Psalm 73

This is the second of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph


1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”
12 This is what the wicked are like always carefree, they increase in wealth.
13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

My purpose in life is found in verse 28.

This is the second of twelve Psalms that bears the name of Asaph and is probably one of the Psalms that has had the most material written about it.

In this psalm, Asaph tackles several difficult questions that believers will face in life. The first question he addresses is the question is why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper. Here is so of the reasoning that Asaph gives to address this issue.

Verse 1. Stated as a fact: Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.”

Psalm 15 gives the characteristics of this type of person:

 walk is blameless

 does what is righteous

 who speaks the truth from his heart

 has no slander on his tongue

 does his neighbor no wrong

 casts no slur on his fellowman

 despises a vile man

 honors those who fear the LORD

 keeps his oath even when it hurts

 lends his money without usury

 does not accept a bribe against the innocent

He who does these things will never be shaken

Verses 2 and 3: The problem is stated as “I almost slipped”.

Why? Because I envied the arrogant. I saw their prosperity and desired it.

Verses 4 thru 12 Characteristics of the Arrogant:

They have no struggles

Their bodies are healthy and strong
They are free from the burdens common to man

They are not plagued by human ills.
They wear pride is their necklace

They clothe themselves with violence.
Their callous hearts are full of iniquity

The evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice

In their arrogance, they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven

Their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore, their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How can God know?”

They say, “Does the Most High have knowledge?”
This is what the wicked are like always carefree

They increase in wealth.

Verses 13 -16 The reasons I almost slipped (I saw their earthly treasures and desired them):

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure

In vain have I washed my hands in innocence
All day long I have been plagued

I have been punished every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me

Verses 17 thru 20 The answer to my question:

When I entered the sanctuary of God

I understood their final destiny
Surely, you place them on slippery ground

You cast them down to ruin
How suddenly are they destroyed

They are completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.

Verses 21, 22 How the knowledge of God’s way has an effect me:

When my heart was grieved

My spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant

I was a brute beast before you

Verses 23 thru 28 My relationship with God:

I am always with you

You hold me by my right hand
You guide me with your counsel

Afterward you will take me into glory
Whom have I in heaven but you

And earth has nothing I desire besides you
My flesh and my heart may fail

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
It is good to be near God

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge

I will tell of all your deeds.

Verses 18, 19, 20, 27 The Ungodly relationship with God:

Surely, you place them on slippery ground

You cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors?

Those who are far from you will perish

You destroy all who are unfaithful to you

You will despise them as fantasies

This sentence from Oswald Chambers’ book My Utmost for His Highest from the reading onMarch 13 “ The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him” This is what I believe the psalmist is trying to portrait in this psalm. There is the way in which we should walk daily. However, we see many that live lifestyles we envy even through their walk is not in truth. We then begin to question our walk with God. The life of surrendering to God is a day by day actively. Some days it seems to be a moment by moment actively where we must constantly go back to him for strength. As I watched the Lord of the Rings, I marveled at the job that J.R. Tolkien did of portraying the Christian’s journey through life through the character of Frodo Baggins. This journey is full of good times, bad times, times of failure, times of success, times of friendship, times of betrayal, but the journey does continue. We can give up or go on. However, if we are totally commented to Christ, as Frodo was to his mission, we would keep moving forward in the task that is ahead of us. Frodo could have just given up, but he did not. The greatest purpose that a believer can have in his or her life is to grow into a closer relationship to God.

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