But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; Psalm 73:28
Good – Do you remember the boxed candy called “Good and Plenty”? Black and white tiny morsels of licorice packed the pink and white container. I’m sure Asaph never heard of licorice but the word he chooses to describe “good” could easily have been the name of that candy. Tovah is the Hebrew for “good” but it is not limited to ethically or morally good. It covers a wide range of things that are good for me. What is correct, what is pleasing, what is fruitful, what is useful, what is profitable, what is abundant, what is kind and what is proper are just some of the uses. When we see the umbrella of meanings under tovah, we know that Asaph has “good and plenty” in mind.
Asaph’s insight re-directs our thought. We often come to God thinking that He will supply all of the “good” things in life. We pray for abundance, usefulness, uprightness, kindness and a host of other pleasing things. But Asaph pushes all those provisions aside. He sees that the one thing that satisfies all my good is the presence of God. Yes, God can, and sometimes does, supply all these other lesser good things. But the true good that I so desperately need is not what God provides but rather who God is. I need God as close as I can get to Him. And if I am as close as I can possibly get, I will discover that all the other good things I thought I needed have been satisfied just by being with Him.
Look to Yeshua. Once again we see just what goodness comes from close proximity. We wonder how Jesus managed. No home, no income, no source of security, food and clothing. I doubt that many of us would trade places. We have such short-sighted views of our good. Jesus enjoyed more of life than we can ever imagine. He had more freedom, more confidence and more exuberance than any of us. Why? Because his good was to be with the Father. He saw what we ignore. Everything except God is withering grass. So we trade true tovah for accumulated grass and then we wonder why our lives seem so confusing and unfulfilled and exhausting. Listen to the hymn of Asaph. The nearness of God is my good.
Are you singing Asaph’s song or does your life melody play a different tune?
Topical Index: Psalm 73:28, good, tov, nearness