Posted September 22, 2015
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.
The first 15 verses of this wisdom psalm, written by Asaph, are filled with expressive frustration toward God regarding the undeserved blessing of the wicked and arrogant: “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). Asaph was disoriented by what he saw as gross injustice toward the wicked in the world around him. It isn’t until verse 17 that he begins to gain clarity and perspective, and it happened by entering into the presence of God: “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome talk, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end” (Psalm 73:16-17). In the presence of God his perspective changes; he not only gains godly perspective but confesses his own embittered soul in verses 21-22.
Whom Have I?
By verse 25, Asaph is in full praise of God. He found relief, and more than that, satisfaction in God for his confused and discontent heart: “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 73:25-26). For those who trust in God, even asking “Whom have I in heaven but you?”, diminishes the confusion and anxiety that so often plagues us in this life. Asaph asked the question, and we ask the question, because we know the answer: the answer is nothing! We have nothing apart from the presence of God. Even the joys of heaven are worthless if God is not present! He is the joy of heaven! How much more is this true of our experience here on earth: “And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (vs. 25). Asaph realizes two things: 1) All the riches of this earth pale in comparison to the satisfaction that comes with knowing God. 2) There is no lasting joy or satisfaction found outside of knowing Him. With this refreshed perspective, all the worldly gain of the wicked becomes minuscule in comparison to knowing Him and all worldly happiness absent of God becomes fleeting and worthless. We have all experienced the same sense of injustice and frustration as we observe things going well for those we esteem unworthy. These two verses invite us into a godly perspective that finds true value and reward in knowing God himself. May we too draw near to Him in the midst of our own discontent and confusion, and may He be our greatest desire.
Failing Flesh & Heart vs. Enduring Strength & Portion
Verse 26 drives this truth even deeper for us: “My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:26). We are reminded that we do not have to depend on our own human faculties, for they will certainly fail us, but Christ is the rock on which we can place our complete trust. He is enough! He is our portion in life forever. As we look on the world perplexed, may we join Martin Luther’s prayer: “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still.”
Devotional by Ryan Gikas.
Song by Grace Point Music (feat. Josh Luna).
Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Michael Mumford.
Artwork by Chris Wright.