Intro: Six blind men made the decision to visit the zoo one day. They hired a tour guide to show them all the exotic animals they couldn't see. The zookeeper allowed each of them to feel the elephant because he wanted them to have more than just a verbal description when they came to the elephants.
Since the zookeeper had limited time and the elephant was large, he allowed each man to touch one part of it. The elephant's tail was grabbed by the first blind man as he reached out. "The elephant is like a big rope," he exclaimed. The following man felt an enormous elephant leg. Since no rope was that big, he appeared odd. No, the elephant is comparable to a large tree or log." This was certain to him. "The elephant is really a big wall" was the remark made by the third blind man as he moved forward and ran into the elephant's side. One of the blind men then grabbed one of the elephant's ears with his other hand. The elephant wiggled the large ear, which caused the fourth man to exclaim, "Oh, see this, the elephant is like a big fan." It must have tickled. "The elephant raised his trunk to the man who felt it and grinned in wonder after the fifth blind man decided that the first four were all slightly foolish and they couldn't be describing the same creature." Friends, the elephant clearly resembles a massive snake. The last man, completely perplexed, walked forward and reached out in the hope of discovering the truth, but all he found was a tusk. "I understand, the true nature of the elephant is this, he is a sword," he said brightly after a brief pause. Knowing that no one had seen the enormous elephant-shaped picture, the zookeeper and guide exchanged a friendly smile. The author of this Psalm had to deal with this issue. He had the wrong perspective on his circumstance. How frequently do we repeat ourselves? Throughout the course of our lives, terrible things occasionally occur. When this occurs, we typically focus solely on what we can see. However, the picture encompasses much more than what these human eyes can perceive. We can learn from this Psalm how to direct our attention away from our circumstances and toward the Lord. Asaph, our friend, was prepared to quit. He was prepared to give up and simply walk away from God. But he learned to see things from God's perspective instead of the flawed human perspective. You see, just like those six blind men, a person's perspective is influenced by where they stand. That is the idea I want to come up with this morning. As we consider the idea that where you stand determines what you see, let's spend some time reading this Psalm together. In this first verse, we see Asaph standing on solid ground. I. V. 1 HOW ASAPH HAS BEEN EDUCATED He has received instruction regarding God's goodness. He has been instructed to believe that the Lord is only good. It is accurate! Matt. says that Jesus himself testified to God's goodness. 19:17, "...that is, there is none good but God..." A. God Blesses His People - This is a true statement: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield:" He has been taught two important truths. Grace and glory will be given by the LORD: He will not withhold anything beneficial from upright people." Psalms 84:11: B. God Blesses the Pure - Matt makes yet another accurate statement. 6:33. I. How Asaph Received His Education II. V. 2-16 WHAT ASAPH HAS EXPERIENCED Although Asaph had learned the truth about God, his life's events appeared to contradict what he had learned. As a result, he became perplexed and unsure of his faith in God. Asaph stands on slippery ground in this section of the Psalm, verse 2. Asaph's issue is the same issue that we all encounter from time to time. We misunderstand God's goodness! We frequently believe that goodness brings blessings. Why not inquire about Job's understanding of this? Are you even remotely inclined to believe that Job's experiences were amusing? Rather, it was not! However, God blessed him for his faithfulness and brought him closer to the Lord in the end! Our churches have preached a kind of "health and wealth Gospel" for far too long. People have been taught that the Lord is obligated to bless them and give them good things if they live the right way and do the right things. Friends, that type of instruction is false! Things that are difficult to bear are frequently permitted by the Lord in our lives. He will put burdens on our shoulders that will literally break us. Although this is undesirable, it is necessary! We overlook the fact that the Lord is transforming us into His likeness. And that takes a lot of squeezing from a lump of clay with a disfigured appearance like mine. About God, Asaph had discovered the truth. But I'll say it again: what he had learned about God did not match what he had seen or experienced in the world. He was therefore perplexed by a number of things. Pay attention to Asaph's confusion: A. V. 3, "By the Prosperity of the Sinner": Asaph was bothered by the fact that the children of God suffered while the wicked prospered. By the