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Psalms 73–89


FRAMEWORKS: Psa 73: Recovery from the temptation of Envy 


A psalm of Asaph.


[Preliminary Comments: There is here a remarkable honesty. Envy nearly became Asaph's downfall [v.2,3]. He saw the wicked who seemed to prosper [v.4,5] whose pride led them into wrong doing [v.6,7] and their arrogant & boastful words [v.8,9] leading others astray [v.10-12]. He looked at himself who, though seeking to remain righteous found himself appearing to get punished by afflictions [v.13-15] and this left him feeling confused until he turned to God [v.16,17], and then he saw it, the wicked are on a path of self-destruction [v.18-20]. He realised he had been foolish [v.21,22] but despite this he was still sure the Lord held and kept and counselled and guided him [v.23,24], and the reality was that God alone was his strength and support [v.25,26]. His end conclusion is clear – the wicked will perish but he will continue to make the Lord his refuge. [v.27,28]. A psalm of ‘there and back' – almost being led away into folly and misery by envy but holding on and getting back to a good place by remembering the truth – God was for him and was his refuge while the wicked will be left to destroy themselves.]



v.1 A general statement of principle God is good


v.1  Surely God is good to Israel,
     to those who are pure in heart.


v.2,3 Asaph nearly fell to envy


v.2  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
     I had nearly lost my foothold.
v.3  For I envied the arrogant
     when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.


v.4,5 The prosperous wicked appear secure


v.4  They have no struggles;
     their bodies are healthy and strong.
v.5  They are free from common human burdens;
     they are not plagued by human ills.

v.6,7 Yet their pride leads them on to unlimited iniquity


v.6  Therefore pride is their necklace;
     they clothe themselves with violence.
v.7  From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
     their evil imaginations have no limits.

v.8,9 Their arrogant & boastful words exalt them


v.8  They scoff and speak with malice;
     with arrogance they threaten oppression.
v.9  Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
     and their tongues take possession of the earth.

v.10-12 They attract others by their godless words


v.10  Therefore their people turn to them
     and drink up waters in abundance.
v.11  They say, “How would God know?
     Does the Most High know anything?”

v.12  This is what the wicked are like—
     always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.


v.13-15 Although innocent I seem to get punished and wonder why


v.13  Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
     and have washed my hands in innocence.
v.14  All day long I have been afflicted,
     and every morning brings new punishments.

v.15  If I had spoken out like that,
     I would have betrayed your children.


v.16,17 All this confused me until to sought God and got answers

v.16  When I tried to understand all this,
     it troubled me deeply
v.17  till I entered the sanctuary of God;
     then I understood their final destiny.


v.18-20 I saw they were on a path to destruction, not worth remembering


v.18  Surely you place them on slippery ground;
     you cast them down to ruin.
v.19  How suddenly are they destroyed,
     completely swept away by terrors!
v.20  They are like a dream when one awakes;
     when you arise, Lord,
     you will despise them as fantasies.


v.21,22 I let myself get upset over it, foolishly


v.21  When my heart was grieved
     and my spirit embittered,
v.22  I was senseless and ignorant;
     I was a brute beast before you.


v.23,24 Yet the truth is that God holds me and counsels me & has eternity for me


v.23  Yet I am always with you;
     you hold me by my right hand.
v.24  You guide me with your counsel,
     and afterward you will take me into glory.


v.25,26 It is God alone who is for me and is my strength


v.25  Whom have I in heaven but you?
     And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
v.26  My flesh and my heart may fail,
     but God is the strength of my heart
     and my portion forever.


v.27,28 The godless will perish, but I make God my refuge


v.27  Those who are far from you will perish;
     you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
v.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.



[Additional Comments: It is good to realize our vulnerabilities, the fact that temptations come and need resisting by seeing the truth, the reality, that the godless and the wicked may seem to prosper while we suffer setbacks, but they will bring destruction upon themselves while the Lord continues to be our refuge and source of guidance.]



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