And that, all because of his envy of the wicked. Consider this godly guidance when you get a raw deal. This reckoning may be delayed, but it will come. Jesus spoke of an unfortunate Israelite who fell among robbers and left for dead. 5They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 min read. In the end that is why we must desire God and not what God gives: only God can be our refuge, and only God will receive us to glory (Psalm 73:24-25, 28). It’s not hard to tell what’s in your heart. The Psalmist arrives at the goal of salvation: desiring and worshipping God alone. She, after all, did not come up with all of this out of nowhere. Your Emotions Matter to God Learning from the Bible’s Songbook. 7Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown (Genesis 6:4). This psalm is a brutally honest confessional, from the heart of Asaph to the God he felt had given him a rip off. 9They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. “You guide me with your counsel.” In this life God is near and guides him. The wicked will be judged. Come before God’s presence with it. Asaph then cries out a notable declaration: whom does Asaph have in Heaven but God? It should be true that the righteous are blessed and the wicked are judged. Now, everyone suffers to some degree. People like the idea of green pastures and still waters. We all have doubts and questions at times. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? Judgment before the time almost wrecked the church in Corinth; it remains a challenge for the people of God. Is that your motivation in life? —Psalm 73… The wicked will perish, but Asaph knows that YHWH is his refuge and will proclaim His works (Psalm 73:27-28). When we know who He really is, we always want to spend time with Him! This last phrase in v. 3, “the prosperity of the wicked,” is literally the shalom or peace of the wicked, referring to their easy, peaceful lives. God’s blessings cannot compare with God Himself; why do we suffer from such a lack of faith so as to covet the lesser good when God wants us to have the greatest Good of all? Psalm 73 talks about your relationship with Christ. New Teaching in Your Inbox. 2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. The Egyptians considered the gods Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Horus to have once ruled the land, and every generation would recreate the story. I had almost tripped and fallen. Comparing a person to a sheep is not flattering, then or now: sheep, quite frankly, are dumb. But how is that the wicked live such good lives? O my soul, I could name numerous “But God…” statements that are truth in my life and that of my family. Can you say with Asaph in v. 25 – “Whom have I in heaven but you? That fear motivates them to continue to accumulate wealth, to keep God and/or their fellow man at a distance lest they lose their wealth, and in general maintain great fear and apprehension about maintaining or increasing what they already have. And he will testify of the good works of God for others to hear and know. Notice how v. 13 directly contradicts his statement of faith in v. 1 – “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” His heart is pure, but the wicked seem to get all the good things, while he suffers. Asaph, the author of Psalm 73, delights in God more than in anything on earth. It is only here, in God’s presence, that he is able to see himself and the wicked rightly (Psalm 73:17–20). They are defenseless and prove easy prey for wolves and other predators. Acts 6:1-6, COVID 19 and a Christian understanding of suffering, Video: COVID-19 and a Christian understanding of suffering, Dangerous Partnerships: The story of Jehoshaphat & Ahab, The Parable of the Vineyard Tenants. We all see the value of His blessings, but as for God Himself? They don’t have any troubles. He asked Jesus the right question, one Sheila Butler may have asked before as well: what shall I do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25)? 1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? What they unveil is often unpleasant. It is for those who are frustrated when immoral people get their way, when justice is … Do you find yourself suffering when evil people continue to succeed? Psalm 73 – “My Feet Almost Slipped” The title of this psalm (A Psalm of Asaph) tells us that it was written by the great singer and musician of David and Solomon’s era (1 Chronicles 15:17-19, 16:5-7, 25:6). Weekly. We like material prosperity; we like comfort, both physical and spiritual; we like having good people in our lives who care for us and we for them. Yet he was prone to stumbled for he was envious of the arrogant on account of the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:2-3). The Lord YHWH is the Creator; Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 12:2). The Israelite would have had little reason to envision his neighbors in a universal sense; everything in his upbringing and culture privileged his fellow Israelites. It takes a penetrating look into your soul. Asaph does not deny God’s goodness to Israel and those who are pure in … My flesh and my heart had utterly failed, and I understood God to be the source of that failure. