From Protest to Praise - Psalm 73 (Part 2)

Protest – The Testing of Faith (Ps 73:1-15)

Faith Affirmed (vs1)
The faith of the saints has always been rooted in the firm conviction of God’s existence and the assurance that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). In one sense, verse 1 is the conclusion of the matter. Asaph believed that God existed, that He was good, and that He was sovereign. In another sense, however, this verse was the basis of the psalmist’s problem. If God exists, and He is good so as to reward the righteous, and He is all?powerful, totally in control of His creation, then why is it that in God’s world the wicked seem to be doing better than the righteous? How can God be good to the pure in heart if observation convinces us that sinners succeed and saints suffer?

Two Problems (vs 2-3)
The first problem (vs 2 and 3a) is his personal spiritual turmoil. Asaph’s confession is crucial because it is intended to qualify his description of the wicked which follows. Everything the psalmist saw, and over which he agonized, was tainted by his own sinful attitude of envy. Asaph was consumed with greed, not grief. Asaph was not distressed so much by the sin of the successful as he was by the success of the sinful. We can easily deceive ourselves by becoming distraught over the wrong things. This is why we are instructed, “Do not fret because of evil men. Or be envious of those who do wrong” (Ps. 37:1).

The second problem which troubled Asaph was the “prosperity” of the wicked (v. 3b). It is important to understand the word “prosperity” used here. It is the Hebrew word “shalom”. The root meaning of shalom was “completion” or “fulfillment.” It implied wholeness and harmony, and to the Israelite, shalom summarized in one word the benefits or blessings that were promised in God’s covenant with Israel. As seen from the perspective of the Old Testament saint, we can understand why Asaph would have been perplexed by the prosperity of the wicked. From his point of view the covenant blessings of God were being poured out on the wicked. As he saw it, sinners were being blessed and saints cursed. It was as though God had turned His covenant upside-down.

Will continue with this next week...

Love in the Truth