Keep Your Eyes On The Lord

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The Psalms (called the Hebrew Hymnbook) is the longest book in the Bible. There are 150 Psalms, or songs. The Psalms are divided into 5 books that focus on God and His glory. One source suggests that the divisions be regarded as:

Psalm 1-41 Book 1 – God Beside Us
Psalm 42-72 Book 2 – God
Before Us
Psalm 73-89 Book 3 –
God All Around Us
Psalm 90-106 Book 4 –
God Above Us
Psalm 107-150 Book 5 –
God Among Us

Tonight we’ll be in Psalm 73, the first Psalm in Book 3, God is All Around Us”. This Psalm was written by Asaph, one of the Choir Directors under King David:

1 Chronicles 25:1 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals

The Psalm Begins With An Honest Testimony From Asaph

Psalm 73:1-2 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

Asaph begins by remembering how good God has been to His people. He says that God is good to Israel, but he do9esn’t limit the goodness of God to just Israel. God is good to those who have a clean heart. How do you get a clean heart”? It is by turning to God in faith. King David said:

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a CLEAN HEART, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Jesus told us that the evil that is done among humans comes from the unregenerate or unsaved heart. What is in the heart is shown by the hand. Jesus said:

Mark 7:21-23 … from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

When we come to God in faith He changes our hearts. Being led of the Holy Spirit to repent and rest in Him, God washes away our sin and gives us a new heart. God does as He promised in Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:25-27,

I will give you a new heart, and a new Spirit will I put in you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and be careful to obey My rules.”

The Bible tells us that those who will go to Heaven one day are those whose hearts are being cleansed by God now on the earth!

Psalm 24:3-4 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? {Heaven} He who has CLEAN HANDS and a PURE HEART, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

It is God Who purifies the heart of a person. When we REPENT, and turn to HIM and HIM ALONE, God moves on our lives and cleanses our hearts. This heart cleansing does not stop after salvation, but continues throughout our lives. God does not do this just for Israel, but He does it for any who believe on Him. When the early Church began to see Gentiles come to Christ (for the Church started out primarily Jewish), the Bible tells us that the Pharisees infiltrated the Church and demanded that the Gentiles be circumcised and made to keep the ceremonial laws of Israel (Acts 15:5). The Apostle Peter stood against this, saying:

Acts 15:7-9 (ESV) … “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and {God} made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

It is God that cleanses the heart. It is God that saves by Grace when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. However clean our hearts might be, however, we must work with God to keep our hearts cleansed. Asaph brings this out. Though he speaks of the goodness of God to those “of a clean heart”, Asaph goes on to say:

Psalm 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

Asaph is doing what every believer should do. He is examining his faith in the light of the goodness of God. Asaph did not completely fall away from God, but he was starting to fall. He uses words likeALMOST” (mᵊʿaṭ, a little bit) andWELL NIGH” (‘în, just about)What caused this calamity?

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Asaph began to look at the lavish lifestyles of the lost, the foolish. The Scripture says, the FOOL hath said in their HEARTS, there is NO GOD” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). When the Bible uses the wordFOOL it is always in reference to a lost person, a person with a corrupted heart. As humans, we divide people up by RACE and NATIONALITY. We speak of “red and yellow, black, brown or white”. But God divides people by their hearts. There are those SAVED BY FAITH or those with hearts being made pure, and those who REJECT SALVATION or those who hold onto their wicked hearts.

God looks at the INSIDE. Asaph started looking at the OUTSIDE, at what things the lost had – and he began to envy them.

Psalm 73:4-6 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Note first there are no bands in their death. The word “” is the Hebrew chartsubbâh, {pronounced khar-tsoob-baw’}, meaning “fetters, chains, something which binds”. The wealthy lost many times come to death with minimal pain, minimal suffering. I have known of members who left this life – good Christians – whose family had to pay extensive medical and funeral expenses, often to the loss of the entire estate. The wicked live every day without a thought of God. They go about drugged up on Valium, liquor, or some other narcotic. They are not chained in their deaths, nor do they suffer as others do in this life. What chains do the wealthy wicked have? Pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Psalm 73:7-9 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

These people mock God’s people and mock God. In their wickedness they believe themselves to be gods. I heard a comedian the other day mock Christianity, saying that it is insane to believe that a virgin had a Child Who grew up to walk on water. As he said this, the audience laughed and hooted, having a great time. The wicked mock God and mock the Gospel. They mock the standards that God has set for morality, calling them outdated and unwarranted. Asaph wonders where God is while these people do these things. If God is true, then why does He allow this?

