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3. The Success of Sinners and Suffering of the Saints (Psalm 73)

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1 Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!

2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pains in their death,
And their body is fat.

5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.

7 Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.

8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.

9 They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.

11 They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?”

12 Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;

14 For I have been stricken all day long
And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.

16 When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused,
You will despise their form.

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,

22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

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 will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.

28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works (Psalm 73:1-28, NAU).

Some may think of the psalmists and their words as “long ago and far away,” but it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to see the relevance of Psalm 73 to Christians today, and more specifically to American Christians in times like these. Let’s begin by taking a “bird’s eye” view of the entire Psalm, and then consider the message God has for us in these inspired words. Verse one is Asaph’s affirmation of faith in God’s goodness.  In a sense, it serves as both Asaph’s introduction and as his conclusion. It indicates where Asaph is headed in this psalm,1 and it is where Asaph will end up when all is said and done. From verses 2-14 Asaph confesses his sin (of envying the wicked) by describing how he viewed his circumstances from a merely human point of view. In verses 15-17 we see the point to which his observations led him – the temptation to give up his pursuit of God to live a sinful lifestyle that seemingly led to prosperity – and the turning point that set him straight in his thinking. In verses 18—26 Asaph is now able to view life through different eyes, and thus to articulate a divine perspective on the very things that had once troubled him. This led him to a greater love for God. Verses 27 and 28 summarize the outcome of his transformed thinking regarding living in a fallen world, where the wicked appear to be the winners and the righteous appear to be the losers.

Asaph2 is the psalmist here, and he confesses that at one point in time he was very unhappy with what he saw going on about him in Israel: the wicked appeared to be blessed, while the “righteous” seemed destined for suffering:

3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pains in their death,
And their body is fat.

5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like mankind (Psalm 73:3-5).

Parenthetically, let me say that it is very difficult to see life clearly when seeking to do so through the tear-filled eyes of self-pity. Asaph overstates (all right, he exaggerates) the prosperity and ease of the wicked, and the suffering of the righteous as well. Nevertheless, his words accurately convey the way he once viewed life.

Asaph is right about one thing: from a merely human perspective, the wicked do seem to be succeeding in their sinful pursuits. Worse yet, they are emboldened by their apparent success. They flaunt their opulence, and they are more than willing to resort to violence. Through Asaph’s eyes, they take great pleasure in doing so. Indeed, they are inspired by their “success” to devise even more wicked schemes.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
7 Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot (Psalm 73:6-7).

The success of the wicked makes them arrogant toward their fellow men; they even become arrogant toward God:

8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
9 They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.
11 They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?” (Psalm 73:8-11)

Asaph notes that the wicked seem to have concluded either that God is ignorant of their sin, or (worse yet) that He is indifferent toward it.

Before I become too critical of Asaph here, it would be good to consider some of the reasons for his mental and spiritual torment. Asaph knew that God is righteous, that He hates sin, and that He punishes the wicked. He also believed that God had promised to bless the righteous. This assurance of God’s hatred of sin, judgment of the wicked, and blessing of the righteous is based upon God’s words in the giving of the Law of Moses:

15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20; see also Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28).

In Asaph’s mind, God seemed to be doing just the opposite. God appeared to be blessing the wicked, while at the same time He was punishing the righteous. God’s actions were perceived as inconsistent with His promises.

Looking back on his agony of soul, Asaph admits that his motivation and thinking were sinful:

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:1-3).

Asaph was envious of the wicked. Expressed in different words, Asaph had more affection for the gold (God’s material blessings) than he did for God. As I look at God’s commandments in the Law I see great emphasis on loving God, which motivates one to obey His commands. God is more emphatic about loving Him and thus obeying His commands than He is about the material benefits of obedience. Notice how a love for God should motivate our obedience to God, resulting in blessing, while turning from God (to other gods) leads to disobedience and judgment.

13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. 15 “He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 17 “Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you (Deuteronomy 11:13-17, emphasis mine).

I can understand why the psalmist would be perplexed. Didn’t God promise to bless His people for their obedience to His law, and to punish those who disobeyed? We should remember that Asaph had written these words in Psalm 50:

14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;

15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

16 But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes
And to take My covenant in your mouth?

17 “For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.

18 “When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
And you associate with adulterers.

19 “You let your mouth loose in evil
And your tongue frames deceit.

20 “You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.

21 “These things you have done and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.

22 “Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.

23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:14-23).

Asaph’s earlier words in Psalm 50 certainly seem to promise salvation and blessings to the righteous, and judgment to the wicked. No wonder that Asaph is perplexed by what he sees. It would appear that God is not playing by the rules or, worse yet, that He is unaware or unconcerned by what is going on. Asaph is troubled to the point of considering giving up on persevering in the face of adversity.

