WHERE YOU STAND
DETERMINES WHAT YOU SEE!
Intro: One day, six blind men decided to go to the zoo.
They hired a guide to tell them about all the exotic
animals they couldn't see. When they came to the
elephants, the zoo keeper wanted them to have more
than a verbal description, so he allowed them each to
feel the elephant.
Since the elephant was large, and since the zoo
keeper had limited time, he let each man touch one part
of the giant mammal.
The first blind man reached out and his hand
grabbed the elephant's tail. "Aha," he exclaimed, "the
elephant is like a big rope."
The next man felt a massive elephant leg. He looked
strange, no rope was that big. "No, the elephant is like
a large log or tree." He was sure of this.
The third blind man walked forward and ran straight
into the elephant's side, whereupon he pronounced
that, "The elephant is really a big wall."
Next, another of the blind men reached out and took
hold of one of the elephant's ears. It must have tickled,
because the elephant wiggled the large ear, causing the
fourth man to exclaim, "Oh, see this, the elephant is
like a big fan."
The fifth blind man decided that the first four were all
slightly daft and they couldn't be describing the same
creature, so he carefully walked up and put out his
hand, the elephant raised his trunk to the man who felt
it and grinned in wonder. "My friends, it is obvious the
elephant is like a huge snake."
The final man was totally confused, he walked
forward and reached out, hoping to find the truth, and
encountered a tusk. He paused and brightened, "I
understand, the true nature of the elephant is this,
he is a sword."
The zoo keeper and guide smiled at one another,
knowing that none had seen the big, elephantine,
This was the problem which confronted the writer of
this Psalm. He was looking at his situation from the
wrong vantage point. How often are we guilty of the
same thing? There are times when terrible things come
our way during the course of our lives. When this
happens, we tend to only look at what we can see.
However, there is far more to the picture than what
these mortal eyes can behold.
This Psalm teaches us how to get our eyes off of our
circumstances and place them squarely upon the Lord.
Our friend Asaph was ready to quit. He was ready to
throw in the towel and just walk away from God.
However, he learned to look at things, not from a faulty
human perspective, but from the perspective of God.
You see, like those 6 blind men, where a person stands
determines what that person sees. That is the thought
I would like to develop this morning. Let's spend some
time together in this Psalm as we consider the thought
Where You Stand Determines What You See.
I. V. 1 HOW ASAPH HAS BEEN EDUCATED
In this first verse, we see Asaph standing on Solid
Ground. He has been taught about the goodness of
God. He has been taught that the Lord is nothing but
good. This is true! Jesus, Himself, testified to the
goodness of God, Matt. 19:17, "...there is none good,
that is, but God...". He has been taught two great
A. God Blesses His People - This is a true
statement - "For the LORD God is a sun and
shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will he withhold from them
that walk uprightly." Psalms 84:11
B. God Blesses The Pure - This is another true
statement - Matt. 6:33.
I. How Asaph Has Been Educated
II. V. 2-16 WHAT ASAPH HAS EXPERIENCED
Asaph had learned the truth about God, but what he
experienced in life seemed to contradict what he had
learned. This brought him to a place of confusion and
doubt concerning God. In this section of this Psalm, we
see Asaph standing on Slippery Ground, v. 2.
The problem for Asaph is the same problem we all
face from time to time. We misinterpret the goodness
of God! We often think that goodness translates into
blessings. Why not ask Job about the logic of this? Do
you think, even for a minute, what Job endured was a
fun thing? Well, it wasn't! However, in the end, he had
been brought closer to the Lord and he was blessed by
God for his faithfulness!
For too many years, a kind of "health and wealth
Gospel" has been preached in our churches. People
have been lead to believe that if they live the right kind
of lives and do the right things, then the Lord is
obligated to bless them and give them good things. My
friends, that kind of teaching is a lie! Often, the Lord will
allow things in our lives that are hard to bear. He will
place loads on our shoulders that will literally break us
under their weight. This isn't a pleasant thing, but it is
a necessary thing! What we forget is that the Lord is
molding us into His image. And, for a lump of clay as
badly disfigured as I am, that takes a lot of squeezing.
Asaph had learned the truth about God. But, I
repeat, what he had learned about God did not go along
with what he had experienced in the world. As a result,
he was confused by several things. Notice what Asaph
was confused about:
A. V. 3 By The Prosperity Of The Sinner - It
bothered Asaph that the wicked prospered while
the children of God did without.
