Tag Archives: Asaph

A Prayer in Hard Times

Ps 79 prayer2a-

Psalm 79  Today we see this Asaph as a poet. He was, as we say, versatile. Could this be the same Asaph as in earlier psalms? Scholars differ but most say that these traits belong to a man who lived at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign of terror; in other words a man in name only.  His heart is poured out in poetry as he recalls the recent events. The Babylonians have truly desecrated the Temple and the city and God has allowed it. As he pens these words he cries out to God “How long Oh Lord? Will you be angry forever?” He also seeks God’s vengeance upon the enemies of God. There are nations today facing similar hard times. Are we like Asaph crying out to God to end these travesties which fall upon believers and unbelievers alike? Are we asking the same questions Asaph asked?

As Asaph lives through this time he is reminded that this is but a moment in time and that God will end all suffering and He will bring to an end the travesties of life. And when all is said and done, the sheep of God’s pasture will not be vengeful but give thanks to God and all generations will praise Him.

Truly, Lord, we do not understand all that takes place and our hearts yearn for peace. Help us to keep looking to you for our salvation and we will give you praise.


Is it true that there is no hope???

Job and his three “comforters” have been dialoguing back and forth on the points of wickedness and righteousness. The three, Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar are sure Job is in the camp of the wicked. As their words show they believe the contrast to Romans 8:1!

Listen in to the dialog between Job and Eliphaz In Job 21 to 24  to get the whole story and then go and read Psalm 73 to see another person who faces this same conundrum.

job 21 ps 73 praise2a

Job responds to the next challenge by asking the same thought Asaph pondered. Why do the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous seem to falter and many times fade away. Asaph wondered if he, like Job, had remained faithful for no reason. We often say the same thing as we watch all of our life’s savings eaten by moths and our bodies suffer from disease and harm by others. God is not in a box, closed and secure from all of life; He is omniscient!  So Job’s three friends and Asaph himself have to look at life from another viewpoint.

Asaph returns to the Temple where he says: I entered the precincts of God’s temple and then I understood the destiny of the wicked. But, Job has no temple yet to attend so he is left with his thoughts and trying to piece them together. He says the “counsel of the wicked is far from me!” I just don’t understand and if only God would come and we could talk about this it would all be made right. Eliphaz remains steadfast in his critical argument against Job but Job tells him: He knows the path I take and if he tested me I would come forth as gold. As we read those words we must decide if that is true for us. If God would come and stand in our presence would He say that? Job and Asaph looked at life without that confirmation but if you are a born-again believer you can attest to this truth because of Roman 8:1:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When Heaven is Like Brass

Psalm 77 footprint sea2William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, faced a mind battle. Even as a believer he felt as if heaven had slammed its doors upon his thoughts. He considered suicide one night but providentially the cabbie’s horse taking him to the London Bridge simply rerouted him back to his home. Like Asaph in Psalm 77 he was spiraling down, falling for the “deadly d’s” our enemy resurrects. Both of these men found a solution to God’s silence; Asaph in years prior wrote a psalm, William Cowper wrote a poem:

God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants his footsteps in the sea and rises upon the storm.

We may not understand as Cowper, Asaph or even Job why God is silent but we can learn how to face those silent times and come forth rejoicing. It begins when we recognize that whatever our foe it can be banished when we focus on God and His holiness. The winds and waves obeyed God at the Red Sea, the Jordan and on the Sea of Galilee and when God steps into our sea of despond, we can be certain that His power will be revealed. When He acts the sea closes, He leaves no footprint behind for He moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.

Where do you need to not only believe God when He answers but believe and trust Him when He is silent?

Photo Credit: Josh Jones/Unsplash.com +Author’s Caption

Chasing Sleep…for the Umpteenth Time.

ImageLast night was one of those nights in which I chased sleep. If you have never had insomnia then you can forget Psalm 77 but if you are like me or you have ever spent a night chasing sleep, you might want to stop and think about what Asaph is teaching us through his experience.

Insomnia is defined by the dictionary as an inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness. This what Asaph experienced and I do quite often. Why is that? What is the cause? For some it is the worry syndrome, a sin for sure since we are commanded to not worry. For some it is a metabolic imbalance and for others it is being wired due to some exciting news. No matter the cause the results are the same: bone weariness upon arising.

In Ps 77 Asaph tells us what he does in those times. Note vs 1,2, 3, 5 and 10. He cries out to God, He recalls God and His attributes, He prays all night long, He consider a possible cause, and finally comes to the conclusion that if he verbalizes his frustration at the lack of sleep and its cause this too will pass. What do you do at times like this?

But more importantly than verbalizing his state of mind he begins to consider the character of God and how although himself has become a vagabond, God has been there even in the silence. He questions God’s character but then in vs. 10 realizes how futile an exercise this is because God is “Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen? It is when Asaph realizes this that he changes from “oh woe is me,” to “How Great Thou Art!”Image

George Rogers once wrote: A good man cannot rest upon his bed until his soul rests upon God. That is a truth we need to remember when we have nights when we are chasing sleep.