Getting a temple perspective

When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Psalm 73:16-17

What was it about going into the sanctuary, the temple of God, that reoriented Asaph's thoughts in the right direction? Though the psalm itself doesn't say explicitly, I think we can say with confidence that the temple, being the earthly representation of God's heavenly dwelling place, was a healthy reminder that God is still on the throne. The wicked live as if God doesn't exist and sometimes deny his existence altogether (see verse 11). The temple preached a different message and pointed to God's sovereign rule over all the earth. As Spurgeon put it, "Thus he shifted his point of view, and apparent disorder resolved itself into harmony. The motions of the planets appear most discordant from this world which is itself a planet; they appear as 'progressive, retrograde, and standing still;' but could we fix our observatory in the sun, which is the centre of the system, we should perceive all the planets moving in perfect circle around the head of the great solar family."

Accordingly, his problem was also that he had been looking at things from a purely this-worldly perspective. At first all he could see was the prosperity of the wicked and his own sufferings. It didn't seem fair. It didn't seem to correspond with the justice of God and the providence of God. But going back into the temple, he was reminded that the horizons of this world do not limit the action of God. This is why the wicked are so emphatic that death is the end. But it isn't. "Their end" does not end in death; for, "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (18-20). On the other hand, the righteous can say, "I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (23-26).

Brothers and sisters, let us have this heavenly perspective. Do not let the world put its glasses on your face; look at your life through the lens of the Bible. Let us see God on his throne and working to bring about all things for his glory and the good of the church. Indeed, let us say with Asaph, that "it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works" (28).

By: Jeremiah Bass