Life can throw us some pretty significant curves, regardless of how righteous we are. Psalms in Practice. Which Psalm most readily jumps into your mind when someone asks what your favorite is? Many people would say the 23rd. But there are so many others that are compelling and like 1, 2, 19, 31, 50, 51, 90... The Psalm Tony has preached from more than any other is Psalm 73, involving the title of our lesson, making sense of the world. The world is a mess. Politics is a mess. And, while Social media can serve some purposes, to many people it is the cause of damaging self-absorption. Asaph sees the prosperity, pleasure and pride of the sinful and it troubles him to try to understand this seeming incongruity. So what did he learn in the midst of his emotional pain? 1. Errors of the head and heart soon affect conduct. Heart is mentioned 6 times in this Psalm. He mentions his heart being embittered. But in the last verse says God is the strength of his heart. Where it bodes badly for Asaph is when he questions God’s goodness. He is consumed with self-pity. What am I getting out of this, he asks. When our heart is askew, our values can get distorted, our affections can be diverted and, as a result, choices digress.
2. Spiritual victories are sometimes won by degrees. Asaph is a man dedicated to pleasing God and yet he is struggling. Most wars are won in gradual efforts, with relentless campaigns. The lesson from Asaph is don’t get discouraged by slow progress. We don’t share our struggles with one another enough . We fear it will be seen as weakness.
3. Despite all this, he says serving the king has advantages, specifically for those who are pure in heart. When you read Psalm 73 you should also read Psalm 37. They go hand-in-hand. We want to develop a heart that is wholly committed to God. If you try to live in two worlds, if you are not pure in heart, you will really struggle. Asaph comes to the conclusion that fellowship with God trumps absolutely everything.
God glorifies the person who is wholly dedicated to Him. God is near, God is your refuge, He is a strengthening force. Everything that has meaning comes from God.