Meditation and Prayer – Psalm 73


Psalm 73

(WARNING, this one might pinch a little bit!)

Book 3: Psalms 73-89

There are 17 Psalms in this section. While Asaph appears to have written most of them, David wrote Psalm 86, Heman the Ezraite wrote Psalm 88, and Ethan the Ezraite wrote the 89th.

The divine title used by the psalmist is mainly El or Elohim (God).

This section relates to Leviticus due in part to the fact that most of the Psalms were written by Levitical priests. These were written to be sung by the temple choirs (liturgical songs). These Psalms remind us that God alone is holy and that we should remember our place before Him. When we come into God’s presence (i.e. the temple) we should have reverential fear.

The introduction to this book announces, “Truly God is good to Israel” (73:1). God has been just in all of His dealings with the nation of Israel despite the sufferings that the people often went through. The doxology also has the double Amen, and speaks of the fact that God has kept His covenant with David, therefore He should be worshipped and praised (89).

Scripture

Mouse over to read the text right here, click to go to the source page.

NIV Version,  Message VersionEnglish Standard VersionKing James Version

Amplified Version

BOOK THREE
A Psalm of Asaph.

1TRULY GOD is [only] good to Israel, even to those who are upright and pure in heart.2But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped.

3For I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4For they suffer no violent pangs in their death, but their strength is firm.

5They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they smitten and plagued like other men.

6Therefore pride is about their necks like a chain; violence covers them like a garment [like a long, luxurious robe].

7Their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart could wish; and the imaginations of their minds overflow [with follies].

8They scoff, and wickedly utter oppression; they speak loftily [from on high, maliciously and blasphemously].

9They set their mouths against and speak down from heaven, and their tongues swagger through the earth [invading even heaven with blasphemy and smearing earth with slanders].(A)

10Therefore His people return here, and waters of a full cup [offered by the wicked] are [blindly] drained by them.

11And they say, How does God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?

12Behold, these are the ungodly, who always prosper and are at ease in the world; they increase in riches.

13Surely then in vain have I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocency.

14For all the day long have I been smitten and plagued, and chastened every morning.

15Had I spoken thus [and given expression to my feelings], I would have been untrue and have dealt treacherously against the generation of Your children.

16But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful

17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood [for I considered] their end.

18[After all] You do set the [wicked] in slippery places; You cast them down to ruin and destruction.

19How they become a desolation in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors!

20As a dream [which seems real] until one awakens, so, O Lord, when You arouse Yourself [to take note of the wicked], You will despise their outward show.

21For my heart was grieved, embittered, and in a state of ferment, and I was pricked in my heart [as with the sharp fang of an adder].

22So foolish, stupid, and brutish was I, and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.

23Nevertheless I am continually with You; You do hold my right hand.

24You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to honor and glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.

26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.

27For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You will destroy all who are false to You and like [spiritual] harlots depart from You.

28But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

Related Scriptures:

There are a lot of related scriptures, take a look at some here (scroll to the bottom).

* NOTE: Other views expressed by those whose materials has been referenced here, do not necessarily reflect this author’s personal views.

Further Study

BUT GOD (Encouraging Word)

“Is He Enough?”, by Joshua Harris (click the play button at the top to listen to the sermon)

When Life Seems Unfair by Joe Stowell

Study in Hebrew – As for me, the nearness of God is good to me; I have made my refuge in the Lord YHWH, to declare Your works. Psalm 73:28  Covering The Bases (God, Lord YHWH); The Whole Package (Good);   Asaph and Sarah (nearness – also see The Second Idolatry)

Multi Media

Psalm 73 Sermon Video – Psalm – Terse of Psalm 73

Psalms 73 Whom Have I in Heaven But You – Psalm 73:23-26 put to song w/video

Barlow Girl talk about their song, “My God’s Enough” based on Psalm 73 and how God is enough for everything in this world. “Is He Enough?”, by Joshua Harris (click the play button at the top to listen to the sermon)

Commentaries

David Guzik

Matthew Henry

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown

My Reflections

My first thought was we could probably use a reading of this Psalm at least twice a week if not twice a day. Tell me that at sometime during any given week, you aren’t envious of someone else. No? You never see a car drive by that you think, “Why can’t I have one of those?” Still no? You never see someone buying something that you just don’t have enough money to buy and you think, “How can THEY afford that?” Yet again, no? How about your boss, ever think why he/she gets to be the boss and not you? Oh I’m sure if you really give it a little more than a passing thought, you’d come up with something.

Then a line struck me – Psalm 73:16 where it says “When I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me.” (NIV) WOW! Yeah – I’ve been there, more times than I’d really like admit. And I think it’s just a short step from oppression to depression – which is prevalent in the world today. And then comes Psalm 73:17: “till …” Don’t just step over that little tiny word – it means UNTIL. So UNTIL you do what is next, you will stay in what came before. Oppression UNTIL … “I entered the sanctuary of God; then …” Stop, take that in. Oppressive to me UNTIL God THEN … then what? THEN “I understood their final destiny.” (NIV) So we will stay oppressed until we enter the sanctuary of God and THEN we will see things much more clearly. Read it in the message version:

Still, when I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture:

Another observation I made in this Psalm was the relation of an earlier verse to a later verse. Let’s look at them side by side:

“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.” (emphasize added) (Psalm 73:2-3 NIV)

“Surely you place them on a slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.” (emphasize added) (Psalm 73:18)

Interesting … makes me think that whomever you have your eye on, whomever you’re watching and thinking about … you might just slip right with them! WOW! Look at the last verse:

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. …”

Make a choice, watch and follow all those around you and go where they lead … or … stay close to God and go where He leads. Seems like a no brainer right? Then why don’t we do it?

Prayer

Father, I just want to say thank you for having my right hand. Thank you for holding on tight in those times when my head get’s turned and my eyes are on something else and I start to slip. Father, thank you for pulling me up before I fall. Thank you for being so near to me. Father, forgive me for those times that I have not been satisfied with what I have or have envied someone else and what they have or where they are or the life that I perceive that they have. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” What more do I need, what more do I want, what more is there. To You be all the glory! Amen!

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