Praying for the Best over the Good - Psalm 73

Updated: Sep 3, 2018


Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26


The psalms are a rich source of Biblical prayer for us. The psalmists cried out to God from the depths of their desire and their anguish. The emotions they portray are squarely human, nothing held back. We can learn a lot from the psalmists regarding how to pray for ourselves and our sons.


Asaph was a psalmist among psalmists. He worked directly with King David. Indeed, he’d been appointed by David from among all other Levites as one of the chief worship leaders among God’s people. He was likely acquainted with life both around the temple and around the palace. He is the author of Psalm 73. If you have the time it would be good to read the psalm in its entirety.


Psalm 73 is packed with the gamut of emotion that we often experience in our relationship with God and the world around us. Asaph tells us even though he knew that God was good to Israel he’d almost missed the mark. (vs. 1-2) He’d watched those who had more than he did and had become jealous. (vs. 3) He perceived that not everyone had to work as hard as he did and desired their ease. (vs. 4-5) He was angry that there were those who could arrogantly sin and seem to not suffer any consequences. (vs. 6-11) In his frustration he says, “This is what the wicked are like - always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.” (vs. 12) This is brute honesty - and because of his honesty God can move in and remedy the situation.


When God shows Asaph Himself, Asaph recognizes who he is. “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” (vs. 21-22) And he also recognizes who God is - “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” (vs. 23-24) When Asaph honestly and rightly sees who he is against the backdrop of who God is his only response is to worship and desire more of God.


Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds.

Psalm 73:25-26, 28


When Asaph compared himself to the good (and some not so good) things around him he lost sight of what was really important - his relationship to Papa God. God hadn’t left him, but he’d focused his attention on things other than God Himself. In the end he learned that even though his heart had strayed, God had faithfully been with him all the way.


As we approach prayer for our sons and the team as a whole this week, let’s remember that they may be experiencing some of the same emotion that Asaph did - jealousy or anger or misplaced desire for the good things in life over their relationship with God. We all experience those things from time to time. Here are some words from John Piper to chew on:

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.


As we approach the throne of God this week may we ask God to move us, our sons and the entire Taylor football program to desire more of Him. Let us ask God to keep the distractions of good things yet lesser things at bay. Let us pray that God would indeed be the strength of all our hearts and our portion (everything we need) every day.

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