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Distorted Vision

When we are burdened and bothered by what we see in this world, we need to read this psalm. It starts with a wonderful affirmation of faith. "Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart" (v. 1). Asaph believes in the God of Israel, and he believes that God honors and rewards those who keep their lives clean. But in verse 2 he turns his eyes off of God, and he starts looking around at other people. "But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" (vv. 2,3).

Let's look at his two major problems. First, something is wrong with his vision. He is not looking to God. He is looking at the wicked people around him. Who are these people? He describes them in verses 4-9. "For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm" (v. 4). They don't get sick; they don't have the bills others have. They're not troubled. They are proud and violent. "Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish" (v. 7), yet they are corrupt. They set their mouth against God. In verse 10 he says, "Waters of a full cup are drained by them." Asaph was drinking a bitter cup. His vision was distorted. This is what happens when we walk by sight instead of by faith.

Second, something is wrong with his values. "I was envious . . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" (v. 3). Does he think that people without God are prosperous? Has his values suddenly changed? The psalmist is living by the values of the world, not the values of the world to come. "They increase in riches" (v. 12)--but what kind of riches? When your feet start to slip and you start questioning God's goodness and His government in the world, check your vision and your values.

* * *

To live the life of faith, you need to understand God's perspective on the world. You must walk by faith, not sight. Keep your eyes on the Lord and don't conform to the values of this world. God is faithful to provide. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).

Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group ( Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.

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