My Feet Had Almost Stumbled…

Posted on February 16, 2016
Filed Under From Daily Readings, Wisdom Literature | 6 Comments

Asaph, in Psalm 73, identified what may be one of the difficult realizations of the righteous:  Life is not fair! He wrote of his experiences, looking around the life he was living, to see the wicked and how they prospered. It was easy for him to grow envious of these wicked people, as it appeared that they had everything they ever wanted.

It doesn’t take long for us to look around us and see the prosperity of the wicked. Everywhere we look we can see the wicked seeming to live a life of ease without any problems. Like Asaph, we see those who are wicked, and yet prosperous (Psalm 73:3, 7). We see those who live to an old age, and seem to die peacefully (Psalm 73:4). We see those who are prideful, even to the point of boasting about how prideful they are (Psalm 73:6).  We see people who mock God and are antagonistic against His people (Psalm 73:10-11).

When we see such things, it becomes easy to start thinking that we have made the wrong decision. We begin to think of how much better life would be for us if we just gave up on God and all that He has instructed us to do. We wouldn’t have it so hard. We could probably be more prosperous, if we were to leave behind our moral principles.

Asaph’s problem is the same problem that we sometimes fall into. He had lost his perspective. And, sometimes perspective is everything! Asaph had allowed himself to fall into the worldly, temporal perspective. He was focused on what he could see, and had, at least to some degree, lost sight of that which is invisible. Paul, as he wrote to the Corinthians, warned them about this very same problem:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).

Any time we allow our focus to be drawn away from the goal of the eternal prize, available only through faith in Christ Jesus, we will be drawn away from righteousness. There is much to this world that is quite appealing when we reject God. Temptations are just that because they appeal to things that are pleasurable to us as human beings. When we are striving to serve God, and feel like we are somehow “missing out” on the things that other people are involved in, we begin to lose perspective. When we are persecuted for serving God, and see the wicked living what appears to be the trouble free life, it is enough to knock us down spiritually (Psalm 73:12-14). We can end up being just like Asaph, grieved of heart and vexed of mind (Psalm 73:21).

Like Asaph, we need to get our focus reestablished. Instead of looking at the present, and thinking that we are missing out on something grand, we need to focus on the eternal. Notice what Asaph did to refocus his attentions:

If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me— Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. (Psalm 73:15–17)

Asaph went to God to get the proper perspective. There was more out there than just this life. There was something to look forward to, regardless of how difficult things might get in the “here and now.”  If there were nothing beyond this life, no matter how good this life is, it would be a dreary existence.

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15:12–19)

Asaph eventually came to realize that what he saw as some great benefit in those worldly people around him was really no benefit at all. There was no benefit to their wicked and worldly life because when they died (peaceful though it may be) they had to go and face the Lord, to whom they had to give an answer. He was reminded of the eternal perspective, rather than the earthly perspective. In the end, God would be the one who dealt with them (Psalm 73:18-20).

Asaph began his Psalm by telling the reader that God is good to Israel. Before he discussed his own doubts, he reminded anyone who would read his work that God is good. God does not change. He is always good to those who are willing to do His will (Matthew 6:28-34). Asaph’s doubts did not come because of some shortcoming on God’s behalf. His stumbling was the results of his own earthly (and selfish) desires. He saw the rich and powerful, and he was enticed by what he thought might be offered in their world. But, anything they could offer was only temporary at best. He returned to the House of God where he could be reminded of the eternal reward of a faithful life of service to Him.

Notice how Asaph completes his Psalm:

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. (Psalm 73:28)

That is certainly the conclusion that we need to reach as well. Start with the conclusion that God is good to those who are obedient to Him, and end with idea that it is our responsibility to draw near to God and put our trust in the Lord. If we believe that, how can we fail to declare His works?