B. V. 4 By The Peace Of The Sinner - He watched
the wicked live their lives in sin and slip off into
eternity with no problems at all. He was amazed
at the peace they had in death.
C. V. 5 By The Pleasure Of The Sinner - He was
astounded that the wicked could live lives of such
sin and do so without trouble. Their good times
just seemed to roll on and on!
D. V. 6-11 By The Pride Of The Sinner - Because
they live the lives they do, and there is never any
opposition from God, they are filled with pride
before Him. They say, "God doesn't know!
Even if He does. He is weak and unable to do
anything about it at all", v. 11. All the while,
they squeeze the last drop of pleasure from life,
v. 10. It appears to Asaph that they have it made!
E. V. 12-16 By The Progress Of The Sinner -
When Asaph took all this in, it caused him to
become bitter in his heart.
1. He looked at the life he had been living for the
Lord, v. 13.
2. He looked at his own share of sorrow, v. 14.
3. He looked at a life lived for the Lord and it broke his heart, v. 16.
4. Yet, he was afraid to admit how he felt,
because he did not want to lead others down
the same path of despair he was walking on,
When Asaph saw these things, he felt like quitting
on God. He felt as though he had actually wasted his
time in serving the Lord. How many have truly felt that
way? When the trials of life begin to pile up on us, we
are tempted to think that we would have been better off
living like the rest of the world. That there is no benefit
in serving the Lord.
The problem with this line of thinking is that life is
viewed from a human perspective. When we look at life
and its problems from a human perspective, we will
always focus our attention on self. Everything will
always come down to, "How does this affect me?"
"What problems will I face now?" "When will I ever
have relief?" "Who cares about what I am facing?"
Natural thinking always results in disaster because it
allows you to stand in the wrong place and see things
from the wrong angle.
If you allow yourself to fall into the trap of looking at
life from a human perspective you, like Asaph, will find
yourself in a place where you will begin to doubt what
you know to be true about the Lord. Friends, that is a
dangerous place to be!
I. How Asaph Has Been Educated
II. What Asaph Has Experienced
III. V. 17-28 WHAT ASAPH ENCOUNTERED
Beginning in verse 17, the mood of the Psalm
changes. Asaph moves from the Slippery Ground of
a Human Perspective and steps squarely unto
Shouting Ground of a Heavenly Perspective. It
seems that Asaph made a trip to the Temple. There,
he talked with the Lord, and he allowed the Lord to talk
with him. As he did, he was able to get his eyes off of
himself and the problems he faced. He was able to
lose his Human Perspective and replace it with a
Heavenly Perspective. Notice what became clear to
Asaph when he went to the Temple.
A. V. 17b-20 The Future Of The Sinner - Asaph
came to realize that the wicked may have the
best here. They may live it up and enjoy life to
the fullest, but that dream existence they are
living will end when the breath leaves their body!
All they have to look forward to is an eternity in
Hell to be separated from the Lord forever, 2
(Ill. Before we allow ourselves to become too
jealous over the lives the wicked are living, we
need to consider the fact that this is the only
Heaven they will ever know. Isn't that
depressing? Lost friend, you need to get right
with God! You may be enjoying your life today
and think that you have it made. In truth, you
are living on borrowed time! One day, the clock
will run out for you and you will find yourself in
Hell. Is that what you really want? It does not
have to end up that way! Jesus died to pay for
your sins. If you will call on Him now, He will
save you and take you to Heaven to live
eternally with Him. What do you want out of life?
Heaven or Hell?)
B. V. 21-22 The Foolishness Of Self - Now, Asaph
confesses the fact that he has been looking at
everything through a faulty set of lenses. He
deals with the matter of his own heart.
(Ill. There are many of God's children who would
have to admit that they have looked at life the
wrong way. Instead of trusting the Lord and
believing His Word, we have been guilty of
looking at our circumstances and doubting the
Word of God!
We have been guilty of saying:
1. God doesn't care! - He says - 1 Peter 5:7
2. God doesn't hear! - He says - Jer. 33:3
3. God isn't even there! - He says - Heb. 13:5
Instead of doubting the Lord, we all need to
come to the place where just take God at His
Word! It is foolish to forget God in the middle of
our trouble! He is still God no matter what we
face in life, Eph. 3:20!)
