Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When I Have Doubts

Psalm 73 was written by Asaph, who was put in charge of the music at the tabernacle by David.  In this psalm Asaph detailed his struggle to understand how the wicked could prosper and experience a carefree life while the godly suffered from afflictions and oppressions and for them life was not easy. Despites his internal struggles to understand, he declares his faith in God's goodness to "the pure in heart".   "Spiritual purity means a believer's heart is devoted exclusively to the Lord God." (Explore the Bible Fall 2009, page 68)

In verses 2 through 5, Asaph admits that his faith faltered and became jealous of the wicked because of their good fortune and their easy lifestyle.  To Asaph it seemed that the wicked suffered no ill effects because of their sins and irreverance to God.  However, the wicked may seem like they have it made on this earth, but remember for them without Jesus to save them, this is all they will have.  Asaph became jealous of the wicked probably because he was comparing their lives with his and other believers.  Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to another; if God does not compare you to another person, then you should not either.  If you find yourself desire something another has, you can be sure that your focus has shifted off of God and His purpose for you.  "When we lose sight of God's goodness to us, we find ourselves tempted to doubt life's basic fairness." (Explore the Bible Fall 2009, page 69)

In verses 13 and 14, Asaph wonders if his efforts to live a godly life is all for naught because of the troubles he endured daily.  "It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances." (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)  In verse 15 Asaph reveals he had not told anyone of his doubts because as a congregational leader did not want to discourage any members of the congregation.

Asaph declares that he could not understand why the wicked were prospering while the godly suffered (verse 16) until her "entered God's santuary" (verse 17).   Worship, as Asaph discovered, takes a believer's focus off of themselves, their problems and concerns so God has his undivided attention.  When we worship God without letting anything interfere with our worship, God will transform us into what we need to be and that includes the transformation of our thoughts, attitudes and perspective.  While worshipping God, Asaph realized the wicked would ultimately answer to God for their behavior and just because they did not receive serious ramifications for their rebellion to God while living on this earth, does not mean they will escape judgment before God when Jesus returns. (verses 18 and 19)  "Asaph realized that the rich who put their hope, joy, and confidence in their wealth live in a dreamworld. A dream exists only in the mind of the dreamer."  (Life Application Bible Notes)  "No man should desire riches; for they bring with them so many cares and temptations as to be almost unmanageable." (Adam Clarke's Commentary)

In verse 25 Asaph turns his attention from the good fortune of the wicked to God.  He realized his relationship with God was more valuable and precious than any material possession that could be possessed on this earth, and better yet, his relationship with God would outlast all the temporal things of this earth.  He also is aware that his body would fail him on day, but God would not (verse 26).  God would provide him with an inheritance.  But for the wicked since they lived apart from God in this life, they will live apart from Him for all eternity, such is the price to be paid for their rebellion against the Lord.  

Asaph ends this psalm like he began it by proclaiming God's goodness.  "His testimony in both the first and final verses was energized by the transforming worship he had experienced." (Explore the Bible, Fall 2009, page 73).  Worship makes us aware of God's goodness and like Asaph, we should declare God's goodness to others.

How can you deal with your doubts?  Strengthen your relationship with God, give serious attention to worship and count the blessings that you have because of your relationship with God.

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