Psalm 73 — Praying to See Reality Clearly — Reading the Psalms


A Psalm of Asaph.

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
Even to such as are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well nigh slipped.
3 For I was envious at the arrogant,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no bands in their death:
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men;
Neither are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride is as a chain about their neck;
Violence covereth them as a garment.
7 Their eyes stand out with fatness:
They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff, and in wickedness utter oppression:
They speak loftily.
9 They have set their mouth in the heavens,
And their tongue walketh through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return hither:
And waters of a full cup are wrung out by them.
11 And they say, How doth God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
And, being alway at ease, they increase in riches
13 Surely in vain have I cleansed my heart,
And washed my hands in innocency;
14 For all the day long have I been plagued,
And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, I will speak thus;
Behold, I had dealt treacherously with the generation of thy children.
16 When I thought how I might know this,
It was too painful for me;
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God,
And considered their latter end.
18 Surely thou settest them in slippery places:
Thou castest them down to destruction.
19 How are they become a desolation in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awaketh;
So, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 For my heart was grieved,
And I was pricked in my reins:
22 So brutish was I, and ignorant;
I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee:
Thou hast holden my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee?
And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth:
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish:
Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near unto God:
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all thy works.

Thus begins one of my favorite parts of the psalter, the psalms of Asaph. The headings of psalms 73-83 connect them with this name. Though there is some confusion about his identity, when they are read as a group I feel we can find a thread of faith throughout. They are written in times of doubt and trouble about doubt and trouble. Yet, as Paul describes Abraham in Romans 4, the author of these psalms “grew strong in faith as he gave glory to 


Do you envy the good times enjoyed by the wicked? It is surely hard to keep oneself from longing for their riches, ease and seemingly acceptable ill behavior. As the psalmist himself states, they are not plagued, have more than they wish, and are always at ease. He goes so far, in his envy, to say in vs. 13, “in vain have I cleansed my heart”. This is indeed a low moment of faith, btut, no doubt, not uncommon to man.

The author’s turning point is when he “went into the sanctuary of God”. Let us not think that simply walking into a stone temple or a brick church building is the trick. As we read Asaph’s reflections, we see he did more than merely show up to a worship assembly. Going into the sanctuary of God gave him the opportunity for serious contemplation and reflection. The result was a clear sight of reality: those who live such lives do eventually fall; no, they do not get everything their way; no, God does not look upon them and their image with favor. Even his own original ideas are proved wrong: do you honestly think the rich and famous – superstars & politicians – are always at ease or get everything they want? These thoughts are false; they are lies we choose to believe in our own foolishness and selfishness.

But what about us? Can we not see or acknowledge our own brutishness? If going to God’s sanctuary gives us a clear vision of reality, will we not also see ourselves clearly? This is where the psalm ends. It drives us not to seek with joy the downfall of the rich & famous, but to consider our own place and standing. Let us all remember, “it is good for me to draw near unto God”.


Source link

Write a comment
Verified by MonsterInsights