In The Valley of Doubt

Asaph was a writer of 12 Psalms. 


He was a music leader & had a position of spiritual leadership:


So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; & of his brethern, Asaph the son of Berechiah  I Chronicles 15:17


Asaph was also a prophet:


Morever King Hezikiah & the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the Lord with the words of David & of Asaph the seer.   2 Chronicles 29:30


He lived at the same time as king David.


Asaph was the leader of the sons of Asaph.  500 years after his death his offspring were still musicians . 


Asaph had been hit with a fiery arrow & the symptoms of his struggle are evident in Psalm 73. We can learn a lot from this Psalm..


A Psalm of Asaph.


 1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 

2 But as for me, my feet has almost stumbled: My steps had nearly slipped 
 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.         
 4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm.
 5 They are not in trouble as other men,Nor are they plagued like other men.
 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment.
 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish.
 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily.
 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 in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence.
 14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning.          
 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”   Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
 16 When I thought how to understand this,  It was too painful for me—
 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;Then I understood their end.          
 18 Surely You set them in slippery places;  You cast them down to destruction.
 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
         They are utterly consumed with terrors.
 20 As a dream when one awakes,  So, Lord, when You awake,
         You shall despise their image.          
 21 Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind.
 22 I was so foolish and ignorant;  I was like a beast before You.
 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.
 24 You will guide me with Your counsel,  And afterward receive me to glory.          
 25 Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
 26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.          
 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
         You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
 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 Your works.

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Verse 2 Asaph faith was under seige  He had come to the valley of doubt

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
         My steps had nearly slipped. 

vs3-12…The problem is being greatly exaggerated. All he could see was the ungodly having what they wanted.  He wanted what they had.

 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men,Nor are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. 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 in riches

vs 13-14 he was filled with self-pity

Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, & washed my hands in innocence.  For all day long I have been plagued, & chastened every morning. 

 

vs 15 Asaph was careful who he talked to about his doubt.  He did not expose vulnerable people to his struggle with doubt.

If I had said, “I will speak thus”. Behold I would have been untrue to the generation of your children.

 

vs 17  Asaph brought his questions to God  & has a turning point away from doubt

Until I went into the sanctuary of  God; then I understood their end  

 

vs 21-22 Asaph had lost his spiritual sensitivity to the Lord  

Thus my heart was grieved & I was vexed in my mind.  I was so foolish & ignorant.  I was like a beast before You. 

vs 23-24 God opened Asaph’s eyes & gave him clarity on what his eyes had been  focused on.

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by the right hand.  You will guide me with your  counsel & afterward receive me to glory. 

vs 25-26 Asaph praises God

Whom have I in heaven but You? & there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh & my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever.

Asaph had a time of doubt but he did not stay in doubt. All will have times of doubt..What we do with the doubt is what is important .  Doubt is a common place to visit but not a place to live.    We are to live in faith not live in doubt.   

What do YOU think?

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