Summary: Life doesn’t seem fair. Nonbelievers seem to experience more blessings than we do. In order to find some spiritual stability we need a reality check.
When Life Doesn’t Seem Fair
Let’s begin this morning by talking about perception. How we view something becomes reality for us. The New Scientist magazine has compiled a list of actual statements made by children regarding their perspective about scientific matters.
There are three kinds of blood vessels: arteries, vanes and caterpillars.
Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water.
Blood flows down one leg and up the other.
Rhubarb is a kind of celery gone bloodshot.
Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative.
To keep milk from turning sour: keep it in the cow.
To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.
A child’s perception of reality is often much different than ours. But adults can get mixed up as well. Did you hear the story this week about the Green Bay Packer football player who got his signals crossed? Jason Brookins misinterpreted the Packers’ request for his playbook as a sign that he was cut from the team. After turning in his playbook, he jumped in his car and began the long drive to his home in Missouri. He had turned off his cell phone so team officials couldn’t reach him. Unfortunately, his perception was wrong. The Packers had no intention of releasing him. His name was simply listed so that his playbook could be updated in time for the next practice.
Coach Mike Sherman is not sure if he now wants him on the team anyway: “It was a misunderstanding on his part. I don’t quite understand how. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you can read. In our new facility we have a nice in-house communication process that’s foolproof and he misread the foolproof communication on our video monitors.” I’m not sure if Brookins will want to play for the Packers after hearing a comment like that!
It’s so easy for us to get out of touch with what is real. When we lose our perspective of reality, we can say and do some pretty crazy things. Our perception of reality will always affect our response to reality. I wonder if some of you may have lost your spiritual equilibrium as a result of some faulty perceptions.
Life doesn’t seem fair. Nonbelievers seem to experience more blessings than we do. In order to find some spiritual stability we need a reality check. The best place we can go to get things “reframed” is to listen to God’s communication system – the Bible. This morning as we wrap up our summer series called, “Praying Through the Psalms,” we’ll see how Psalm 73 gives us God’s playbook on what to do when we get our signals crossed.
This psalm was written by a man named Asaph. He was a mature, godly man who served as the worship leader in the temple and was the author of 12 different psalms. Yet, in spite of all this, he was ready to hand everything in and head back home. He almost walked away from God because his perception of reality was mixed up. This psalm is very personal, and filled with gut-wrenching honesty. Asaph asks the question that many of us have asked at one time or another: If God is supposed to bless believers, why do we struggle with health, finances, and relational turmoil while the unbelievers around us seem to enjoy prosperity? Or, we could ask it this way, “Why are the wicked successful while the righteous suffer?”
Asaph begins with an introduction, a summary statement, and a theological conclusion all wrapped up in verse 1: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” Asaph is stating the universal premise for the believer: God is good. The word “surely” literally means “yet” and also has the idea of exclusivity: “No matter what happens, God and God alone is good.” While we can count on this certainty, it’s also the crux of the problem. Psalm 84:11 reinforces this dilemma “…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” If God is good, shouldn’t we receive more “good” things in our life? Shouldn’t we at least have more blessings than those who don’t even care about God?
The Human Perspective
After stating what he knows is ultimately true, Asaph looks around and from a human perspective wonders what is going on in the first half of the psalm. He was bothered by what he had been taught in Scripture because what he had experienced in life was radically different. In verse 2, he admits that he had almost “slipped.” This verse stands in stark contrast to the certainty of verse 1: “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.” God, you might be good, but I almost bailed on you. Asaph felt like he was trying to walk on moss-covered rocks in a lake. He came very, very close to losing his confidence in God’s goodness because of four things that he saw around him.