God's Awesomeness

All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning.
If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,” I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes; on awaking you despise their phantoms.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you.
Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor.
Ps 73:10-24

I suppose I might look at this part of Psalm 73 as a threat: destruction will be the lot of those who disregard God and/or live selfish lives. But I don't think it's like that at all. The end is before all of us. We can cower in terror before it, or we can trust God that the end as we perceive it will be but a new beginning. To fear God (i.e. to respect God and to be aware of God's awesomeness) is to be relieved of terror. Absent that fear, we lack wisdom—and for all our refinement and riches, are no better than brute beasts who are only concerned with material things.

So, despite the fact that I may not be keeping up with the Joneses, may I never think of my commitment to non-material things as time wasted. God is ever there, and God's promise will eventually overcome my fickleness.

Father, imprint upon my heart that because I belong to you no one can pluck me from your hand, and because I fear you I need fear no other. In the Name of the One who taught me to pray: Our Father...
A New Zealand Prayer Book