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Psalms Book 3 – The Dark Book
Psalm 73 (ESV)
God Is My Strength and Portion Forever
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that 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 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 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.
- In this psalm, Asaph related his inner struggle when he compared his life, as one committed to Jehovah God, with the lives of his acquaintances who did not put God first. He confessed discouragement. On further reflection he realized the sinfulness of his carnal longings. Finally, he explained that the contrast between these two lifestyles enabled him to keep a proper view of life in perspective.
- Envious of the arrogant is something we can all understand. If the wicked prospers and God’s people suffer, this begs the question, “What good is faith, anyway[?]” “All in vain have I kept my heart clean” (v13).
- The key and turning verse is verse 17. He was carrying his anger, discouragement, bitterness, and puzzlement “until I went into the sanctuary of God.” What exactly takes place in the sanctuary? Asaph had a changed perspective. He realized the troubles he experienced were gifts from God, and that the easy life granted the wicked was actually “slippery places”.
- Have you ever felt as Asaph did in this psalm? Read the whole psalm as your own conversation with God. Spend some time in the “sanctuary” (v17) and converse with God with verses 21-26. Tell God what comes up in your mind and heart. Listen to what God wants to say to you.
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.
Whom Have I in Heaven But You – www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN91ZTTG8Ig