Peace of the Sinner, verse 4: He observed the wicked live their lives in sin and disappear into eternity without a hitch. He was awestruck by their final peace. C. V. 5, "By the Pleasure of the Sinner" - He was amazed at how the wicked could live such sinful lives without difficulty. It appeared as though their good times would never end! D. V. 6-11 by The Pride of the Sinner: They are filled with pride before God because they live the lives they do and God never gets in the way. They assert, "God is unaware! even though He may. Verse 11 states, "He is weak and unable to do anything about it." They squeeze every last bit of pleasure out of life, v. 10. Asaph believes that they have it all figured out! By the Progress of the Sinner, E. V. 12-16 - When Asaph took in all of this, he became bitter inside. 1. Verse 13 says, "He looked at the life he had lived for the Lord." 2. Verse 14, "He looked at his own share of sorrow" 3. He was heartbroken when he saw a life lived for the Lord, verse 16. 4. But he was afraid to talk about how he felt because he didn't want others to go down the same path of despair as he was. In verse 15, Asaph almost gave up on God when he saw these things. Serving the Lord seemed like a complete waste of time to him. How many have truly experienced that? We are tempted to believe that we would have fared better if we had lived like everyone else when the difficulties of life begin to accumulate. that serving the Lord has no benefit. The fact that this way of thinking looks at life from a human point of view is problematic. We will always focus on ourselves when we approach life and its issues from a human perspective. "How does this affect me?" will always be the deciding factor in any situation. What difficulties will I encounter now?" When will I experience some relief? Who cares what I'm going through?" Because natural thinking allows you to see things from the wrong perspective and stand in the wrong place, it always leads to disaster. Like Asaph, you will find yourself in a position where you will begin to question what you know to be true about the Lord if you allow yourself to fall into the trap of viewing life from a human perspective. Friends, that is a risky location! I. How Asaph Received His Education II. What Asaph Has Been Through III. Beginning in verse 17, the tone of the psalm shifts. V. 17-28 WHAT ASAPH ENTERED Asaph ascends to the shouting ground of a heavenly perspective straight from the slippery ground of a human perspective. It would appear that Asaph went to the Temple. He talked to the Lord there, and he let the Lord talk to him. He was able to focus on himself and the issues he was facing by doing so. He was able to switch to a Heavenly perspective after losing his human perspective. When Asaph went to the Temple, he saw things clearly. Asaph came to the realization that the wicked may have the best here in A. V. 17b-20, The Future of the Sinner. They may enjoy life to the fullest and live life to the fullest, but their dream life will end when their breath leaves their body! According to 2 Thessalonians, all they can look forward to is an interminable separation from the Lord in Hell. 1:8-9. (Ill.) We need to keep in mind that this is the only Heaven that the wicked will ever know before we allow ourselves to become overly jealous of their lives. Isn't that gloomy? Dear friend, you must reconcile with God! You might think you've got it all figured out today because you're having a good time. In point of fact, you are wasting your time! You will end up in Hell one day when the clock runs out on you. Is that really what you want? That does not have to be the case! Jesus gave his life for your sins. He will save you and take you to Heaven to live with Him forever if you call on Him now. What do you hope to achieve in life? Hell or Heaven?) B. V. 21-22: The Foolishness of Oneself - At this point, Asaph admits that he has been interpreting everything incorrectly. He addresses the problem in his own heart. (Ill.) A lot of God's children would have to admit that they haven't seen life in the right light. We have been guilty of looking at our circumstances and doubting the Word of God rather than trusting in the Lord and His Word! We have made the error of saying: 1. God has no interest! He states: 2 Peter 5:7 God doesn't listen! He states "Jer." 33:3 3. Even God is not present! - He states Hebrew. 13:5 Rather than doubting the Lord, we must all come to the point where we simply take His word for it! In the midst of our difficulties, it is foolish to disregard God! No matter what life throws at us, he remains God, Eph. 3:20!) (Ill. Have you ever been responsible for Asaph's actions? Are you responsible for allowing life's difficulties to obscure God's face? We all do it from time to time, but it must be acknowledged as a sin and abandoned in exchange for genuine faith in our God! C. V. 23-28, "The Fulfillment of the Savior": Asaph began to see everything more clearly as he communed with the Lord. He was able to clearly see the Savior's fullness as well as the future of the sinner and the foolishness of himself. He came to the realization that as a child of God, he was endowed with spiritual blessings that stood head and shoulders above those who were wicked! Pay attention to some of the things that Asaph found. 