September 27, 2017
Psalm 73:3, 16, 17
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
“…until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood….” This is how we are to come to comprehend a lot of troubling situations that confront us in our lives. When we can’t understand what is going on, we need God’s perspective! Here is the problem with which Asaph struggled, and the solution he found – Psalm 73:3, 16, and 17:
…I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
…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.
We examined the issue which bothered Asaph – the prosperity of the wicked. And we looked at several verses of Psalm 73 describing the attitude of the wicked – “‘What does God know?” (verse 11); Asaph’s original reactions – “…I was envious of the boastful….” (verse 3); and the end of those opposing God – “…they are brought to desolation…in a moment! ” (verse 19).
Now let’s consider the ‘attitude adjustment’ Asaph experienced:
• Verses 21, 22 – “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.” People who don’t know the Lord often boast of their wisdom and understanding. Yes, there is “…persuasive words of human wisdom…” (I Corinthians 2:4). Jesus even instructed us in Matthew 10:16 to “…be wise as serpents…[but as] harmless as doves.” Since Satan “…that serpent of old…” (Revelation 12:9) is in control of “…all the kingdoms of the world….and their glory…” (Luke 4:5 and 6), then, as Christians, to be wise as serpents, is to make good (and godly) use of the wisdom of the world!
• Verse 23 – “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.” The right hand is the clean hand, the hand of power. When God holds us by our right hand, we are giving Him total control of our lives! This reminds me of what it says in Isaiah 41:10 and 13:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will
strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous
right hand….For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying
to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”
• Verse 24 – “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” In Isaiah 30:21, the Lord says to His people, “Your ears shall hear a world behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” This is the guidance of the Holy Spirit – now forever within us in this ‘age of grace’! (See John 14:16, 17). Asaph experienced God’s guidance, and also had the confidence of eternal life. How much more can we as Christians? (See I John 5:11-13).
• Verse 25 – “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You.” Paul states in I Corinthians 8:5 and 6 (International Standard Version):
…even if there are “gods” in heaven and on earth (as indeed there are
many so-called “gods” and “lords”), yet for us there is only one God,
the Father, from whom everything came into being and for whom we
live. And there is only one Lord, Jesus the Messiah, through whom
everything came into being and through whom we live.
When Asaph quit concentrating on the wicked, and turned his thoughts to following the Lord, as his only one God, then he could say what the Apostle Paul said centuries later: “…whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8). What direction are you allowing for your mind? (See II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8).
• Verse 26 – “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Yes, our mortal life is temporary (see Psalm 90:10; James 4:14). But we will never be discouraged about coming up on the short end of things if we view life from God’s eternal perspective! (See Romans 8:18).
Here is Asaph’s summation of this whole matter – his new understanding of the prosperity of the wicked:
• Verse 27 – “For indeed, those who are far from you shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.” Harlotry is translated in the King James Version (and four others of the 17 versions in my computer program) as those who go a whoring from God. In Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, the word means “to commit adultery….” The Israelites were married to Jehovah! (See Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; 31:32). And when the wicked left off serving the Lord God and followed after other gods (or their own ways), they deserted God for harlotry! God will not tolerate unfaithfulness forever! (See Hosea 2:1-23).
• Verse 28 – “…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.” We saw in verse 15 (Monday’s blog) that Asaph wanted to share his concerns with others, but he felt he could be condemned for questioning God. But now, since he put his trust in the Lord, he could declare all God’s works! Get the true ways of God settled in your mind, and He will expand and bless your witness!
“…until I went in….” Do you want to understand how life works? Are there things that bother you when bad things happen to good people and when good things happen to the wicked ? Then go into the sanctuary of God ! Get into His Word, the Bible, and discern the Lord’s mind on the matter! After all, “…God is in heaven and you are on the earth…” (Ecclesiastes 5:2 – Bible in Basic English). So He has the wider and better view of things! Learn His viewpoint – and you will have a greater and more effective understanding of life!