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. ( Log Out / And I began to long for what they had. The themes of Psalm 73 are also prominent in Jonathan Edwards’s most famous sermon, … David has confidence to persevere on account of YHWH’s presence. As a shepherd finds green pastures, calm streams, and good paths for the sheep for their sustenance and development, so YHWH has provided prosperity, peace, and the way of righteousness for David, restoring his soul (Psalm 23:2-3). Of Solomon. Scripture: Psalm 73:21–26. But this is just the background here. It’s not often that life after death in God’s presence is stated so clearly in the Old Testament. Follow John Piper on Facebook. Now let’s step back and notice the movement in this psalm. The stumbling block for him, and for many though-out the ages is why God allows this injustice to go on. All of these cultures and societies venerated and highly esteemed their heroes and ancestors, often considering them worthy of emulation. “Whom have I in heaven but you?” verse 25 goes, “And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”. YHWH is my shepherd / I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Psalm 23:1-6 is by far the most famous Psalm in the Bible, and it may even be the most well-known and beloved passage in all of Scripture. Asaph sees their worst case scenario: they lose all their wealth and fall into ruin, and all that in but a moment (Psalm 73:18-19). (Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)“Whom have I in Heaven but You? It is not about what we profess. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. Sarah Walton Jun 1, 2017 3.8K Shares Sermon. We could endlessly speculate regarding the nature of the Nephilim and what made them the “mighty men of renown,” but to no avail, for we know nothing else about them from Scripture beyond what has been described above. PSALM 73 This psalm, and the ten that next follow it, carry the name of Asaph in the titles of them. A true desire after God is sincere.We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. Jesus pronounced many commands people prove more than willing and able to circumscribe in ways which did not enter His mind or imagination. I encourage you to do this. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. But as for me, it is good to be near God. For YHWH to be my shepherd, however, I must be His sheep (Psalm 23:1). When Jesus asked this Israelite what he thought of the answer based on the Law, his response was of great value, one with which Sheila Butler would no doubt agree: you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:26; cf. When the contemporary world could not sustain the contradictions and difficulties of living by a mythic standard (which the ancient “heroes” themselves no doubt failed to embody! A true desire after God is sincere. The wicked do not have true wealth; what they have causes them great fear and apprehension. And through that same Cross, we bring a message of hope to the world, and work for a world that is more just. Yet no explanation is really given. This is his struggle. He now desires something different, even though his circumstances haven’t changed. Seek God for insight and help with your questions of faith. A good Christian family, broken down on the side of the road, is assaulted by a motorcycle gang and left for dead. Yet for Asaph the question does have an answer; it is a real and present one, but it only could be discerned in the presence of God. If he was the penman of them (as many think), we rightly call them psalms of Asaph. This psalm is ascribed to Asaph. BOOK III Psalms 73–89 Psalm 73 - A psalm of Asaph. If he had accused God of injustice, he would have spoken what was wrong and led others to stumble. The Genesis author does not deny the existence of these men in the past who are hailed as “heroes” and “men of renown.” Instead, he contextualizes their situation: they did mighty things because of their origins. The Psalms begin with a wisdom psalm affirming the way things should be: the righteous prosper while the wicked fade away in transience (Psalm 1). 3For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. John Piper Dec 4, 1988 3K Shares Message. For he that sings praise, not only praises, but only praises with gladness: he that sings praise, not only sings, but also loves him of whom he sings. Being a faithful parent is a consuming vocation. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. That you want to know God more? May we all trust in God in Christ and follow Him, the Good Shepherd, and obtain the resurrection of life! Follow Desiring God on YouTube John Piper. The things He said and did which have earned Him renown stand in strong contrast against what most “heroes” do in order to gain fame and prominence. “You hold my right hand” speaks to guidance. Jesus immediately perceived the two issues behind the question, and spoke to the real issues in a parable (Luke 10:30-36). Psalm 73:23-28. This verse from Psalm 73 is one of the most beloved of all the psalms. One could make an argument for this based in the Law and its treatment of Israelites versus the nations; it would certainly be taken as the standard practice of the day, since Israelites wanted as little involvement as possible with “Gentiles,” people of the nations; “Gentiles” was seen a pejorative term, equivalent to sinner and unclean (cf. To be honest, I can’t always say that. Everyone seems convinced today is worse than yesterday. 