Whatever State (Part II)

Sermon-Title-Asaph-Questions-Gods-Goodness-577x433“…for I have learned whatever state I am, to be content.” (The Apostle Paul)

In Part 1 we took a walk with the prophet Habakkuk. He was tormented by the cesspool the Judean culture had become. God did not seem to be addressing the problem and Habakkuk became upset and confused. Then when the Lord promised to send pagans to judge His people, the prophet went through a very difficult time trying to make sense of the situation. In the end Habakkuk chose to live by faith in God’s sovereignty. He went to prayer and hymn writing. In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, he found contentment.

Asaph the Levite was a choir director in the temple. In penning the 73rd Psalm he sounds much like Habakkuk. Asaph’s turmoil centered on the prosperity of the wicked. He tells the Lord: “They are not in trouble like other men, nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish.” (vs. 5-7)

Asaph is explaining to God that if life is like a schoolhouse playground, the unbelievers push the believers off the swings; pull the girl’s pigtails; tease the overweight kids and knock down the smaller ones. They take our lunch money and if we bring a lunch they eat it. Then they walk away secure in their strength and defiant against God and man. So what good is it being good? What does the believer get out of this life – a black eye at the hand of a bully and our lunch swiped!?

Asaph says, “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” (vs. 16-17) Asaph went to church. He came before the Lord his God to worship Him. Then and there God revealed to Asaph the terrible end of the unbelieving. God reminded him that life does not end here or ever. The believer is eternally safe in the Father’s hand. Not so, the schoolyard tyrant.

Like Habakkuk finding his way in prayer and writing, Asaph finds his in worship and singing. He sings: “You guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 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.” (vs. 24-28)

Asaph learned whatever state he found himself in – to be content. Again, have we?

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