by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Keep close to God
Another translation [of Psalm 73:28] could be this, ‘But as for myself, nearness to God is good for me’ ... His chief ambition is going to be just that, to keep near to God.... We are all either far from God or near to Him ... so that it is vitally important that we should arrive at this man’s resolve, to be near to God.
... what was uppermost in his mind was something like this. Reviewing his sad experience he came to the conclusion that what had really been wrong with him ... was just the fact that he did not keep near to God. He had thought it was the fact that the ungodly seemed to prosper while he experienced nothing but troubles. But now, having been given the enlightenment which he had in the sanctuary of God, he sees quite clearly that this was not the root cause of his trouble at all. There is only one thing that matters and that is man’s relationship to God. If I am near to God, says this man, it does not really matter what happens to me; but if I am far from God, nothing can eventually be right....
This is the beginning and the end of wisdom in the Christian life. The moment we move away from God everything goes wrong. The one secret is to keep near to God. When we fail, we are like a ship at sea that loses sight of the North star, or whose compass fails. If we lose our bearings, we must not be surprised at the consequences. That is what this man discovered. “This is what I need,’ he says; ‘not blessings, not the prosperity other people have.... Therefore, this is my resolution. For myself, I am going to live near God. That is always going to be the big thing in my life. I am going to start with that every day as it comes. I am going to say to myself, Whatever else happens that this is the essential thing, to be near to God.’
Faith on Trial, pp. 117–18