499 | 07.26 | Who Is My Neighbor? May we all prove to be neighbors to our fellow man of any and all nationalities, and seek to embody all of the commands of the Lord Jesus, however counter-cultural and counter-intuitive, so that we may glorify Him and obtain the resurrection of life! Required fields are marked *. In His beauty the desire for other things is dissipated and drained of force and power within the human heart. By the beating of this pulse — we conclude there is life. Yes, these stories all relate to the distant past and prove parallel, flowing from some sort of shared remembrance. Jesus told him to go and do likewise (Luke 10:37). ), Come to Jesus and find rest. 8They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. Examining Psalm 73:25-26, he notes how the Psalmist turns to worship. Let’s jump right in. He now desires something different, even though his circumstances haven’t changed.). In life we are given reason to question or challenge the goodness of this creation and the things within it; we sometimes may even question if there will be anything beyond this life, any great reckoning, any ultimate goal. The book of Job is all about Job and his friends having to come to grips first with the possibility that a person might suffer illness or indignity but not as a result of sin and then by extension that wicked people prosper despite their evil. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: Thou hast holden my right hand. As a young man he lived as a shepherd, and thoroughly understood that responsibility (cf. Scripture: Psalm 73:21–26. He is saying, “God’s nearness is better than the prosperity of the wicked.” He came to the place where he could say, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (It’s important to note that the solution to his problem was not just an intellectual one – there is an afterlife where justice will be served. God blesses his people, that is, the faithful ones among them, whom he calls the “pure in heart.” But our writer immediately goes on to recount for us his near loss of faith in God and his temptation to give up on walking in God’s ways. 73 Truly God is good to (B)Israel, to those who are (C)pure in heart. Asaph ends with a statement of faith on God’s goodness, which summarizes his insight. 1 Chronicles 25:1 and 2 Chronicles 29:30 add that Asaph was a prophet in his musical compositions.. Why Do Others Get the Good I Deserve? 10Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. Psalm 73:25. David found himself often beset by enemies, and yet YHWH had prospered his way; he praises God for having prepared him a table before his enemies (Psalm 23:5). 19How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Asaph sees that reality is not that simple. Whether Asaph maintains good health or is struck with illness, God holds his right hand. Deceitful Heart Or Pure Heart. Psalm 23:1-6 is immensely comforting, but it can only be so for those who submit to YHWH as His sheep. Learn how your comment data is processed. We do well to remember our place and hold opinions lightly in humility. The life of faith is not just about what happens after death; the life of faith is about trusting in and desiring God. Amos 6:6, Matthew 6:17). Negatively, these words expose your weakness and self-centeredness. He sees it is a wearisome task to consider the question (Psalm 73:16). And Asaph also experiences a change in his heart, from wrong desire, envy toward the wicked to right desire toward God. Leave vengeance to God. The Israelite assumed and acted as if his neighbor were his fellow Israelite. Follow John Piper on Instagram. ( Log Out / That is, others among Israel see this and think, “they must not be so bad!”, 11And they say, “How can God know? Like a parent guiding a small child by the hand. Next he gives a poetic description of the prosperity of the wicked. ... Desiring to know God in these times of turmoil is the saving grace that we all need. That you want to grow in your relationship with God above all else? We are to prove to be neighbors to anyone and everyone: we must give precedence to fellow Christians, yet must do good to all (Galatians 6:10). Then someone came by who was not one of his people: a Samaritan. Even when your children are gone for school or church or to a friend’s house, your mind’s eye pursues them and seeks after them. Why Do Others Get the Good I Deserve? Asaph desires nothing on Earth besides God (Psalm 73:25). This is likely true of Sheila Butler as well. The cork is pulled out at the bottom of his life. The Washington Post published an article entitled “Judgment Days” by Stephanie McCrummen on July 21, 2018. He did not ask who his neighbor was; by common agreement, the priest and Levite were both neighbors by virtue of being fellow Israelites in close geographic proximity. when I saw the (F)prosperity of the wicked. (Desiring to be God’s presence everyday, enjoying and looking forward to times of Bible study, prayer, and worship, excitement in spending time with God and other believers, etc.) I see in this an example for us. Exemplary members of his people, a priest and a Levite, perceive his condition, but not wanting to become unclean they passed him by. It is good to aspire to virtue in character; despite what the modern world may imagine, it is good to be part of a story involving a people in which one finds his or her place. It’s a fundamental change of heart and desires within him. 3 (D)For I was (E)envious of the arrogant. ( Log Out / Roman orators constantly appealed to their countrymen to return to the days of humble civic virtue embodied by Cincinnatus and others. Is it all in vain? One of only a handful of “wisdom psalms,” Psalm 73 is intended to address an ethical dilemma like Julie’s: Why should I keep faith, when unbelievers often seem better off? To what do the wealthy wicked look when they see the future? May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. In terms of these issues at least Sheila Butler maintains a civic religion, an explicitly American faith, presuming America as a Christian nation with Americans as a privileged and chosen people. 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