I wonder what Asaph’s prayers sounded like when he was in the midst of his brutish ignorance.
Asaph is the guy from Psalm 73 that was envious of the arrogant and almost lost his faith by fixing his eyes on the prosperity of the wicked. At root, dude was covetous.
And so I wonder what his prayers sounded like during that terribly dark season. I wonder if they sound anything like my own.
With envious eyes Asaph peeks at the luxurious living of his unbelieving neighbors. They’ve got prime rib and he’s eating a Jewish version of a Salisbury steak TV dinner; which, of course, is closer to manna (what is it?) than actual meat. And so Asaph bows his head and prays for prime rib.
Nothing. No answer. He’s still eating his poverty-meat months later.
The darkness sets up shop in his heart and bitterness slowly invades his eyes. Every blessing of another is a message about his own worthiness. When his neighbor gets a new camel, Asaph turns it into a prayer request. “Where’s my camel?”
Nothing. No answer. He’s stuck with his aging and increasingly stubborn donkey.
Asaph gets increasingly upset with the Lord. He knows that all of his troubles would be over if God would open up heaven and actually answer his prayers. He’d take a used camel. He’d take sirloin steak. Just something.
But God, in His mercy, gives Asaph none of this. Because you aren’t rescued from covetousness by getting covetous prayers answered.
Rather than open up heaven and give him a smelly camel, the Lord gives Asaph something far greater; namely, eyes to see that he already has an eternal treasure. When that truth penetrates his heart, Asaph has eyes to see again. He no longer sees the fat on their tables but the famish in their souls.
The only rescue for covetousness—and all the junk that parades behind it—is to have heaven’s perspective. When we understand that we already have the greatest treasure, these lesser luminaries lose their pull on our hearts. If we have Jesus we will never miss out on any good thing. John Newton is correct, “when you get to heaven, you will not complain of the way by which the Lord brought you”.
God won’t answer prayers that would set your heart on a path other than heaven.