But when I thought how to understand this it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went to the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Psalm 73:16-17
Asaph wrote this Psalm. He was David’s music director and was a priest and he set David’s words to music. The context for today’s verses is that Asaph was getting twisted around by seeing the arrogant and wicked prospering while the righteous struggled. He was bitter about it and it messed up his relationship with God. In verse 22 Asaph recounted that when he was bitter he was like a beast, brutish and ignorant. In other words, when you hold bitterness against God in your heart, you can’t hear from God, just like an animal. You can’t be led. It blocks off your relationship with God.
O God, I can get so bitter, cutting off the channel between us. I can get bitter at others, which is just as bad. I can mutter about others, and it’s really me that’s in the wrong place. Like the King and Country song, “Oh, oh God, Forgive us (ME)…” Show me where I harbor bitterness.
Another significant thing about what Asaph testifies is that he knew enough to keep his bitterness to himself. In verse 15 he testifies, “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.” If he had told others about what he had against God, he would have betrayed them by telling them something about God that wasn’t true. How often do we vent to others, only later realizing that it wasn’t God who was in the wrong, but us?
God, keep a zipper on my lips. If I speak against You or others I am really betraying the generation of Your children. I am telling things about You that aren’t true. I am a stumbling block.
Asaph stayed in this funk until he went to the sanctuary of God. In those days, they had to go to the Temple to meet with God because that was where His Spirit dwelt. Praise God that His Spirit now dwells inside of us and we can meet with God anywhere, anytime! It wasn’t until Asaph went before God that his attitude was adjusted. It was in praying to God and seeking His face that Asaph realized that it wasn’t God that was off. It was his view of what success is and his view of how God works.
Oh how my soul longs to get in quiet communion with You this week. This is where I hear from You. Clear out my schedule and keep distractions far away from me. May I meet with You and see what you have to say about what’s been going on. I so need You.
Then Asaph stopped being bitter and he started hearing from God again. And he was able to write the beautiful words of praise found in verses 23-28. Asaph realized that those who are far from God perish, but those who love and fear God will be rewarded in the end. He also realized that it is better to be near God and to make Him his refuge than to have money.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73 23-26
When you are bent out of shape about life’s unfairness, don’t vent it out–go to God. It is in our prayer closet that we get a proper perspective. Don’t hold on to your bitterness, it only shuts off your connection with God. Pray it out and listen to what God has to say. Get close to God’s heart. The nearness of God is our good.
*Image from Auntie Em’s Guide to Life