Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 7, 2015

all I want on earth

Asaph who?  It was a fitting description for my last article. Most of us know little about him and, quite frankly, one cursory reading of his life may not solidify the lessons his words and life can teach us. So consider this “round two” on Asaph as a teaching moment and challenge for living life in a focused way.

Asaph presented himself in an honest way and I believe his words reflect feelings you and I have experienced. You may still be wondering who in the world Asaph was. You may also be wondering how his words could ever resonate with your life. I promise you, they do. Asaph was a Levite who served as a musician and worship leader at the sanctuary during the reign of David. If you were to take a quick trip through the Psalms, you would find his name attributed to twelve of them (Psalms 50, 73-83). But how did he give an honest presentation of himself? At the beginning of Psalm 73, his candor leaves no doubt about a personal struggle and by the end of the story (chapter), he regained his spiritual equilibrium and challenges every serious reader.

Please read a few words of his struggle from the Message and see if you have ever had similar feelings. I know I have!

No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted.  But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying the wicked who have it made, who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.
Psalm 73:1-6

Have you ever looked at godless people and wondered, “Why don’t they suffer? Everything seems to go right for them.”

He continues his honest struggle for several verses, and I was especially struck by the following words:

What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store. The wicked get by with everything; they have it made, piling up riches. I’ve been stupid to play by the rules; what has it gotten me? A long run of bad luck, that’s what — a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.
Psalm 73:11-14

Whether you would be honest enough to verbalize those words or not, you, like me, have no doubt had the same pity party. We’ve tried so hard, and can’t figure out why life is so difficult. Before falling too far into the black hole of pity, Asaph considered how younger believers would respond if he turned his back on Jehovah. He went to the sanctuary and regained perspective and his spiritual equilibrium.

His closing words take me from relating to his self-pity to being challenged by his absolute desire for God. He says, You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! (v.25) What a far cry from pity! It is my opinion that most Christ-followers get excited about God and heaven, but most can’t honestly say, You’re all I want on earth. Truth be told, what we want is for God to bless our plans, give us a good life (not too hard), protect our kids, and we’ll try to serve Him. Asaph, however really got it … a singular, all-consuming focus on God. You may call it radical, but I call it the place of greatest blessing.

Asaph ended this marvelous chapter conveying his nearness to God. I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do! (v.28) I have mulled over the last line for a few days now. Why? Because I believe Christ-followers have stopped telling the world about the wonderful things God has done. There is so much time spent on personal agendas and self-pity that we have lost perspective on the marvelous things our Lord has done. I also believe that when He becomes all I want on earth, my focus on self changes to telling the world what my Lord has done.  And just as my last Asaph article ended … Go. Tell!

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