Outline of Psalm 73:
v. 1-3 – Asaph summarizes what the entire psalm is about.
v. 4-14 – Asaph tells of his thoughts when he envied the world and questioned God’s justice.
v. 15-22 – Asaph tells of the truths and process by which God brought him to his senses.
v. 23-28 – Asaph testifies to the superiority of God’s presence and guidance to the temporal pleasures that once led his heart to question God.
Modern Question in Light of Psalm 73:
Have you ever questioned the fairness of God as you considered the person who comes to faith on their deathbed after living their life exactly as they wanted their entire life? Did you feel cheated as you recounted the things you have sacrificed and the conviction you received for having done the same things; yet they get to experience the same heaven? These question parallel Psalm 73.
The problem with the questions above is that they assume the “good life” is based upon temporal freedom and liberty of conscience. The discontentment is rooted in the lie of Genesis 3 – God is holding out on us and we could do a better job of defining good and evil for ourselves. Too often we view conviction and restriction as a bad thing.
Consider your initial response to the questions above. How much do they parallel Psalm 73:4-14? Read Psalm 73:15-28 and ask God to shape your heart in the same way that He shaped the heart of Asaph.
When I Tried to Understand… It was Oppressive to Me
The big battle of Psalm 73 is trusting God when the world seemingly does not play by God’s system of blessing and curses. As we see in Asaph the twin temptations during these times are envy towards the world (v. 3) and bitterness towards God (v. 21).
As Asaph wrestled with this question it overwhelmed him (v. 16) and has many others since Asaph. As we wrestle with similar questions in our day, it is important that we ask ourselves good questions so that our answers point us to greater trust in God. Read through the list of question below twice. First, answer the questions from your common experience. Second, answer the questions with the insight you glean from Psalm 73.
- Where do you see the “bad guys” winning and the “good guys” losing?
- How does this make you question the fairness, power, or presence of God?
- Where does this disparity tangibly touch your life?
- What is the “good thing(s)” that the bad guys get and you are withheld?
- What emotions do you feel stemming from this disparity?
- How do you act in light of the emotions you feel?
- Who is affected by these actions?
- What values may be exaggerated or distorted by your (possible) fixation on this good thing?
- How would changing these values also change your emotions?
- What actions would change as your values and emotions changed?
- Who would be blessed as a result of these changes?
- How have you come to understand and trust God more in light of these reflections
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.