. 28).
Your calling as you go to work and school is to declare all the works of God. Show forth his praise! You have been drawn to him and you have seen his greatness, his glory, his love, and his faithfulness. Your life is not about yourself, but it is about God and his glory. Be guided by him. Draw near to him and show forth his works!