Today, Friday July 07
“Truly God is Good…”
A Psalm of Asaph.
“Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Psalm 73 is the first chapter of Book Three of Psalms. We will notice that these Psalms deal mostly with the sanctuary and worship there. From the title we know that someone named Asaph wrote this Psalm. He wrote a total of 12 Psalms. He wrote Psalm 50 in Book Two and the first eleven Psalms in Book Three (Psalms 73-83).
Asaph was a Levite of the family of Gershom and one of the three chief musicians appointed by David to preside over the choral services of the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 16:5). He was selected by the Levites to lead the music when David brought the ark up to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:16-19). His fellow musicians (Heman and Jeduthun) presided over the services elsewhere in the country, but Asaph was chosen to lead the choirs at the new site for the ark in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16). His sons were entrusted with the leadership of the twenty-four courses of musicians (1 Chronicles 25:11-31), and they took part in the dedication of Solomon's temple.
Asaph's name has gone down in sacred history as an honored seer as well as a gifted singer (2 Chronicles 29:30; 35:15; 1 Chronicles 25:5). The "sons of Asaph" formed a kind of a sacred musical guild in Israel. They took part in Hezekiah's revival (2 Chronicles 29:13), in Josiah's revival (2 Chronicles 35:15), and in Zerubbabel's revival when one hundred twenty-eight of them are listed among those who returned with him from captivity (Ezra 2:41). They led the service of praise and thanksgiving when the foundation of the new temple was laid (Ezra 3:10).
We see that Asaph was a spiritually minded man, gifted in praise and prophecy, whose impact upon his own family lasted down through the centuries. The Psalms which bear his name partake of his character. They are, for the most part, national in character, devoted to intercession and thanksgiving, but also laced with warning and instruction, and known for their prophetic character.
In Psalm 73 the psalmist returns to the problem which vexed David in Psalm 37, and which puzzled the anonymous author of Psalm 49. It is the agelong problem of the seeming prosperity of the wicked and the equally vexing and parallel problem of the suffering of the godly. The problem is taken up in each of the first three books of Psalms. Here it is finally resolved.
In Psalm 37 the emphasis can be summed up in the word wait. God says, "Have patience and faith. The triumph of the wicked will be short-lived." In Psalm 49 the emphasis is on the word watch. God says, "Money is powerless to save, and the advantages it secures are fleeting." In Psalm 73 the emphasis is on the word worship. It is better to have your hand in the hand of God than to have it in the pocket of some rich sinner.
In Psalm 73:1, Asaph affirmed "God is," so he was not an atheist or an agnostic, and he was certain that the God he worshiped was good. Furthermore, he knew that the Lord had made a covenant with Israel that promised blessings if the people obeyed Him (Lev. 26; Deut. 28-30). The phrase "pure in heart" does not mean sinlessness, but a total commitment to the Lord. Hebrew 11:6 tells us that “Faith is believing that God is…”.
But it was these foundational beliefs he stated that created the problem for him, because unbelievers don't face problems of this sort. If the Lord was good and kept His covenant promises, why were His people suffering and the godless prospering? If we are going to deal with this question, we should always come back to this truth! “God is”, and that “God is good!” Despite what we see around us, and the lies the devil whispers in our ears, we stand on solid ground when we by faith believe that God is good, and He proved it when He sent His only Son to die in our place for our sins!
When pondering the mysteries of life, hold on to what you know for sure, and never doubt in the darkness what God has taught you in the light.