If Asaph’s first confession is that of his envy of the material prosperity of the wicked, his second confession is that he began to think of his faith and obedience as a useless waste of energy:

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;

14 For I have been stricken all day long
And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children (Psalm 73:13-15).

This kind of thinking tempted Asaph to cast his faith aside and join the wicked in their evil pursuits (and thus to join them in their prosperity).

A Change in the Psalmist’s Perspective Leads to His Repentance and Restoration

Psalm 73:15-26

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.

16 When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused,
You will despise their form.

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,

22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:1-26).

The turning point in Asaph’s relationship with God was brought about by a change in his perspective. The psalmist says his perspective changed when he “came into the sanctuary of God” (verse 17). I believe Asaph means by these words that he came into the tabernacle3 (the temple was later constructed by Solomon), and doing so changed his perspective.

How can going into the Tabernacle, the sanctuary of God, produce such a dramatic change in Asaph’s perspective? The tabernacle (and later the temple) were symbols that were an earthly picture of heaven. I get this from the writer to the Hebrews:

1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, SEE, He says, THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN” (Hebrews 8:1-5, emphasis mine).

The earthly tabernacle (and temple) were but copies of the heavenly reality. Thus, when Asaph (or anyone else qualified to do so) entered the tabernacle, he was immediately reminded of the heavenly realities not yet seen by man. From this heavenly perspective Asaph now views the temporary “success” of the wicked as just that, a very short-lived period of apparent blessing, to be followed by an eternity of judgment.

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused,
You will despise their form (Psalm 73:17-20).

27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You (Psalm 73:27).

An eternal perspective enables Asaph to see his spiritual condition, his present circumstances, and his future destiny clearly:

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,

22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

4 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory (Psalm 73:21-24).

Asaph’s envy of the wicked and his anger toward God was beastly: His earthly perspective failed to grasp spiritual and eternal realities. It was not God who was in the wrong; it was Asaph. The prosperity of the wicked did not turn them toward God; it turned them from God. Asaph’s suffering drew him closer to God. Not only was he assured of spending eternity in the presence of God; he was assured of God’s presence with him in the midst of his earthly adversities. His present distress made him more aware of the nearness of God.

Asaph’s problem boiled down to a proper definition of “good.” Initially, he thought that “good” meant material prosperity and a trouble-free life. Then, when his perspective changed, so did Asaph’s definition of “good” and “evil”:

27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;

You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.

28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;

I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,

That I may tell of all Your works (Psalm 73:28).

If “nearness to God” is our good, then whatever draws us to Him is good, and whatever draws us away from Him is not good. The prosperity of the wicked lures them away from God. The suffering of the righteous is intended to draw them into closer fellowship with God. When we look at life from a divine and eternal perspective, we can see that.

Application

So, how do Asaph’s spiritual struggles impact us? Let me suggest three vital areas of application.

A Warning to those Outside the Faith

Asaph’s words should serve as a warning to the wicked. By “wicked” I am not referring to a small group of violent and evil folks, but to that broader group of “the wicked” who take pride in their success and who don’t love God or think that they need Him. The wicked would also include those who are religious. Asaph himself came close to being wicked; indeed, he would confess that his thoughts and motives were wicked. He envied the wealth and ease of the wicked. He even considered casting his faith aside to join them, in order to prosper as they did.

When we come to the New Testament we find that many of the Jewish religious leaders were wicked. Take the Pharisees for example:

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God (Luke 16:14-15).4

The assumptions of the Pharisees were very much like those of Asaph when he failed to see things rightly. Of course they loved money because of what it would do for them. But they also loved money because of what they thought their prosperity proved – piety. In their minds, the pious prospered while the wicked suffered. Their wealth proved their piety, to themselves at least. And the poverty of others proved that they were under divine judgment (and thus they need not help the poor, because that would be working against God’s judgment in their lives).

Jesus rocked their world and challenged their thinking when He taught:

20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh (Luke 6:20-21).

But the great shock must have come when Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man died and went to hell, while a poor beggar – Lazarus – died and went to heaven. How could this be?

Even the disciples were influenced by the thinking of the Pharisees. When they came upon a man who was born blind, they assumed that his blindness was God’s punishment for sin, either his sin or that of his parents (John 9:1-3).

I fear that the prosperity, comfort, and peace that most Americans5 have experienced has somehow lulled many into a false sense of security. Either they sense that God is blessing them, indicating that they are O.K. with Him, or they believe that He is uninterested and unconcerned regarding their rejection of Him (Read 2 Peter 3:1-10).

