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Psalm Seventy Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

A Psalm of Asaph.

Asaph. Psalm 73 is the first of eleven psalms (Psalms 73-83) written by Asaph, an important musician in the temple during the times of David and Solomon. One other psalm attributed to Asaph is Psalm 50. Asaph was not only one of the chief musicians, but was recognized also as a prophet (2 Chronicles 5:12; 29:30), probably because of his twelve inspired psalms.

Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

Psalm 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

Psalm 73:5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Psalm 73:6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Psalm 73:7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

Psalm 73:8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

Psalm 73:9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

Psalm 73:10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

Psalm 73:11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

Psalm 73:12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

Psalm 73:13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

Psalm 73:14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

Psalm 73:15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

Psalm 73:16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

too painful for me. One of the great theological problems is the apparent prosperity of the ungodly, along with the suffering of the righteous. There is surely no solution to this problem in atheism or pantheism.

Psalm 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

sanctuary of God. The solution to such problems is found only in the presence of a God who is both righteous and merciful, both holy yet forgiving, and on the basis of His redemptive work on the cross. The solution is not in this present world but in the resurrection and the world to come, where hell awaits the ungodly, and heaven awaits those whom God has redeemed through faith in Christ.

Psalm 73:18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

Psalm 73:19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

Psalm 73:20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

when thou awakest. God, of course, does not sleep (Psalm 121:4). The language is metaphorical, meaning “decide to act.”

despise their image. The word used here for “image” (Hebrew tselem) is used elsewhere in Genesis 5:3 and 9:6 (speaking of the image of God in man and the image of a father in his son) and, more often, in connection with idolatrous images constructed by man to worship. The wicked have made an “image” of themselves, in effect espousing their own god-likeness, and this will be despised by the God who is truly God.

Psalm 73:21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.

Psalm 73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Psalm 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.

Psalm 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Psalm 73:27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.

Psalm 73:28 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.