February 18
The first thing to do
For reading & meditation: Psalms 42
"These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude ' to the house of God '" (v.4)

Over the past few days we have seen how the psalmist was caught in the hiatus between the moment when he stopped himself from sliding and the moment when he started to climb again. This, we said, is a very critical time - critical because it makes us inclined to accept easy answers. The perplexity did not end when the psalmist stopped himself from slipping. His thoughts still went around in circles and he continued to have great anguish of heart and mind. How, then, were his thoughts concerning the prosperity of the ungodly resolved? Not by grabbing at superficial answers, but by going into the sanctuary of God, where he could begin to see the whole situation from God's point of view. Listen to how he puts it: "When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny"(Psa. 73:16-17). The word "sanctuary" here literally means the physical house of God. Some translations use the phrase, "till I entered the secret of God", but that is incorrect. Read Psalm 74 and read Psalm 76 and you will find that they both refer to the material building where God was worshipped. Had the psalmist, I wonder, like so many of us when we are filled with doubt and uncertainty, stayed away from the sanctuary of God? How strange that the last thing we want to do when our hearts are filled with doubts and misunderstandings is meet with our fellow believers in the house of God. Yet that is the very first thing we ought to do.
 
Gracious Father, I am so grateful that You have ordained that Your people meet together. Help me understand more clearly than ever the value and benefits that flow from being with Your people. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
 
For further study:
1. What are we not to do?
2. What was Jesus' custom?