Sunday, April 10, 2016

Part 2, Asaph in God's school of suffering Psalm 73

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Psalm 73 Part 2 - Asaph - A new perspective toward 
God and God's word.

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog. If you wish to read Part 1 please go to

Asaph's backsliding
In the above mentioned blog, I  discussed the writer Asaph's erroneous thinking in regard to his personal relationship with God. He was a singer and teacher in Israel but he began to doubt the goodness of God.  He  had been feeling short-changed by the LORD, when in fact the LORD was chastening Asaph for hardening his heart toward Him.
 Asaph was miserable
Image result for old testament person looking sad
In a more general sense, He could not reconcile a Righteous God who failed blessing the righteous and allowed the wicked to be prosperous. Asaph had lost  his joy and life had become a monotonous grind.
In this blog, I am interested in the process that enabled him to get out of his present state of mind and to submit to His God. 

Asaph's reflection
The way back to the Lord became evident to him when he reflected on the reason why all these things had happened to him. The (Hebrew word that is used is Chashab which means to think upon, consider, be mindful of, to reckon). In fact he says in 73:21-22, When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You." Beasts do not have the ability to self reflect. Every thing they do is driven by instinct. It is easy in our "pace-addicted world" to rush through our days and not even think about what God may be doing in our lives. Asaph started pondering  and then after being troubled he went to the temple of God. It was there that the LORD revealed to him that the wicked would be judged under the wrath of God. 
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The turning point for Asaph
(Psalm  73:17 tells us: "Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end)." The temple  was where the priests read the word of God and taught it to the people of Israel. It was there where the Thrice Holy God dwelt above the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
Asaph further says about the wicked in 
Psalm 73:18-19; "Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction. How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!"

But that wasn't all; he had learned other things during this enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. 
The first lesson. He learned that no matter what the circumstances, God was holding on to his right hand.

Another lesson was that the Lord would  guide him daily by the word of God (his counsel).

A third lesson he learned  was,that at the end of his life the LORD would transfer him from earth to heaven.  There in Heaven, he would experience the outcome of His salvation, perfect joy and without sin.

A fourth lesson he learned was that no matter how great the perceived injustice and how deep the sorrow,the greatest thing on earth and in heaven was that he knew and loved God and needed no one else but Him.

A fifth lesson , he learned that even though his  flesh and his heart  failed,  God was the strength of his heart and his portion forever. SB

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Please see this exposition of John Gill
My flesh and my heart faileth

This may happen through strong desires of communion with God, not being realized.( see Psalm 84:2). It may also happen when we are being attacked by the devil and chastened continually Psalms 73:14 ). Again, the flesh and heart failing may come through times of heavy affliction which are brought on by the providence of God. It also can include inward trials, indwelling sin, temptations, and feelings that God has deserted you. It may be you are tried greatly being at the point of death; the heart being, as philosophers say, the first that lives, and the last that dies: (This paragraph was abridged by editor).

 Image result for bible picture of a character praying

But God is the strength of my heart, or "the rock of my heart." When overwhelmed with distress through outward trouble or in the lowest condition with respect to spiritual things; when grace is weak, corruptions strong, temptations prevail, and afflictions are many; then does the Lord support and sustain his people, and strengthens them with strength in their souls; and in the moment of death, by showing them that its sting is taken away, and its curse removed; that their souls are going to their Lord, and about to enter into his joy; and that their bodies will rise again glorious and incorruptible.

And my portion for ever; This is both in life and at death, and to all eternity; this is a very large portion indeed; such who have it inherit all things; yea, it is immense and inconceivable; it is a soul satisfying one, and is safe and secure; it can never be taken away, nor can it be spent; it will last always; see (Psalms 142:5 ) (Lamentations 3:24 ) . John Gill's Exposition of the Bible,(public domain), edited by Steve Bloem.

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