But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped. (
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand. (
As children, we learn to pray, “God is great; God is good.” As we age, we may begin to wonder, “If God is great and good, why doesn’t He do something about all the bad in the world?” We may then have a crisis of faith. That was true of Asaph—the writer of
73. He first states the
proposition that God is good (v.1).
Then, he acknowledges his struggle with doubt (v.2-16). A turning point comes when he enters the
house of God and gains an eternal perspective (v.17-20). He closes with a triumphant song of trust
(v.21-28). He was shaken, but the solid
footing of truth preserved Asaph. He
wobbled, but the strength of God held him firm and kept him from falling. We have a modern day version of these truths
in the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation.”
Asaph, being a singer himself, would have appreciated those lyrics.
The reality is that the storms of life can sweep in and make the surface slippery beneath us. That had happened to Asaph (v.2). The temptation arises when we take our eyes off the Lord above us, and look at the world about us (v.3). Asaph saw sinners prospering, while he and other saints were plagued (v.3-16). Have we not been tempted as we looked at the wicked and thought, “Why, they have it made! Look at all the fun they are having in sin! There is no judgment on them—indeed, they are succeeding in life!” This provides fertile soil for the germination of envy—the seed of that sin thus planted, begins to sprout—a noxious weed that wraps itself around our mind and seeks to choke out faith.
There came, however, the pivotal moment, when the spade of Scripture dug up the choking weeds of doubt—human reason displaced by heavenly revelation. Grasping at straws, Asaph decides to make one last trek to the house of God. I cannot tell you the occasions that I have come to worship when my heart was distressed—feeling abandoned by God—and left with faith shored up and a song in my soul! It was the Word of God that brought understanding and made the difference for Asaph (v.17). It has for me and it will for you. His eyes were opened to see past the immediate prosperity of the wicked to their eternal destiny—that sinners face destruction in the end.
The end for the righteous, however, is another matter! Here, there may be trials, but hereafter there will be triumph (v.21-28)! Despite the wavering of his commitment to God, God firmly held to His commitment to Asaph. The road was rough, but the important thing about the road was that it led to heaven!
If you are struggling with the same questions today, seek the Lord, come to His house, hear His Word, and affirm with Asaph,
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works. (v.28)
Then we may enthusiastically embrace these lyrics,
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled!