Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73 was written by Asaph. Asaph was a Levite and as a Levite he ministered in the Tabernacle of Meeting – in the Sanctuary of God. From what we know he was only one of three Levites specifically asked by King David (I Chronicles 6: 31, 39) to be in charge of the singing in the house of God. He was keenly aware through his experience in this ministry of the hypocrisy that took place within the house of God at times as well as, the vanity of vanities of a man seeking refuge, peace, and fulfillment through the riches of the world. Not unlike a true believer in our Lord and Savior today, at times we cannot
comprehend why the wicked and ungodly in this world prosper materially and have an abundance of earthly wealth and pleasures seemingly without any consequences. It was not just the outsiders of the camp that Asaph is writing. It was the unfaithful within the encampment of Israel that he is referencing as well. “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches” (VS 12). In contrast, Asaph saw that there are true, faithful, and righteous-living believers who are oppressed and do not have much in the way of material/earthly blessings. This caused a conflict within his heart and within his ministry. But Asaph writes: “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” (VSS 16,17).
If you are a true believer in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross; His burial and His resurrection, you very well might be experiencing at times what Asaph did. Maybe concerning earthly wealth and prosperity and/or the ease that appears to come with riches has never been at your doorstep. Maybe you have said to yourself: “I’m doing everything I can to live rightly but why do those who don’t live rightly have more than me? And like Asaph within the house of God, should I listen and believe the many prosperity and faith teachers of today’s church that I have a ‘right’ to expect material and earthly blessings and wealth as a believer in Christ?” No. Do not! As new creations in Christ through faith, you have been placed into the Body of Christ. Your blessings so abundant come to you by being ‘in Him’, not by being ‘in the world’ nor receiving from the world’s abundance. “And blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,…” (Eph 1:3). Does our Lord care about what we have materially to meet our needs? Absolutely. But to demand or expect God to be indebted to give us riches and wealth and obey our prayers or commands (prayers) for what we seek materially is wicked to the uttermost. Those that solely grind after this world’s wealth to satisfy their needs are on a slippery slope (Ps 73:18) that will lead to destruction and desolation – like living in a dream and then suddenly awakened to reality (vss 18-20). Therefore, what can we learn from Asaph’s experience? In VSS 25-26, there is an encouraging summary of Asaph’s heart-felt prayer.
#1. “Whom have I in heaven but You?” Technically, the phrase ‘but You’ is italicized which means it is inferred but not in the original text. The question can read: “Whom have I in heaven?” You do know that there are other created beings of God ‘in heaven’. Angelic beings of all different roles and ranks are there. There are beings that are evil in the ‘heavenly places’ and there are beings that adhere to the Word of God. As believers our fight is not first and foremost against flesh and blood (the human realm), “…but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). So’ to answer Asaph’s question “Whom have I in heaven?”, the answer hopefully is clear to you as it was to Asaph. It should ONLY be God.
#2. Not only is God our answer when looking toward the heavenly realm, He is our answer in our earthly realm as well. “And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (VS 23b). Oh, that you and I can have this kind of perspective, longing, and reality in our hearts. Ironically, our Christmas season is here. I desire that my heart would be like Asaph’s during this season; that I ultimately only desire Him – not the presents I might get or anything else offered from this world to try and fulfill only what He Himself can fill. Be reminded that every TV commercial you will see this Christmas season will offer you the peace, prosperity, ease, comfort, and abundance that the world can give. But while on this earth, there is none besides Him. See, Asaph was a real man with real life before him. Just like you today. He expresses what many of us might feel at this very moment.
#3. “My flesh and my heart fail;…” (VSS 26). Asaph does not say ‘My flesh and heart MIGHT fail at times’. No. As a human being and even as an assigned singer in the house of God serving the One Living God, Asaph humbly admits to his readers of this Psalm that in his own strength (his flesh) and through his own efforts deep within his heart to do it right, he fails. All ‘your’ efforts will fail you. All ‘your’ self-determination within your own heart will come short of what you really, really need. There are hundreds if not thousands of methodologies and self-help philosophies available in the world or within religious systems that promise to meet your most inner needs. Listen here to the Word of God. What you deeply need will not come from your own strength and your own heart-felt determination. The answer once again is God Himself. The Person. The Person is Jesus Christ. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” (John 14:10). It is worthy of repeating. What you deeply need will not come from your own strength and your own heart-felt determination. The answer once again is God Himself.
#4. “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (VS 26b). Do you need a measure of strength to get through whatever phase in life or challenges or questions you are experiencing now? When you see the world around you, even within the church on some occasions, seemingly prosperous people who are at ease and at comfort within their riches, and you ask that question: “How am I supposed to live as I view these things around me?” Let your answer be the same as Asaph. ‘BUT GOD…..’. But God is the strength of MY heart – not the material world around me, not some angelic spiritual beings. No way. God is MY strength and MY portion forever!! Call out to Him. Cling to Him. He is right here. As believers in the Lord Jesus, thank God that we can instantly turn to Him for real comfort, strength, peace, and hope that will deeply satisfy our most challenging times. Thank you Lord!
Jaca Kier, Board Member, True Devotion Ministries, Inc.
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