(Ill. Have you been guilty of doing what Asaph
did? Are you guilty of allowing the trials of life to
eclipse the face of God? We all do it from time
to time, but it needs to be confessed as the sin
it is and forsaken for true faith in the Lord our
C. V. 23-28 The Fulness Of The Savior - As Asaph
communed with the Lord, he began to see
everything more clearly. He not only looked into
the future of the sinner and the foolishness of
self, but he was able to see clearly the fullness
of the Savior as well. He came to realize that as
a child of God, he possessed spiritual blessings
that towered above anything enjoyed by the
wicked! Notice some of the things Asaph
1. V. 23 The Presence Of God - Asaph realized
that even in the midst of his trials, he had
never been alone! Even when the could not
see God, the Lord had been holding to his
hand. God had always been there.
(Ill. That is a greater blessing than we are
aware of this morning! The fact that our Lord
is ever wit h His children is a blessing beyond
description. It means that we are never alone!
It means that in ever valley, ever dark night of
the soul, ever illness, every situation in life, we
have the blessed presence of the Lord to
sustain us and comfort us! He is always there
- Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5! (Ill. He is described
as a Comforter. John 14:16, "And I will pray
the Father, and he shall give you another
Comforter, that he may abide with you for
ever;" This word describes a friend who is
called in to help a person who is troubled or
distressed. It refers to a commander called in
to help a discouraged and dispirited army.
Basically, the word refers to a helper! No
matter what we face in life, we have an ever-present, heavensent Helper in the Person of
the Holy Spirit!)
2. V. 24 The Protection Of God - Asaph
recognizes that even though the storms of life
may rage all around him, his life was under
the control and direction of God. He knew
that God would guide him through this life and
would eventually bring him home to heaven.
(Ill. Friend, we enjoy the same protection
enjoyed by Asaph! While we endure the
storms of life, we need to be aware that God
knows where we are, Job 23:10. He knows
about our storm, and He allowed, it to come
our way, Rom. 8:28. We need to realize that
the storms of life, horrible as they may be, can
never rip us from the hand of God. He will
guide us through them and will bring us into
glory when this life is over. Our problems
pose no problem for the Lord.)
3. V. 25-26 The Person Of God - Asaph comes
to the conclusion that the Lord is all he needs
in this life or in the life to come. He has
forgotten about the pleasure filled lives of the
wicked and names the greatest blessing that
he enjoys: a personal relationship with God
Himself! Asaph had come to realize that his
flesh was weak, but his Lord was strong)
(Ill. God's children need to learn that a heart
that desires nothing but the Lord is a heart
that will never be disappointed! When we get
our eyes off the Lord and start to lust after the
things of the world, we will become
dissatisfied and discouraged. When we want
nothing but God, we are sure to have
everything we want, Matt. 5:6)
4. V. 27-28 The Perception Of God - Finally
Asaph arrives at the place where he can see
things from God's perspective. No longer
does he look upon the wicked with envy. Now
he knows that they are doomed. Now he
knows that the saints have reason to shout
even when things look their bleakest. Asaph
has come to the place where he knows that
Gods way is the only way. He now knows that
it pays to be a child of God!
(Ill. My friends, that is the place we must all
come to is we are to enjoy victory in the
difficult days of life. We have to get to the
place where we can see things like they really
are, and not like we think they are. We have
to come to the place where we lose the
human perspective and adopt the heavenly
perspective. Basically, it boils down to
changing the place where we are standing.
How do we get to this place?
1. By Prayer
2. By the Bible
3. By Grace
4. By Faith
We get to the place where we can trust the
Lord by trusting the Lord. In other words, the
more we allow ourselves to believe that God
is Who He says He is and that He can do
what He says He will do, the easier it
becomes to trust Him with all of life! It is the
first step that is always the hardest!)
Conc: Do we have any Asaph's present today? Sure
we do! There are people in this room who feel like
giving up from time to time because of the load they are
carrying through life. I would like to challenge you this
morning to do what Asaph did. Come and commune
with God about the situation. Ask Him to give you His
eyes so that you can look at things His way. Ask Him to
bring you to the place where you, like Asaph, can say,
"I have put my trust in the Lord God."
It all boils down to where you are standing! Don't
be like the blind men who started our study. Don't be
guilty of merely looking at what is right in front of you.
Don't be guilty of just adopting the human perspective.
Make the effort today to get the heavenly perspective
on your problems, and come to see things the right way:
Some are lost here this morning. You can get
that big problem solved right here right now, if you will
come to the Lord and allow Him to come into your life.
This altar is open! God is here and He is meeting
needs this morning. Will you allow Him to meet your?
Remember, Where you stand determines what you