The Asaph Syndrome

 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Dear Truth-Seekers,

Here we are, the beginning of a new year.  I have been thinking about each of you and praying for you to continue on your journey of truth.  Our discussion for today’s blog will be coming from Psalm 73.

I would like to pose several questions to you for your thought and consideration.

  • Have you ever been angry with God?
  • Have you ever questioned God about the prosperity of the wicked?
  • Have your questions sometimes left you feeling doubtful about God?

Well, let me begin with my truth.  I have been guilty of questioning God.  I have been angry with God on occasion when I could not understand the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked.  I had a hard time understanding the injustices the people of God suffered at the hands of the wicked.  Why was there such little evidence of prosperity in their lives?  Have you ever felt that way?  If so, you are not alone. We are not alone.  Someone in the bible felt the same way.  His name was Asaph.

Asaph was a Levite of the family of Gershom and one of the three chief musicians appointed by King David to preside over the choral services of the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 16:5).  He was selected by the Levites to lead the music when David brought the ark up to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16-19).  Asaph was chosen to lead the choirs at the new site for the ark in Jerusalem.  His sons were entrusted with the leadership of the twenty-four courses of musicians and they took part in the dedication of Solomon’s temple. He was an honored seer as well as a gifted singer. Asaph was a spiritually minded man, gifted in praise and prophecy.  Asaph was also an encourager.  He testified of the steadfast love of the Lord, but Asaph also spoke honestly about his own confusion and frustration during difficult times.  Asaph had a problem with the sinful behavior and the benefits of the ungodly.

Beginning with Psalm 73:3, Asaph goes right into the heart of the matter when he declares his truth.

For I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

As truth-seekers we must embrace the reality of this truth in our own lives. We too suffer with the same heart issue.  All the truth-seekers say AMEN!.

As I continue on, Psalm 73:4-16 (New English Translation), it describes how Asaph was feeling when he pined these words about the wicked.

“For they suffer no pain; their bodies are strong and well-fed.  They are immune to the trouble common to men; they do not suffer as other men do.  Arrogance is their necklace, and violence their clothing.  Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; their thoughts are sinful.  They cock and say evil things; they proudly threaten violence.  They speak as if they rule in heaven, and lay claim to the earth.  Therefore they have more than enough food to eat, and even suck up the water of the sea.  They  say, “How does God know what we do?  Is the sovereign One aware of what goes on?”  Take a good look!  This is what the wicked are like, those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.  I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle.  I suffer all day long, and am punished every morning.  If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers.  When I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling to me.”

Wow!  This is what I describe as “Matters of the Heart”.  Have you ever doubted God?  Have you ever lost sight of His promises?  Have your tears been your food night and day, while the wicked is asking you “where is your God?”   You also begin to ask  where are you God?  Don’t you see what is happening?  They mock me!  They taunt me!  They continue in their prosperity while I’m trying to figure out how I will deal with the troubles of today and the afflictions of tomorrow.

Charles Spurgeon wrote it this way in reference to Asaph.  His eye was fixed too much on one thing.  He saw their present and forgot their future.

Let us go back to Psalm 73 to see  the outcome of Asaph’s struggle.

The word of God tells us that Asaph entered into the sanctuary of God.  This means he came before the presence of God.  The sanctuary is a picture of the place where we meet God.  There Asaph’s eyes were opened.  He was reminded through God’s word concerning the future of the wicked.  Asaph was no longer moved by his emotions.  Feelings had nothing to do with the truth.  God’s word concerning the future of the wicked put Asaph mind at rest.  Asaph had come to understand what he knew so well, life in this world is temporary, but for the righteous the gift of God is eternal life.

Take note truth-seekers.  Your body is the temple of God.  We ourselves are the sanctuary.  God Almighty abides in us.  When we face struggles we too as Asaph must enter into his sanctuary.  God’s word is TRUTH.  We must know His word so we can walk in victory.  I challenge you to have a little talk with Jesus.

As I said earlier, I understood how Asaph felt.  His truth was my truth.  When I went into his sanctuary and bowed before God’s Throne of Grace he spoke to me about my truth.  He made me realize how easy it is to become vexed in the spirit with the concerns of this world.  God reminded me that my anger and unrest came when I stopped trusting Him.  Have you stop trusting God?  Is there unrest in your mind, heart and soul?  Do as Asaph did.  Do as God ask us to do.  Jesus has promised that if we seek Him, we shall find Him.  Enter into the sanctuary of God.

 Let me close with a scripture from Romans 6:23.

“FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.”

So what is the answer to those of us who suffer with the “Asaph Syndrome”?

King David pined these words in Psalm 37:34-38. Rely on the Lord! Obey his commands! Then he will permit you to possess the land; you will see the demise of evil men. I have seen ruthless evil men growing in influence, like a green tree grows in its native soil. But then one passes by, and suddenly they have disappeared!  I looked for them, but they could not be found. Take note of the one who has integrity!  Observe the godly!  For the one who promotes peace has a future. Sinful rebels are totally destroyed; evil men have no future.

This is where we shout Amen and begin to praise God.  As God’s children, we know where we will spend ETERNITY!

God is in total control.  He is aware of the wicked and the deceitfulness of this world.  Nothing surprises God Almighty.  God want us to trust Him and live in obedience to His Holy Word.  His Word has given us the direction for our lives and the answer to every situation we encounter.  His Word tells us the outcome of the wicked and our VICTORY as believers.  Therefore, trust in His promises.

One last question.  Do you remember Moses and why he wasn’t able to make it into the promise land?

In the Book of Numbers, Chapter 20, the Lord told Moses, “Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak to the rock before their eyes.  It will pour forth its water, and you will bring water out of the rock for them, and so you will give the community and their beasts water to drink.  So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, just has he commanded him, “Listen, your rebels, must we bring water out of this rock for you?”  Then Moses raised his hand, and struck the rock twice with his staff.  Water came out abundantly.  So the community drank, and their beasts too.  Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to show me as holy before the Israelites, therefore you will not bring this community into the land I have given them.”

God give Moses a command followed by a promise.  God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck the rock with his staff.  Moses also took credit for bringing forth the water.  Moses walked in disobedience and for his lack of disobedience Moses never entered into the promise land.

Don’t let the behavior of the wicked keep you from receiving the promises of God.

Asaph concluded in Psalm 73 with these words.  “But as for me, God’s presence is all I need.  I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done.”

AMEN

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