Maybe you have never had this experience, but I have. Some days the clouds are heavy, the news is bleak, and I can just see the dark side of everything. It’s a pessimistic day, and nothing is bound to turn out right. And this is one of those seasons when a day like that comes easily.
Others have had the experience. We know that if we read the Bible. Asaph was one of the psalm writers, and he had a day like that--maybe more than a day. It lasted almost too long. He went to great lengths describing how some who are godless are prospering, and it made him think that maybe, just maybe, he had taken the wrong route.
We sometimes think that David wrote all the psalms. He did write most of them, but not all. Asaph was a contemporary of David, and maybe they even collaborated (but we don’t know about that).
The verse we are focusing on today is Psalm 73:15. Asaph had been grousing for some time, and then he began to evaluate his grousing. One of the statements he made is this: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.” Sometimes it is good for us to take a time out and think about what we are saying or thinking. It may be problematic. What I say doesn’t just reflect on me, but it also may reflect on someone else.
The Psalms were actually songs. They were sung by the Israelites, and today there are some churches that still sing them. Churches today probably don’t often sing them in Hebrew. It would have been fascinating to hear the Israelites sing Psalm 73 because it provides great emotional swings. I wonder if the music communicated that.
I read many different translations of this verse, and there is quite a variance between them. This version is the New American Standard which does a pretty good job. We should just note the Hebrew word here rendered “betrayed.” That’s a fair translation, but the word actually mean to ‘deal or act treacherously.’ It’s a strong expression.
So Asaph would have done a great disservice to God’s people if he had actually spoken out loud what he was thinking (which he expressed in the psalm). Is there a problem with that? Apparently so.
When you read on, you discover that Asaph was quite hard on himself. He was acting like a ‘beast’ when he groused as he did. He was bitter and senseless and ignorant.
Well, then, what straightened him out? He was corrected when he came into the sanctuary of God. Maybe he came into the temple in Jerusalem. Or maybe he thought about God in heaven. In the New Testament in Colossians 3:1-4 we are told to set our minds on the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. It was something like that for Asaph, and it straightened him out in a hurry.
When he did that, he saw the end of all people. Actually, he saw two ends. He saw one end for the wicked and another for the righteous. The wicked have an unenviable end. They will lose everything that they have and that defines them in this life, no matter how good it was for them temporarily.
But Asaph was one who trusted in the LORD. What would there be for him? Well, God was continually with him and would guide him eventually to glory. The LORD actually meant everything to him. His future was bright, regardless his present circumstances. He had hope.
You see, the people of God, if they are anything, are people of hope--hope that will not disappoint. And if Asaph had continued grousing as he had been doing, he would have misrepresented God’s people and committed an act of treachery against them.
It would be good for us to look at ourselves from a distance and evaluate. Is my attitude something representative of God’s people? Are my words typical of them? How do my actions reflect on them?
Asaph found correction in looking to God’s presence and the end that is stored up for us.