Psalm 73

Psalm 73

Book Three

God Is My Strength and Portion Forever

A Psalm of Asaph.

73   Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
    my steps had nearly slipped.
  For I was envious of the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
  For they have no pangs until death;
    their bodies are fat and sleek.
  They are not in trouble as others are;
    they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
  Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them as a garment.
  Their eyes swell out through fatness;
    their hearts overflow with follies.
  They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.
  They set their mouths against the heavens,
    and their tongue struts through the earth.
  Therefore his people turn back to them,
    and find no fault in them.
  And they say, “How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
  Behold, these are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches.
  All in vain have I kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.
  For all the day long I have been stricken
    and rebuked every morning.
  If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
    I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
  But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,
  until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.
  Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
  How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!
  Like a dream when one awakes,
    O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
  When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
  I was brutish and ignorant;
    I was like a beast toward you.
  Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
  You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
  Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
  My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
  For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
  But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.


Psalm 73 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Have you ever pondered how God is good when our lives are drenched in the darkness of evil? You are not alone. Many in Scripture have cried out to God for answers to this paradox. In fact, I would argue that many churches today struggle to address the honest questions that people have about faith in this type of setting. We are taught not to question the Bible or the goodness of God – and for good reason. We know deep down what is truth. However, we are also human. We struggle with the reality of what we see before us and how God can allow it.

The psalmist is depressed by these thoughts. Why live a righteous life when all that is before us is evil? Does it really matter? Where is God in this suffering? Asaph, the assumed writer, ponders these questions deeply. He searches his heart and even goes to the temple in order to find answers. This is a noteworthy point.

For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning.  15  If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed Your people.  16  When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless  17  until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.

Psalms 73:14-17 HCSB

Though his own understanding troubled him, he didn’t lean on it. He went to seek God where he knew that he could find him. He entered God’s sanctuary with a searching heart and the path was made straight. If there was ever a narrative to describe the process of Proverbs 3:5-6, this would be it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;  6  think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 HCSB

The turning point for Asaph was the realization that the wicked will not live forever. Though consequences may not come in this life, they will have to face God one day without their prosperity to protect them. They will have to answer for their sin one day, and without faith in Jesus, there is absolutely no hope of life. This was a rediscovery for Asaph of something that he probably knew but had not completely reconciled. The crisis of faith did not turn him away, but rather, drew him into deeper thoughts and more diligent seeking. He found God in the temple and the answers brought peace to his soul.

There is nothing wrong with coming to God with questions. In fact, it’s one way that we are able to grow in our relationship. The pivotal moment for each of us rests on our decision to abandon our faith or dig deeper for spiritual wisdom. In the end, Asaph’s discovery strengthened his faith, and it continues to strengthen ours even today.

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