Summary: Follow the educational journey of Asaph through Psalm 73 and discover the teaching that changes character and destiny.
Last week we honored our mothers on Mother’s day and looked into God’s word to see how the blessing of motherhood was designed by God to reveal God’s image and ultimately to give birth the Savior of the world.
Today, let’s focus on a word from God for our Graduating class of 2015. This year our church family has six high school graduates: Sarah Baxley, Luke Bible, Brian Curtis, Kyler Kayanek, Devin Laman and Grace Stewart. Congratulations to you and to your parents and families at this achievement in life!
We are all thankful for you and seek God’s blessings on you graduates and your families as you move forward from this point in your lives. Tonight, Lord willing, we will have a special time of celebration for you and your families that Kendall has planned and put together.
This morning, as we worship together I invite you to open your Bibles to Psalm 73 for a message that reveals a spiritual educational experience of Asaph in the school of life.
So, first of all, who is Asaph? A Levite, son of Berechiah, one of the leaders of David's choir. (1 Chronicles 6:39) Psalms 50 and 73-83 are attributed to him; and he was in after times celebrated as a seer as well as a musical composer. (2 Chronicles 29:30; Nehemiah 12:46) He lived some time around 1000 B.C. Think of it. We get to hear from a writer of Psalms and a priest who lived about 3000 years ago in the times of King David, and his experience as recorded in this Psalm shows us that human nature hasn’t changed much over the centuries.
This Psalm speaks a message that I hope will resonate with us today. Asaph helps us move from consumer to communer, from temporal to eternal focused. We see how Asaph’s education truly changed his character and not just his T-cap scores.
Listen to his words as we go through this, but also, lean into it to hear God’s instruction and encouragement too. Let this lesson educate your faith and build up your understanding of things that last forever verses things that only last a short while. Listen to the warning within these words that can protect you from the addiction of the unimportant things in life.
Let’s track Asaph’s journey as he discovers the surprising joy of a radical reinterpretation of what is good.
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
That’s clear enough, isn’t it? God is what to those who are pure in heart? Good! God is good, all the time, right? But what does it mean for God to be good to us? How do you define God being good to you? Enter the school of life where our theology often clashes with our reality.
“O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porches, I must make amends!”
Asaph declares God’s goodness, then he looks around him and begins to question it. In fact, he nearly gave up on it altogether.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Asaph’s first lesson about life is this: It’s not fair. No, it’s not. It is fallen. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, God’s own Son was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. Satan offered Jesus the world in all its splendor if He would just bow and give Satan a little worship. The path Jesus was on here on this earth led not to a crown of gold, but to a crown of thorns, betrayal and a crucifixion. He did nothing wrong, but He suffered the punishment for the sins of the world. Is that fair? No, it’s not. Where is the goodness of God in that? We see it only by faith, brothers and sisters. All others see only a miserable death.
Why is it then that some bad people get all the good stuff and enjoy all the bling? Why can’t that be me? I thought God was good to those who are pure in heart. What’s good about struggling to pay bills while the wicked have it all?