At times when life may seem unfair to us, we can think of our commitment to God’s will. It is easy to get frustrated as we watch others who don’t care about Him, but seem to do well in life. This can make us feel cheated. Have we been good for nothing? Will there ever be a reward for our efforts?
This psalm shows us the results of allowing self-pity to engulf us. The psalmist evidently became depressed when he compared the seemingly prosperity of the wicked with the difficulties of trying to live a righteous life. In the first 10 verses he speaks boastfully about the known prosperity of the ungodly. Asaph also questioned God’s wisdom. In verses 2 and 3, Asaph lost faith by envying the foolish and worrying about the prosperity of the wicked. Doubt in God is seen in verse 11 when Asaph said, “Is there knowledge in the MOST HIGH?” In the end God creates slippery places for the ungodly and allows them to travel down destructive paths. They can be consumed with terrors (verse 19)!
So Asaph became spiritually alert after realizing how wrong he was to have questioned God’s goodness and mercy. With faith Asaph said, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my potion forever (verses 25-26).” Is God only in one place? “Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and the earth?” (Jeremiah 23: 23-24). “Can anyone hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?” God is everywhere and sees everything. Believing this allows us to live according to God’s Word without doubting his existence. He never grows faint or weary. No person can measure His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired; he offers strength to the weak as told in Isaiah 40:27-31. God is absolutely a full-time worker for all of us!
At one time, Asaph felt that it was worthless to be faithful to God when he said, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean.” Asaph, to his own surprise, found the answer in the sanctuary! The key may be to contemplate the end or the outcome of the lives of the arrogant and the faithful. How does God enlighten our understanding about the destiny of man? Always know that God has set the arrogant in slippery places so that they are destroyed in a moment (verses 18-19). When we are tempted to harbor bitter thoughts, we, like Asaph, can ask God to keep us near Him. Even when Asaph felt like a beast, God still had a firm hold on his faithful servant continually. The godly people can be satisfied because they are near God and have Him as the strength of their hearts.
By verse 11, Asaph realized that God was his strength and potion forever. He revealed his inside turmoil when he envied the wicked who seemed to have been arrogant or boastful in their time of prosperity. Finally, he realized that God guides us with his word and will receive us into glory where heavenly honors await the faithful.
As humans we may find ourselves not understanding the justice of God, His goodness, and feel that He will not know about our shortcomings. How wonderful it is to be near God, to find protection with the Lord and to proclaim all that He has done!
This Psalm of Asaph outlines the tragedy of the wicked, and the blessedness of our trust in God. It is good for us to draw near to God and to put our trust in Him so that we can continue to testify about His works locally and abroad. Like the psalmist, let us praise God for His presence in this life and His promise of the life to come (verses 25-28). He is all we need, even when life seems unfair!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.