The storm got us a little behind on our daily Psalms. Praying that you all are doing ok.
Just a quick note about where we are on our journey through the Psalms. Scholars
divide the Psalms into five “books,” and Psalm 73 begins the third book. (Psalm 72
concludes with a doxology, and the final verse of Psalm 72 is this editorial note: “The
prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.”)
Psalm 73 is about the justice of God and the persistent question of how God can be good when the wicked are prosperous and the upright suffer.
Commentator James L. Mays notes that Psalm 73 begins with bitterness and
estrangement (vv. 2-3), and transitions to pure devotion to God. J. Clinton McCann says
this: “The psalmist almost lost faith, because he or she thought that good behavior
should be materially rewarded; but it was not (vv. 13-14). What the psalmist came to
realize is that true goodness, happiness, and peace consist of a different kind of
reward—the experience of God’s presence (vv. 23-28).”
Nicholas Wolterstorff wrestles with all of this in Lament for a Son:
How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You
have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become
humanity's song--all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds
of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain
yourself. We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.
Psalm 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
1 Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pain; their bodies are sound and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not plagued like other people.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out with fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues range over the earth.
10 Therefore the people turn and praise them, and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Such are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,” I would have been untrue to the circle of
16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes; on awaking you despise their phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion
27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of
all your works.