9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. 11 And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase riches.
We continue with Asaph and his dilemma today as we study his psalm, and hopefully, as we go, we’ll learn some things that will prevent our falling into the same trap. (Isn’t it wonderful that God has left us so many examples in the Scriptures of people who were weak and even sinful, yet He loved them and us enough to not only see them through their troubles but also to leave a record for us to give us hope? God is so good!)
Isaiah wrote God’s words, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Wonderful words! Are they still true today? Very much so! But if we turn our minds and eyes away from that and begin to think, “Look at those people over there. They don’t love God, and they’re not struggling to make ends meet!” Or “I know that my neighbors are having an immoral relationship, but they drive brand new cars, while I can barely keep mine running.”
If you look for reasons to complain, you’ll find them and complain. If you look for things to envy, it’ll be right there in front of you. And conversely, if you look for reasons to rejoice, you’ll find those also! Why? Because we will always go where we are looking.
Consider these wonderful words by the author of Hebrews: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Wow! Could it get any better? God not only knows our ugly thoughts, but He has compassion on us for having them! Jesus Christ himself was tempted in all things also, so He understands our hearts. But He never sinned, so that’s where we should run when our mind starts going where our eyes have taken us. If we keep our eyes on the road before us, we won’t drive off into a ditch!
Let’s balance this out in light of what Asaph is telling us. He had the wrong definition of “blessing.” He thought, as many of us do, that blessings are things you can put in the bank. But God’s blessings come in the form of “mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Jesus said that it’s hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Their minds are often on their riches. God desires that those who are pure in heart will experience His mercy and grace and help in every situation we may encounter. And material wealth by no means always indicates His blessing. In fact, nobody wishes for more money when they’re going through a tragedy, such as having a child who is sick and near death. What they want is God’s mercy and grace! And on one’s deathbed, no one is thinking about how to get richer. They, too, need God’s mercy and grace, “a very present help in time of need” (Psalm 46:1).
Asaph issues a warning for us to heed. When he took his eyes off of the true goodness of our heavenly Father, he went straight to where he was watching, and his feet almost slipped because of what he saw.
God truly is good to us, as Asaph began his psalm. If you keep your eyes on that, you will go where you are watching, and it will be exactly where God wants you to be.
Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.