Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You - Psalm 73:25
There is something very unique and intimate about these words, and over the past couple of years I have found myself constantly repeating them throughout my day to day routine. It’s moving and special to be making a declaration as such to God. But today, I wanted to take a closer look at the chapter in which this verse is found in, so that we may have a better understanding of how the writer came to this conclusion. Today’s post is very short, and geared towards giving you something to think about as you begin your week.
The writer of Psalms 73 begins the chapter declaring these words: “Surely God is good.” and He ends the chapter by concluding “But as for me, it is good to be near God [..] I will tell all of your deeds.” Reading just the opening and closing verses of this chapter would have one believe that it’s a chapter filled with adoration. On the contrary, everything in between the first and last few lines don’t sound as good as the beginning and the ending do. But let’s take a quick look at the context. Asaph’s overall conclusion was correct: God is good. However, throughout the chapter Asaph’s problem seemed to be that he pondered on the prosperity of the wicked, in comparison to the sorrows of the righteous, for instance in verses 3-12 we read: “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong [...] This is what the wicked are like- always carefree, they increase in wealth [...] Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning”. He quickly shifted his eyes from the goodness of the Lord, and began paying attention to the temporary prosperity of the wicked.
Let’s focus on that for a bit. Much like Asaph, often times we take our eyes off of eternity, and shift our focus towards situations, circumstances and things that are not eternal. We choose to follow God because at one point we have been convinced of who He is. Yet, once we start walking with Him our eyes shift their focus from Him who is eternal, to that which is temporary. We look to our neighbors who may seem to prosper and focus on what those with no hope seem to have, rather than on the things that are relevant to Him who is our only hope. Let me further explain what I mean by this by using Asaph as an example. Asaph began his sentence by declaring the goodness of God. That means that at one point, he was at a place where He was convinced of who God was but then he took a step back and began observing the circumstances of those who were irrelevant to who God is, and what He has done for him.
Today, we do that – at least, I can speak for myself. We have been called to live a life of glory but we often talk about, or look at, or focus on the things that are not part of that glorious life that we have been chosen to partake in. Without a doubt, it can be challenging to live in our present world and not be distracted, but the scripture reminds us over and over again to “set our minds on things above, and not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2). We may live in this world, but we are not of it. Although Asaph may have taken a longer route, he finally came to this conclusion. The same truth that we need to realize. What else do we have in heaven but God? What other heavenly being can we possibly put our hope in, or rely on? What’s joy without God? What’s all the success and riches of this earth and all the treasures of heaven, without the God of heaven? It is the very presence of God which makes heaven a place of perfect harmony. Without a doubt, He is all we have and the only one whom we are here by.
My short and simple challenge for you as you begin your week is to lift your eyes from everything else around you, and look to Him. Challenge yourself to focus on the goodness of God over your life, rather than the success and prosperity of those around you. Focus on the opportunity you have been given to live yet another day, to experience Him yet another day, to know Him even better yet another day. When you focus on who He is, and what He continues to do for you it becomes easier to see how important He truly is to our being. In Psalms 63:3 the Psalmist makes a recognition and a declaration by saying “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” This is the type of attitude we need to develop in our daily life — choosing to recognize that from beginning to the end, and in between, God is always good and faithful. Without Him we have nothing.
See you next Monday!