Betraying a Generation of God's Children

Several of the Psalms give voice to man’s struggles. One example is Psalm 73. In it, Asaph expressed his agony over seeing the prosperity of the wicked. That was particularly troublesome because he was trying to live righteously but felt “stricken all day long and chastened every morning” (v. 14).

This dilemma grew in Asaph’s mind. He admitted, “But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped” (v. 2). He began to think, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence” (v. 13).

Asaph found the answer by going to the sanctuary of God. (That itself is a vital lesson: when you are struggling, don’t quit going to church, as some do; draw near all the more!) There, he was reminded of the sudden and complete end awaiting the ungodly. They may be living it up now, but it will not always be so. On the other hand, God will receive the righteous into glory (v. 24).

Amidst Asaph’s description of his struggle is a particular statement I call your attention to. It is verse 15 of the psalm: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.” Though perplexed almost to the point of despair, Asaph was not unmindful of his influence. What would have happened if he had broadcast his doubts? What if he hastily acted upon them and gave up serving the Lord? He realized that doing so would have betrayed others who were trying to do right. That would include not only his generation but others to come, including his own children and grandchildren. Can we not learn something from this wise man of old?

When preachers or Bible class teachers immediately give voice to some unsolved dilemma that occurs to them or to some new but untested line of thought, it has great potential to undermine faith rather than build it. The pulpit is no place for uncertainty, doubts, and theories!

When there is a church problem or when you get at odds with a brother or sister, watch yourself. A strong and swift but not-well-thought-out reaction will do more harm than good, and its toll will extend to others, not just to you. Constant complaining about such situations is detrimental too. Your kids are listening, and their perceptions and spiritual interest will be affected.

To his credit, Asaph had sense enough to realize that just because he did not know the answer to his question did not mean there wasn’t one. He “hung in there” until he got the matter resolved. By so doing, he solidified his own faith and avoided being a stumbling block to others. A wise man indeed.

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