This week as we continue our series on lesser known personalities in the Bible, we are going to take a look at, Asaph.
The book of Psalms contains several “Psalms of Asaph,” which contain his name at the beginning of the psalm. These are Psalms 50 and 73—83. Many of Asaph’s psalms have to do with God’s judgment and the prayers of God’s people related to particular happenings or moments in time. Asaph was a gifted writer, musician, and worship leader who used his gifts to bring praise to God and communicate about God to others.
This week I would invite us to look at Psalm 73…
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pain;
their bodies are sound and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not plagued like other people.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out with fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues range over the earth.
10 Therefore the people turn and praise them
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Such are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued
and am punished every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”
I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I perceived their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
on awaking you despise their phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
you put an end to those who are false to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
to tell of all your works.
This Psalm really takes us on a journey. Asaph is filled with bitterness and envy over what seemed to be an unfair situation and led him to a spiritual crisis. Though he saw God’s faithfulness to Israel, Asaph struggled to understand why it seemed that wicked people were so prosperous and healthy. As a spiritual leader, he was concerned about how others would perceive his own fall from faith would be. Rather than embrace cynicism and bitterness, he sought to better understand God. From that humble perspective, he remembered that wickedness does, in fact, usually result in earthly troubles. The psalm ends with a confirmation of faith in the Lord. Compared to everything the world may offer, God is far better. Not only can believers trust in God’s plan during earthly life, but they also look forward to eternity in God’s presence.
Do we sometimes feel like Asaph?
Do we get so caught in the world around us, we focus more on this world?
What helps us to return our focus to God?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
~ Pastor Dustin