Here we go again. This Psalm (along with the next 10 or so) all have reference to “A Psalm of Asaph.” As you may recall, Asaph the Seer was the co-writer of psalms and sacred songs with David – back in the day (see 2 Chronicles 29 for more info). Very cül, actually – as Asaph shared the ability with David to write sacred songs through the Spirit of prophecy.
But I digress.
Some think that Asaph penned this and the following ten Psalms, while others believe these were delivered to the chief musician (Asaph), so they should start out “A Psalm for Asaph.”
Enough history lessons – let’s get on with the güd stuff!
I can really relate to this one, folks. Have you ever asked God why others, who live godless lives and chase after nothing but themselves and their own selfish desires, seem to have so much success and so many resources? All the while, I try to live according to my beliefs, holding back on carnal pleasures and pursuit of worldly treasures, sacrificing my time and resources for the sake of the calling in me to further God’s glory on earth, and it seems like I can barely make it financially and emotionally. (Can you tell I’ve thought about this a few times?) I mean it’s really not fair, is it?
Well, seems like I’m not the only one thinking this way. Take a look at Psalms 73:
1 A psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff! My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. 4 They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “Does God realize what is going on?” they ask. “Is the Most High even aware of what is happening?” 12 Look at these arrogant people enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? 14 All I get is trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.
YES! Doesn’t that feel good? When someone like David (or even chief musician Asaph) writes this way – they’ve got my attention.
My delight is short-lived, however, as the writer of this Psalm (whomever it really was) brings us back to earth. You see, we all know better down deep inside. There is nothing more rewarding than following Christ. All the riches and carnal pleasures on earth (although fun for a season) can never compare to the reward of the gift of the Holy Spirit inside of us and the promise of eternal life in the presence of our Father God. Look how the writer of this Psalm closes this chapter:
15 If I had really spoken this way, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors. 20 Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake. When you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life.
21 Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. 24 You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 But those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
Satan would love to make us think we’re missing out on life, but the truth is, pursuit of earthly pleasures is fleeting and unsatisfying, always leading to wanting more and more. The law of diminishing returns applies to anything this world can offer. Only the living water of God can truly satisfy and bring contentment and peace – even in the midst of poverty and loneliness.
Thank You, my Lord, for the peace and contentment You so generously give me. I echo the words of the writer of this Psalm: “How good it is for me to be near God! I have made the sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.”