Words of Worth

The Wrong End of the Telescope

May 15, 2015

telescopeI never feel I get my quarter’s worth from those coin operated telescopes which are found at the scenic overviews nestled along various stretches of the highway. I always want a rebate after my three minutes of viewing are over because the telescope didn’t help me see the distant scene any clearer than if I viewed it with my naked eye. I always wanted my money back, that is, until I finally realized the problem was me and not the telescope. I was looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Well, apparently, I’m in good company because it seems as though Asaph, the author of Psalm 73, had the same problem.

Asaph, a worship leader appointed by King David, and a man who knew and believed the truth about God, expressed gut level honesty about his emotions before the LORD. He admitted, in Psalm 73, that on the one hand God was good to Israel, but on the other hand, that his own feet nearly slipped because he became envious (meaning he wanted what the wicked had) of the prosperity of the wicked.

1Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Asaph vividly portrays the profile of the wicked as living a very self-indulgent life. They wore necklaces of pride, clothes of cruelty, questioned God’s knowledge, and led trouble-free lives of ease while amassing great wealth (vv 4-12).  This caused Asaph to question the futility of living a godly life.  Why should he keep his heart pure before the Lord if there seems to be great blessings for being wicked? Up to this point in the Psalm, I’m inclined to think that Asaph is looking at the wicked through the wrong end of the telescope and as a result his vision is distorted.

It’s not until Asaph turns the telescope around that he regains his footing. “Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end” (73:17). Once he came before the Lord with his envy, once he looked through the telescope from the right end, he clearly saw the end of the wicked, their destruction and casting away from the presence of the Lord.

So, too, when we, like Asaph, come into the presence of God, we can focus on the bigger picture of God’s plan. Pain-free and self-indulgent living is not necessarily a sign of blessing from the Lord, just as pain and suffering does not mean that God is withholding His blessing from us. Our trials, pain, and suffering are designed to bring us closer to God and further away from the material things of this world.

We need to look through the right end of the telescope and remember,

25Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

(Psalm 73:25-28)

Please click on this link to hear Laura Story’s “Blessings” which is a wonderful reminder about how God prospers His children.



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