My dear friend, having a comfortable life here and now is no indication that you will be comfortable for all eternity. That is what the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is all about. There is only one way to be comfortable throughout all eternity, and that is through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was truly God and truly man, and that He lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to God. It likewise informs us that while Jesus is without sin, we are not (Read Romans 3:9-20). The solution for our sins is Jesus Christ, who willingly died in the sinner’s place, so that all who acknowledge their sin and place their trust in Jesus may be forgiven of their sins and assured of eternal life in the presence of God (Read John 14:6; Romans 3:21-26; 10:9-11; 1 John 5:10-12). The good news is that even the very wicked who trust in Him will be saved (see Luke 23:39-43; 1 Timothy 1:12-15). Do not be deceived by thinking your current comfort and prosperity assures you of being right with God. Don’t let your prosperity turn you from God.

A Word of Exhortation to Christians

Over the years I have consistently warned of the error of those who preach a “prosperity gospel.” But while I have recognized the dangers of the more extreme forms of this teaching, it has been this study of Psalm 73 which has awakened me to the possibility that many of us (American Christians) have become infected with a strain of this kind of false teaching.

Is it not possible that those of us who are Christians in America have come to view our ease and prosperity as an evidence of God’s favor, and thus as a kind of proof of our piety? Are we really affluent and comfortable because we have been so godly? Do we even realize how affluent we are, compared to others? Are those saints who are suffering in hostile countries suffering because of their sin, or because of their godliness? Have we come to the place where we feel entitled to our prosperity, and worthy of it? Then I would suggest that we have become like Asaph by feeling entitled to peace and prosperity.

I don’t find the saints being assured of peace and prosperity in this life. Rather, I find many indications that the saints will suffer in this ungodly world, while the wicked may seem to prosper.

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me” (John 15:18-21).

21 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21-22).

29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29).

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10).

3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin (Hebrews 12:3-4).

18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls (1 Peter 2:18-25).

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name (1 Peter 4:12-16).

Jesus never proclaimed a path of ease and comfort. He called those who would follow Him to a life of sacrifice and self-denial:

32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MANS ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:32-38).

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” 61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).

Christians need to toughen up. We need to expect men to reject us for their faith, and to be opposed and persecuted, just as Jesus was. We need to get over the false notion that becoming a Christian is the pathway to an easy and comfortable life. And, we need to realize that what is truly good is intimacy with God, not the possession of goods.

15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

We Christians Need to Gird Up the Loins of Our Minds

Asaph’s difficulties were rooted in a false perception of what constitutes “good.” It was not until he entered the sanctuary of God that he came to see things from a divine and eternal perspective. We need to have this same perspective. I believe that is what Peter and other New Testament writers are challenging us to do – to get our minds thinking straight, so that we see things from God’s perspective.

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY” (1 Peter 1:13-16; see Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Philippians 4:17-21; Colossians 3:1-2).

We do not have an earthly tabernacle or temple to go to, in order to transform our thinking, but we have something far better.

  1. We now have Christ dwelling within us, so that we have ongoing personal communion with God (John 14:16-20, 23; 15:4, 11).
  2. We have the Word of God, so that we can renew our minds (John 15:7; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:16).
  3. We are members of our Lord’s church, and thus we have the blessing of fellowship with His Saints (Ephesians 5:17-19; Hebrews 10:19-25).
  4. Our suffering in this life enhances our hunger for heaven (2 Corinthians 4).

Let us take advantage of all these blessings, so that we will view our current lives through the eyes of our Lord.


1 This is not the way I initially read verse one. At first I thought that verse one was the basis for Asaph’s complaint. I thought that the psalmist was asserting God’s “goodness” to Israel as the reason for his complaint: If God is truly “good” to Israel, how can He be prospering the wicked and punishing the righteous? I now see this statement as the outcome of Asaph’s struggles; it is telling us where Asaph is headed in the psalm. Surely God is good to Israel, and specifically to those who are pure in heart. The key to understanding God’s “goodness” is to rightly understand what is “good.” Seeing his circumstances from God’s eternal perspective, Asaph realizes that peace and prosperity are not necessarily good, but the nearness of God (verse 28) is.

2 Asaph was one of David’s musicians, who participated in Israel’s worship (1 Chronicles 15:16-18; 16:4-7). Asaph was one of the musicians who ministered before the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 16:37). He is designated as the human author of Psalms 50, 73-83.

3 See Exodus 25:8; Leviticus 4:6; 21:12; Numbers 3:28ff.

4 Look at Jesus’ indictment of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-36.

5 I say most Americans because even those living on welfare are vastly better off than most of those living in the rest of the world.

Related Topics: Christian Life, Cultural Issues, Suffering, Trials, Persecution

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