A Fork in the Road
It is good to pour out your heart to God. This is true even when prayer leads to a wrong conclusion. Asaph wasn’t finished praying, but he did conclude that ungodly people are always at ease and increasing in riches. He felt that pursuing holiness was fruitless. This was a painful and troublesome conclusion to him. However, Asaph enters the sanctuary of God and readjusts his perspective in v. 17. When Asaph is finished praying, he reaffirms his relationship with God and readjusts his perspective.
When you pour out your heart to God, you will find that He is good and compassionate toward His children. Many, many believers are so embittered against God because of their circumstances in life. They refuse to face this fact. So many spew their vindictiveness upon others but won’t go to God with all of these corrosive thoughts. Why are we seeking to hide from God what He knows to be true about us?
Asaph considers a fork in the road. One path leads to ungodly thinking (vv. 12-14). A second path leads to godly thinking (vv. 15-16). So when he stops to consider and understand all of this, it was troublesome and painful (v. 16). This is because of his need to readjust from a temporal to an eternal perspective. The “stop and think” time that we have in prayer is important. We carefully carry out all the possible implications of our thinking. How will this affect others? Will I later regret my line of thinking and reasoning?
A Progression in Prayer
It is not until Asaph enters the sanctuary of God that he finds his inner compass reminding him of an eternal perspective. This is in his prayer progression, when he readjusts to an eternal perspective.
His feet are not actually slipping; the wicked are slipping away from the restraining fingers of God. God will eventually let the wicked go. The thinking of the wicked is twisted. Wrong is right and right is wrong. Their reprobate minds disapprove of God and eternal things. So, God is slowly releasing them from His fingers of restraint. If they do not turn to Him, He will cast them into eternal punishment. Now, Asaph is grieved for an entirely different reason. He no longer envies the wicked; he pities them. This readjustment takes place even as we consider a simple question like, “Where will everyone on this earth be 10,000 years from now?”
Drawing Near to God
We cannot possibly know why God allows certain changes and adversities to come into our lives. Overall, we know what God is doing in each of us. He is forming Christ in us. We are quite proud when we question the wisdom of what God is doing. Our even assume we know what God is doing. Our problem is one of perspective. We limit our understanding to the temporal world instead of tethering our hope to the Eternal God. We are “so foolish and ignorant; [we are] like beasts before [the LORD]” (Psalm 73.22). It is good for us to draw near to God (73.28a). But how do we draw near to God? We must know and believe He is near. Faith follows facts. Jeremiah wrote, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (Lam 3.25). “It is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73.25a). How good is it?
- There is nothing more pleasurable in life than drawing near to God.
- There is nothing more profitable in life than drawing near to God.
Readjusting and Reaffirming
When I draw near to God, He restrains me from sin, comforts me in trials, fortifies me for battle, and prepares me for glory! When I wander away from Him, there is only eternal death. Reaffirm your relationship with God and readjust your perspective. “It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the LORD God” (Psalm 73.28a). What steps are believers able to take to reaffirm and readjust?
- Carefully consider your choices and the impact they have on others. We all face a fork in the road daily? Don’t let emotions rule the day. What is real (Philippians 4.8)?
- Conclude that God alone is able to help you. “There is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Psalm 73.25).
- Conclude that though your flesh and heart fail, God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever (Psalm 73.26).
- Draw near to God and declare all His works (Psalm 73.28).
- Keep at this until you stop thinking about the terrible thing that happened to you and end up thinking about the opportunity to solidify your relationship with the living God.
- Realize Heaven is waiting for you. The Lord Jesus prepares way, the place, and the body for you to live with the Father forever.
- Always believe that God wants to take the worst things that come your way and use them for your good (Romans 8.28).
How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see
Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flowers
Have all lost their sweetness to me
The midsummer sun shines but dim
The fields strive in vain to look gay
But when I am happy in Him
December’s as pleasant as May
His name yields the richest perfume
And sweeter than music His voice
His presence disperses all gloom
And makes all within me rejoice.
I would, were He always thus nigh
Have nothing to dread or to fear
No mortal so happy as I
My summer would last all the year
Content with beholding His face
My all to His pleasure resigned
No changes of season or place
Could make any change in my mind
So blessed in the light of His love
A toy would a palace appear
And prisons would palaces prove
If Jesus would dwell with me there
Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine
If Thou art my sun and my song
Say, why do I languish and pine
And why are my winters so long
Lord, drive these dark clouds from my sky
Thy soul-cheering presence restore
Or take me up with Thee on high
Where winter and clouds are no more
– John Newton