1. V. 23, "The Presence of God": Even during his trials, Asaph realized that he had never been alone! The Lord had been holding onto his hand even when they couldn't see God. God was always present. (Ill. That's a bigger blessing than we've ever experienced this morning! It is a blessing beyond description that our Lord is always with His children. It indicates that we are never on our own! It indicates that we have the blessed presence of the Lord to sustain and comfort us in every valley, dark night of the soul, illness, and circumstance in life! Matt, he is always there. 28:20; Heb. 13:5! ( He is referred to as a comforter. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever," according to John 14:16. A friend who comes to the aid of a distressed or troubled individual is referred to by this word. It refers to a commander called upon to assist an army that is discouraged and hopeless. The word basically means a helper! In the person of the Holy Spirit, we have an ever-present, heaven-sent Helper, regardless of the challenges we face in life! 2. V. 24, "The Protection of God": Asaph understands that even though life's storms may be raging all around him, God was in charge of and in charge of his life. He was confident that God would lead him through this life and ultimately bring him back to heaven. (Ill. Friend, we have the same level of protection as Asaph! Job 23:10 reminds us that God knows where we are as we go through life's storms. He is aware of our storm and permitted it to strike, Rom. 8:28. We need to realize that, as terrible as life's storms may be, God will always hold us. He will lead us through them and bring us to glory at the end of this life. The Lord does not have a problem with our issues.) 3. The Person of God, verses 25–26 — Asaph concludes that the Lord is all he requires now and in the future. He has identified the greatest blessing he enjoys and has forgotten about the wicked's pleasure-filled lives: a relationship with God personally! (Ill.) God's children need to learn that a heart that only desires the Lord is a heart that will never be disappointed! Asaph had come to realize that his Lord was stronger than his flesh. We will become dissatisfied and discouraged if we turn our attention away from the Lord and begin to lust after the things of this world. Matt, we will undoubtedly attain everything we desire if we have only God as our only desire. 5:6) 4. V. 27-28: The Perception of God Asaph finally reaches the point where he can see the world through God's eyes. He no longer harbors enmity toward the wicked. He now recognizes their doom. He now knows that even when things look the worst, the saints have a reason to scream. Asaph has arrived where he is aware that God's way is the only one. He now understands that being a child of God pays off! (Ill.) If we want to triumph over difficult times in life, that is the place we must all go, my friends. We need to get to a point where we can see things as they are, not as we imagine them to be. We have to get to a point where we no longer see things from a human perspective but rather from a heavenly one. Essentially, it comes down to altering our standing position. How do we reach this location? 1. By way of prayer By way of the Bible Grace by Grace We reach the point where we are able to trust the Lord through faith. To put it another way, it becomes easier to trust God with everything in life the more we allow ourselves to believe that He is who He claims to be and that He is capable of doing what He promises. The first step is always the most difficult! Conc: Are there any Asaphs with us today? Yes, we do! Due to the burden they are carrying throughout their lives, some people in this room occasionally feel like giving up. This morning, I would like to challenge you to act like Asaph did. Come and talk about the situation with God. You can see things through His eyes if you ask Him to give you His eyes. Ask Him to get you to a place where you can say, "I have put my trust in the Lord God," just like Asaph did. Everything comes down to where you stand! Be different from the blind men who initiated our study. Don't make the mistake of just looking at what's in front of you. Don't fall into the trap of simply adopting a human perspective. Make the effort right now to see things from the heavenly perspective and arrive at the right conclusion: God's method! This morning, some have vanished here. If you will approach the Lord and allow Him to enter your life, you can solve that major issue right now. Open this altar! This morning, God is present and supplying requirements. Will you let Him meet with you? Keep in mind that what you see is based on where you stand!

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