Asaph nearly lost his faith.
But because he was honest with God, and he remained connected to God’s people, and he worked hard to think it through, he found his footing again. In the final verses of Psalm 73 – some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture – he reaffirms his faith by recounting the benefits of belonging to God.
In verse 21 he says, “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” How could I have even thought of walking away! Asaph says. If I try to live without God, I’ll be little better than an animal.
Asaph realizes that it’s the belief in God that gives his life its highest meaning, and its highest dignity.
Then in verses 24-28, Asaph makes his stand, and reaffirms his love for God. These are words that I can never read often enough.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 103:2 urges us, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits.” Asaph does that here. It’s interesting that the first few reasons he calls to mind for turning to God have to do with this life. He experiences in some real way the presence of God with him. It’s not the face-to-face experience that humans had at first, and will have again (life is still very much a walk of faith). But Asaph knows that in his life there have been many times where he received from God strength (“You hold me by my right hand”) and wisdom (“You guide me with your counsel.”)
But then Asaph realizes that the far greater blessing awaits him beyond this life. “Afterward you will take me into glory.” What good is walking with God in this life, if this life comes to a screeching halt and that ends our story? Like St. Paul would later say, “If only for this life we hope in Christ we are of all men the most to be pitied.”
The problem with most humans is that there are tragically short-sighted. What does it profit a person, Jesus said, if you gain the whole world but forfeit your soul?
So what that the wicked amass great fortunes here and now, and seemingly enjoy happiness without end? Apart from the fact that the “happiness” of the insanely rich is often an illusion, the truest fact on earth is that beauty fades, strength ebbs and life ends. If you want your peace to last, then you must place it in something, or Someone, that also lasts.
Which is why when all is said and done, Asaph falls before his God and Maker and declares, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Can you recount the countless blessings of faith in Christ which are yours, my friend?
When I do as Asaph has done, I realize that Christianity has given my life purpose, and moral order, and discipline, and joy, and appreciation for beauty, and balance, and peace. I see that it gives me forgiveness for the past, power for the present, and hope for the future, not to mention the hope of heaven and the assurance that my life counts for something.
And if you don’t know Christ my friend, I assure you that you were made for more than what you are settling for. And Jesus died on the cross so that you could have it. I wouldn’t waste another day trying to do life on my own. Take a lesson from a man named Asaph, and reach out for your Savior right now.