Observing that many wicked men prosper in their impiety and that many godly people have to drink deeply of the bitter cup of affliction,
often brings one the temptation to think that, after all, all is left to blind providence.
But the prosperity of the wicked will be found to be short and uncertain and sure to end in destruction arid misery.
The righteous man’s afflictions end in peace and eternal joy.
1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 73:1-15 – Deceptive Prosperity
The opening psalms of this third Book of Psalms are by Asaph; see II Chronicles 29:30. There is none good but God and God is only good. “His every act pure goodness is; His path unsullied light.” Israel, as here intended, is not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. See John 1:47 and Romans 2:28, 29.
We have in these verses a good man’s temptation. In every age God’s people have asked whether God can possibly know all that is taking place on the earth, and if He does know, why He allows evil to prosper. The dark spirit who is ever at our elbow whispers that we should have done as well, and better, if we had not been quite so scrupulous in our business dealings; and we are held back from giving expression to our thoughts only by the fear that we might cause God’s weaker children to stumble. This reticence is, of course, wholly commendable. A Christian man confessed the other day that the irreligion of his children was due to his critical and captious speech. By all means keep these dark and faithless thoughts locked in your own breast; you have no right to scatter thistle-down. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 73:1—Truly God is good, to such as are of a clean heart.
God is only good. He makes “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). However unlike goodness something in your lot may be, turn from the suggestions of sense to the affirmations of faith, and dare to say,
“His every act pure blessing is,
His path unsullied light.”
Nothing so glorifies God as when a Cowper, rescued from the border of despair, snatched from committing suicide, dares still to cling to his belief in the goodness of God.
Our faith is sometimes assailed, as Asaph’s was, by the anomalies we meet with in the world. The wicked prosper, the waters of a full cup are wrung out to the people of God. The scribes and Pharisees greedily devour widows’ houses, and prey on the helpless; earnest merit seeks for work and recognition in vain. It is a strange world, full of contradictions, perplexities, and insoluble questions; but through it all God’s children must dare to affirm that He is only good. You do not feel it? Nevertheless, reason, Scripture, experience, demand that you should assert it. The fact is, we have lost the standpoint of vision. The psalmist found these things too painful till he went into the sanctuary of God, and then he understood. Do not take earth as the centre of the universe, but the sun. Do not look at God from circumstances, but at circumstances from God. Live continually with Him: then will mystery become unraveled, and dark problems solved. Above all, be pure in heart, free from the stain of sense, with one purpose. Thou shalt see the soul of good in what seems evil. —Our Daily Homily
Psalm 73:16-28 – “Their Latter End” (Deuteronomy 32:29)
The true place in which to form a right estimate of life is where Asaph found it—in the sanctuary of God; because from its elevation and the purity of its atmosphere, one can take into view the unseen as well as the seen, the eternal as well as the transient. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we may dwell upon our losses with disappointment and regret, I Corinthians 15:19. But if the future is taken into consideration, what Lazarus would exchange his lot with Dives? Luke 16:19-31. When once the soul crosses the frontier between this life and the next, it finds that the current-coin on this side is valueless on that.
One day as Asaph, more bowed down than usual, entered the sanctuary, deliverance came. Whether it was when the sacrifice was being offered, or when the holy psalm was being sung, the clouds suddenly broke and the burden rolled away. He saw that God did not reward goodness with things, but with Himself, and he turned to Him with adoring love. Even in the present life the righteous may count on the constant presence of God. His hand holds them; His counsel guides. He is our strength and our portion; and when we change worlds, we shall only enter more fully and absolutely on our inheritance.
Why should the soul a drop bemoan.
That has an ocean near? —Through the Bible Day by Day