Part 3 To the Saints (fill in your name) in (now and your location)

Our next candidate is called a "saint" by the Roman Catholic Church which is rather ironic as Paul the "Apostle to the Gentiles" calls  all that he writes to Saints for example Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, to the saints being in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus:

It seems that the Roman Catholic Church saw first that what God wanted was a family and He left a wee note (I call it a love letter to each one of us) pinned through the man we call "Saint "Paul. And in any case the RCC started naming "saints" as if you and I weren’t good enough to make the cut. But like always when I get excited. I get a head of my self. So lets slow down a wee bit and take a look at another "Tomorrow person. A man called not only a "saint" but a prophet as well!

Have you ever been disillusioned with people? Have you ever had life just not work out the way you expected it to? Have you ever wondered why it seems the faithful suffer while the wicked prosper? Have you ever questioned God when it seemed like He wasn't keeping His promises? If so, you will want to learn about one of the great men of faith in the Bible who faced all of those tests and asked all those questions. His name was Asaph. Most Christians do not even recognize his name. Even those who do, do not seem to recognize his importance. They probably just know he had something to do with the Psalms.

It is recognized that Asaph was David's music director, and probably wrote much of the original, now lost, music for David's Psalms, but much more importantly, he wrote twelve Psalms. He wrote more of the Bible than Peter, James, Jude, Jonah, Amos, Micah, Joel, Malachi, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Haggai, or Obadiah. Interestingly enough, if we take the time to dig it out, the Bible tells more about Asaph's life than it tells us about any other author of scripture except Moses, David, Samuel, and perhaps Isaiah, Hosea, and Jeremiah. We know the times Asaph lived in (circa 1020 - 920 BC), from David's reign, through Solomon's to Rehoboam's. We know he lived in Jerusalem. We know that he worked as the director of music at David's Tent of Meeting and at Solomon's Temple. We also know a great deal about his personal and family life. We also know the great historical and spiritual events which were the context of Asaph's life. It is important to reconstruct Asaph's life because, without understanding his life and times, it is impossible to fully comprehend the faith amidst adversity that Asaph's Psalms reflect!

Who was Asaph? I have included the scriptural support for much of this in notes, but here I will include only a summary. Asaph was a young priest from the tribe of Levi, when David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem in about 1000 to 995 BC. His father, Berekiah was appointed Doorkeeper of the Ark, and Asaph was so talented that David put him in charge of the music before the Ark of the Covenant. He was assisted there by his brother Zechariah. He was probably in his twenties at the time.[1] At that time the main tabernacle and the most senior priests and Levites were at Gibeon, but Asaph was in charge of the music in Jerusalem where the Ark and the King were.[2] We know that Asaph kept that position at least until the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem almost forty years later. At that time the worship services of the Tent of Meeting and the Tabernacle were consolidated in the Temple, and the Ark of the Covenant was reinstalled in its rightful place in the Holy of Holies next to the Holy Place.

Asaph served in Jerusalem for all of David's reign, and no doubt set to music, many of the Psalms that God gave David. He was in Jerusalem when God gave David the great promise that David would have a son who would be the Messiah, and reign forever. He had to have been very close to David. He was probably afflicted by a little hero worship of David. Who wouldn't have been? He also heard David tell the people and elders of Israel that his son Solomon was the answer to God's promise of a son who would build God's temple and establish a kingdom that would last forever. He saw the death of David, the accession of Solomon, and the building of the Temple. He thought he was standing on the verge of Israel's Millenium. He was on the mountaintop!

After Solomon's dedication of the Temple, Asaph saw Israel's "golden age" turn into something quite apart from what he expected. After a promising beginning, Solomon turned his back on God and pursued power, wealth, luxury, and human wisdom,[3] as well as worship of other gods.[4] To finance these pursuits the people were oppressed with slavery [5] and taxes.[6] Asaph saw Solomon become a wicked man who entrusted the administration of his Kingdom to other wicked men. There is good reason to believe  that during Solomon's reign, Asaph's brother Zechariah [7] was assassinated in the Temple by Solomon's agents. Neither Asaph nor Zechariah would keep silent about Solomon's wickedness. Zechariah paid the ultimate price.

To be continued . . .

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