"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all your works."
I remember a good friend of mine, Sharon Thomas, preaching about this entire psalm last year at our church, so as I revisited it again tonight, her sermon buzzed in my ears.
What really got me tonight was the NASB's (New American Standard Bible) way of translating this verse. "The nearness of God is my good."
The original Hebrew word that was used for "good" in this verse is"towb" (pronounced like "tove"). Its definition means a good thing, welfare, prosperity, benefit, pleasure...
It's the same word used in Genesis when God created the earth and "saw that it was good."
It's also used to describe good and fertile land. If any of you know me even a little bit, or have read previous blogs of mine, God is always using anything having to do with fields and land in the Bible to speak to me. So this particular definition intrigued me the most.
In this Psalm, Asaph (the writer) goes through a period where he was not near to God, and all he could see in front of him was the "prosperity of the wicked."
Indeed, it is hard to see the goodness of God in this world when you are not walking a life that is near to Him. Tempers are shorter, relationships are tested and seem to be disappearing, undone chores seem like someone else's job to blame, the debt you're in seems like an endless pit you're drowning in, you're scared to try new things, your world becomes smaller and smaller... life is lonely... you ask yourself, "who really cares about me"? Everything that could go wrong, does. And anything that might be a glimpse of light and hope, you are afraid to cling to because you know that too, will disappoint or disappear.
Maybe you can utter these same word's of Asaph's yourself....
"When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You." (v. 21-22)
Life. Is. Hopeless.
But Asaph learns that when he enters the sanctuary of God, his private time and space with his Creator, new glasses are set on his face. God speaks Truth to him there. He realizes that God is ALWAYS with him, and has never left his side... even when he didn't feel like looking up. God wants to redeem him. God desires a relationship with him. God can pull him out of the pit of despair. God intends to give him good things on this earth, a heaven now.
Our hearts are weak, friends. Without God. Our attitudes are weak at best, people. Without God. Our situations really are hopeless. Without God.
Even King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that everything is meaningless without God.
So where are you putting "your good"? Where is your wealth? Where is your heart really invested? Is it in the temporary things of this earth? Is it focused on the success of others, therefore reflects envy in your heart? Are your eyes fixed on chasing after bigger and better, but bigger and better seem like they can never be reached?
Asaph understood that his earthly heart and his earthly body would eventually fail him (v.26), but his relationship with God is forever! Now that's something worth investing in!
The nearness of God in my life is my good. My life is so much more fertile (if you will), abundant, joyful, peaceful, and gentle with God in my life. Is it perfect? Far from it... because I am made of flesh that is weak and sinful and temporary. But God through his Son Jesus Christ redeems my flesh, draws me near, and becomes my refuge. He gives me hope that this temporary life on earth is not where my journey will end, but where it begins.
I seek refuge in my God who delivers me from the darkness and gives me hope.
And because He is good, I (like Asaph) am compelled to sing of His works forever!
What about you?