Psalm 73

Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and 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.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
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.

Psalm 73 is attributed to Asaph, a musician and composer during the time of King David. Asaph is mentioned in several Psalms as the author or contributor, and his name is associated with the music and worship in the Tabernacle. Psalm 73 specifically bears the heading "A Psalm of Asaph," indicating his authorship.

It is a lovely psalm that exposes the psalmist's struggle when he encounters the apparent prosperity of the wicked. He initially questions the fairness of God's ways, as he sees the wicked flourishing while the righteous seem to suffer. I am sure it is something we can all relate to. We can't understand why the wicked thrive while the righteous face difficulties.

However, the psalmist's journey takes a sudden turn when he enters God's sanctuary. In the presence of God, his perspective shifts. He realizes that the prosperity of the wicked is temporary and that their end is destruction. And he understands that true fulfillment and joy come from being in a relationship with God rather than from material possessions or worldly success.

Jesus teaches us the same things. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his listeners not to worry about earthly treasures but to first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:25-34). He constantly emphasized the value of storing treasures in heaven rather than pursuing temporal wealth or status.

So, as we sing this psalm, let us shift our focus from the wealth of the wicked, which is temporary, onto the blessings of God, which are permanent. Let us seek his presence, trust in his goodness, and find contentment in him, knowing he is our ultimate source of joy and fulfillment.

God bless you.

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