till I entered the sanctuary of God
Do you ever lack an understanding of the bigger context of life? Do you think your life is worse than others? Do you wonder why you have a hard time and those who don’t know God do fine? Asaph had the same challenge, and in Psalm 73 as he gives us a good reason to do “scorecarding,” to measure…but it has to be in the right context.
Although he is in a bad place personally, he knows enough about God to start with the general truth. “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” This is as true as “God loves everyone.” It is true, but it lacks the personal touch. “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped…” What follows is verse after verse of bad news for Asaph and good news for the rich. Finally, he arrives at the middle of this song and says, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”
For the first part of the Psalm, Asaph catalogues the good fortune of the rich and contrasts it with his personal situation. Then he enters God’s presence, and he is changed. He gets an eternal perspective.
“Yet I am always with you…and afterward You will take me into glory.”
When Asaph saw the end game, when he remembered the eternal big picture, he could live with some of his daily realities. Perhaps it was not just a matter of seeing the eternal context, but also the immediate entering of the sanctuary. His comfort was not in having what the wealthy have but in having God himself. “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”