Psalm 73:10-12 Therefore His people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

On top of all that the wicked get away with, they also negatively impact God’s people. Though God’s people get a full cup, it is wrung out to them. The righteous receive little, but the unrighteous seem to prosper. The wicked asks, How doth God know?. The Jewish Study Bible notes:

“There was no atheism in ancient times, only the notion that God lacked knowledge and power” (cf. Ps. 10:4,11,13; 94:7; and similar phrases in Ps. 59:7; 64:5; Isa. 29:15; Ezek. 8:12).”

They believe that – IF there is a God – He is ignorant of what is going on, or asleep at the helm. As Asaph looks at the life of the wicked, he begins to think that he would be better off on “the other team”. He says:

Psalm 73:13-16 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me…

Comparing his life with the life of the wicked, outwardly Asaph begins to wonder if he has done right with his life. He begins to drift in his faith. Rather than be light, he becomes part of the darkness. Asaph begins to lose his divine perspective when he remembers,

The Strength Of The Believer Is Only Maintained By
Uniting With
God In His Sanctuaries

Psalm 73:17-18 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

The faith of the believer is only maintained by going into the sanctuary of God. The word translated sanctuary is the Hebrew miqdāš, which means “the holy places”. A sanctuary is both a place and a time when you get away from the things of this world to focus on God. Christians drift from a right relationship with God and into the darkness when they do not spend time in the Tabernacle, Temple, or Church. The professing Christian that spends great amounts of time in social media and worldliness and little time in prayer or God’s Word will soon find themselves acting like unbelievers.

As Asaph got back into a right relationship with God, he realized that these rich wicked people he admired were in slippery places. Though they may have much now, they have little to look forward to in eternity. The wicked rich are like those Jesus spoke of in Luke 16, the Rich Man and Lazarus. Though the Rich Man had fine clothing and the best housing and nourishment anyone could have, and though Lazarus had nothing but the crumbs the dogs didn’t eat, what happened after death? Jesus said:

Luke 16:22-23 (ESV) The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in {HELL}, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

Though Lazarus lived a lonely life, in death he was heralded into Heaven by the angels. The rich man who had a full and wicked life in death died alone. In hell, he had no companionship, nor and compassion. Asaph says of these wicked ones:

Psalm 73:19-20 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

Their life, which seemed so wonderful, in a moment dissolved into terror. In this life they were made in the image of God, but would have nothing to do with God. In the next life God despise(s) their image, their pridefulness.

Dear ones, it is so necessary that we who belong to God by faith in Christ continue in doing that which feeds our souls. We can live without television. We can live without social media. We can live without worshiping the gods and goddesses of this world. But we cannot live without God.

The secret of happiness is not a large bank account or a large home or even great health. The secret of happiness is to know God, and to know that He is your Father, your Savior, your Help and guide.

When Asaph compared his life to the life of the lost world, he began to cherish what they had. Then he realized what they have is NOTHING. Asaph repented:

Psalm 73:21-22 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Asaph states that I was as a beast before thee. Animals have no moral sense. Humans only are created in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26-27), and only humans have a moral sense or a conscience. The farther we wander from God, the more brutish and animal like we become. Our Lord Jesus told us:

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

God wants us as focused on Him as He is on us. What you have been given, dear Christian, are things that you should be using to serve the Lord Who saved you, who laid down His life for you. Jesus laid His life down for us:

John 15:13-14 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us on Calvary, and He expects us to lay down our lives for Him.

If you are saved – and I pray that you are – you are only saved because you surrendered all of your life to God.

There came a point in your earthly existence when you surrendered all idols, all treasures, all things and came to the Lord on bent knee. On that day you entered into a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. God laid His life down for you when He was nailed to that Cross. If you are His friend, if you find that God is your desire, then you must lay down your life for Him daily.

God Allows Hard Things In Our Lives To Grow Our Faith,
To Make Us More Like Jesus

Psalm 73:23-26 Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

The power of the believer is that God is with us – not just now, but into eternity. Each and every one of us are mortal, frail, and subject to fail. The joy of salvation is not found in the stuff that we have, but in the constant Companionship of God. As Asaph thought upon this, his love for God began to be greater than his love for any one else. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. As humans, our bodies fail. Our flesh weakens, and our physical hearts suffer deprivation. These bodies will not exist forever. However, God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

The commentator Matthew Henry said: “…. Those who have God for their Inheritance and their Portion for ever, ought to look with holy contempt and indifference upon the possessions of this world. …”

What we have in God is greater than anything else. As the Apostle Paul began to look at his infirmities and failures, he like Asaph went to God in prayer. God spoke to Paul as he spoke to Asaph, saying:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 … My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

The weaker the Christian is, the closer to God we need to get. Our power is in God. Our strength is in surrender to Him. We end with:

Psalm 73:27-28 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28 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 thy works.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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