Psalms 73

BOOK 3

1

The End of the Wicked Contrasted with That of the Righteous.

1 Surely God is 1 good to Israel, To those who are 2 pure in heart!
2 But as for me, 3my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was 4envious of the arrogant As I saw the 5prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat.
5 They are 6not in trouble as other men, Nor are they 7plagued like mankind.
6 Therefore pride is 8their necklace; The 9garment of violence covers them.
7 Their eye bulges from 10fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot.
8 They 11mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They 12speak from on high.
9 They have 13set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue parades through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return to this place, And waters of 14abundance are drunk by them.
11 They say, "15How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?"
12 Behold, 16these are the wicked; And always 17at ease, they have increased in wealth.
13 Surely 18in vain I have kept my heart pure And 19washed my hands in innocence;
14 For I have been stricken 20all day long And 21chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have betrayed the 22generation of Your children.
16 When I 23pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight
17 Until I came into the 24sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their 25end.
18 Surely You set them in 26slippery places; You cast them down to 27destruction.
19 How they are 28destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by 29sudden terrors!
20 Like a 30dream when one awakes, O Lord, when 31aroused, You will 32despise their form.
21 When my 33heart was embittered And I was 34pierced within,
22 Then I was 35senseless and ignorant *; I was like a 36beast before You.
23 Nevertheless 37I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will 38guide me, And afterward 39receive me to glory.
25 40Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My 41flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my 42portion forever.
27 For, behold, 43those who are far from You will 44perish; You have destroyed all those who 45are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, 46the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my 47refuge, That I may 48tell of all Your works.

Images for Psalms 73

Psalms 73 Commentary

Chapter 73

The psalmist's temptation. (1-14) How he gained a victory over it. (15-20) How he profited by it. (21-28)

Verses 1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.

Verses 15-20 The psalmist having shown the progress of his temptation, shows how faith and grace prevailed. He kept up respect for God's people, and with that he restrained himself from speaking what he had thought amiss. It is a sign that we repent of the evil thoughts of the heart, if we suppress them. Nothing gives more offence to God's children, than to say it is vain to serve God; for there is nothing more contrary to their universal experience. He prayed to God to make this matter plain to him; and he understood the wretched end of wicked people; even in the height of their prosperity they were but ripening for ruin. The sanctuary must be the resort of a tempted soul. The righteous man's afflictions end in peace, therefore he is happy; the wicked man's enjoyments end in destruction, therefore he is miserable. The prosperity of the wicked is short and uncertain, slippery places. See what their prosperity is; it is but a vain show, it is only a corrupt imagination, not substance, but a mere shadow; it is as a dream, which may please us a little while we are slumbering, yet even then it disturbs our repose.

Verses 21-28 God would not suffer his people to be tempted, if his grace were not sufficient, not only to save them from harm, but to make them gainers by it. This temptation, the working of envy and discontent, is very painful. In reflecting upon it, the psalmist owns it was his folly and ignorance thus to vex himself. If good men, at any time, through the surprise and strength of temptation, think, or speak, or act amiss, they will reflect upon it with sorrow and shame. We must ascribe our safety in temptation, and our victory, not to our own wisdom, but to the gracious presence of God with us, and Christ's intercession for us. All who commit themselves to God, shall be guided with the counsel both of his word and of his Spirit, the best counsellors here, and shall be received to his glory in another world; the believing hopes and prospects of which will reconcile us to all dark providences. And the psalmist was hereby quickened to cleave the closer to God. Heaven itself could not make us happy without the presence and love of our God. The world and all its glory vanishes. The body will fail by sickness, age, and death; when the flesh fails, the conduct, courage, and comfort fail. But Christ Jesus, our Lord, offers to be all in all to every poor sinner, who renounces all other portions and confidences. By sin we are all far from God. And a profession Christ, if we go on in sin, will increase our condemnation. May we draw near, and keep near, to our God, by faith and prayer, and find it good to do so. Those that with an upright heart put their trust in God, shall never want matter for thanksgiving to him. Blessed Lord, who hast so graciously promised to become our portion in the next world, prevent us from choosing any other in this.

Cross References 48

  • 1. Psalms 86:5
  • 2. Psalms 24:4; Psalms 51:10; Matthew 5:8
  • 3. Psalms 94:18
  • 4. Psalms 37:1; Proverbs 23:17
  • 5. Job 21:7; Psalms 37:7; Jeremiah 12:1
  • 6. Job 21:9; Psalms 73:12
  • 7. Psalms 73:14
  • 8. Genesis 41:42; Proverbs 1:9
  • 9. Psalms 109:18
  • 10. Job 15:27; Psalms 17:10; Jeremiah 5:28
  • 11. Psalms 1:1
  • 12. Psalms 17:10; 2 Peter 2:18; Jude 16
  • 13. Revelation 13:6
  • 14. Psalms 23:5
  • 15. Job 22:13
  • 16. Psalms 49:6; Psalms 52:7
  • 17. Jeremiah 49:31; Ezekiel 23:42
  • 18. Job 21:15; Job 34:9; Job 35:3
  • 19. Psalms 26:6
  • 20. Psalms 38:6
  • 21. Job 33:19; Psalms 118:18
  • 22. Psalms 14:5
  • 23. Ecclesiastes 8:17
  • 24. Psalms 27:4; Psalms 77:13
  • 25. Psalms 37:38
  • 26. Psalms 35:6
  • 27. Psalms 35:8; Psalms 36:12
  • 28. Numbers 16:21; Isaiah 47:11
  • 29. Job 18:11
  • 30. Job 20:8
  • 31. Psalms 78:65
  • 32. 1 Samuel 2:30
  • 33. Judges 10:16
  • 34. Acts 2:37
  • 35. Psalms 49:10; Psalms 92:6
  • 36. Job 18:3; Psalms 49:20; Ecclesiastes 3:18
  • 37. Psalms 16:8
  • 38. Psalms 32:8; Psalms 48:14; Isaiah 58:11
  • 39. Genesis 5:24; Psalms 49:15
  • 40. Psalms 16:2; Philippians 3:8
  • 41. Psalms 38:10; Psalms 40:12; Psalms 84:2; Psalms 119:81
  • 42. Psalms 16:5
  • 43. Psalms 119:155
  • 44. Psalms 37:20
  • 45. Exodus 34:15; Numbers 15:39; Psalms 106:39; Hosea 4:12; Hosea 9:1
  • 46. Psalms 65:4; Hebrews 10:22; James 4:8
  • 47. Psalms 14:6; Psalms 71:7
  • 48. Psalms 40:5; Psalms 107:22; Psalms 118:17

Footnotes 30

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 73

\\<>\\. It seems by the title that Asaph was the penman of this psalm, as it is certain that he was a composer of psalms and hymns; see 2Ch 29:30, though it may be rendered, "a psalm for Asaph", or "unto Asaph" {a}; and might have David for its author, as some think, who, having penned it, sent it to Asaph, to be made use of by him in public service; see 1Ch 16:7, and so the Targum paraphrases it, ``a song by the hands of Asaph;'' the occasion of it was a temptation the psalmist fell into, through the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, to think there was nothing in religion, that it was a vain and useless thing; under which he continued until he went into the house of God, and was taught better; when he acknowledged his stupidity and folly, and penned this psalm, to prevent others falling into the same snare, and to set forth the goodness of God to his people, with which it begins.

Psalms 73 Commentaries