psalm 73 desiring god

Psalm 73 is packed with good teaching, and that on several topics, including the question – “How can God allows the wicked to prosper?”. Moreover, Psalm 73:28 also repeats the important theme of God’s nearness (Ps 34:18) and the key refuge metaphor (Ps 34:8, 22). Asaph desires nothing on Earth besides God (Psalm 73:25). Yet no explanation is really given. He’s saying, “maybe it doesn’t matter how you live!” Here he has kept himself clean; he has walked in God’s ways, and unlike the wicked, he has been stricken and rebuked; he has suffered hard times. Follow John Piper on Twitter. The whole question presumes that material wealth is true wealth and material lack is true poverty, health is true wealth and illness is true poverty, or favor is true wealth and adversity is true poverty. The prophetic retelling of Israel’s story is a warning for future generations to avoid the idolatry and rebellion which led to judgment and exile. We all have doubts and questions at times. Everyone seems convinced today is worse than yesterday. Give without expecting to receive in return. But how is that the wicked live such good lives? Ancient Israelites were well-acquainted with these stories from these other cultures. (Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)“Whom have I in Heaven but You? Follow Desiring God on YouTube John Piper. Follow Desiring God on YouTube John Piper. | Luke 10:29. 13All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. He was ignorant. That you want to know God more? Scripture: Psalm 73:12–28. Psalm 73 talks about your relationship with Christ. We do well to consider deeply Asaph’s cry. —Psalm 73… Much has been made of the parallels between Genesis and Mesopotamian narratives such as Enuma Elish and The Epic of Gilgamesh, generally attempting to diminish what is written in Genesis as a second-rate adaptation of these older stories. We humans easily fall prey to the pride of life, presuming a level of independence in understanding. Change ). Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Spiritual Manna is a weekly devotional published by Ethan Longhenry to encourage you in your spiritual life. God had anointed David’s head with oil and his cup overflowed: while David was anointed by Samuel at YHWH’s behest to be made king in 1 Samuel 16:13, both images here refer more to abundant prosperity from God’s hands (“anointed” is literally “to make fat” in the Hebrew; cf. Is it all in vain? Yes, there were men of renown; yet many of them may not have come from a good place, and even the most exemplary manifested tragic flaws. He now desires something different, even though his circumstances haven’t changed.). 10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. Love everyone. The only unalloyed hero in history is Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God, the embodiment of the Godhead (Colossians 1:15, 2:9). 7Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. We might wonder what Jesus would say to Sheila Butler about her beliefs about His words. Why Do Others Get the Good I Deserve? Whether Asaph has material wealth or prosperity, God is with him. Yes, God demands holiness from those who would draw near to Him; many times those closest to Him have suffered the greatest deprivations and trials, both to test their faith as well as to suffer on behalf of the Name and for others (Hebrews 11:1-40, 1 Peter 2:18-25). 1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. He sees it is a wearisome task to consider the question (Psalm 73:16). Jesus told him to go and do likewise (Luke 10:37). To what do the wealthy wicked look when they see the future? 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. In terms of these issues at least Sheila Butler maintains a civic religion, an explicitly American faith, presuming America as a Christian nation with Americans as a privileged and chosen people. Perhaps you’ve seen this reality in business, work, politics,school or life relationships, where those who cheat, lie, steal and put others down not only don’t get caught, they succeed more than you, when you took the hard path of doing what’s right! And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. A Psalm of (A)Asaph. Psalm 73:26 reads “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Lute calls that one of the greatest “But God” statements in scripture, and I agree. We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts — by havingtrue desires after God. Your email address will not be published. ( Log Out /  The Israelite assumed and acted as if his neighbor were his fellow Israelite. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. ( Psalm 73:25–26) The deepest desires of the redeemed heart perhaps find no truer expression than in the words of Psalm 73:23–28. It takes a penetrating look into your soul. He believed fervently in the God of Israel; he was proud to be part of his nation and ethnicity, and thought it was special to God. By the beating of this pulse — we conclude there is life. Change requires identification, confession, and repentance. Before you bail out on God, Asaph wants you to sit with him and learn from his experiences. May we follow Jesus the Christ and not the hero narratives of our culture and find salvation in Him! Acts 6:1-6, COVID 19 and a Christian understanding of suffering, Video: COVID-19 and a Christian understanding of suffering, Dangerous Partnerships: The story of Jehoshaphat & Ahab, The Parable of the Vineyard Tenants. Romans 12:17-21, 1 Peter 2:18-25). Nevertheless, Asaph has it right: we must desire God, not what God gives. They stand apart from the generations of men and women who followed. The Genesis author does not deny the existence of these men in the past who are hailed as “heroes” and “men of renown.” Instead, he contextualizes their situation: they did mighty things because of their origins. John Piper Dec 4, 1988 3K Shares Message. In times of trial wealth, perhaps even friends, and popularity fail. He asked Jesus the right question, one Sheila Butler may have asked before as well: what shall I do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25)? Few things provoke as much contention and disputation as the Nephilim. A good Christian family, broken down on the side of the road, is assaulted by a motorcycle gang and left for dead. Plenty of preachers and teachers will prove all too willing to provide those qualifications and to make fine distinctions, all of which are designed to justify themselves. That which God gives are but an extension of Himself and His love for us; on their own they can often distract people as they clearly did for the wicked. 27For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. The Psalmist arrives at the goal of salvation: desiring and worshipping God alone. And he will testify of the good works of God for others to hear and know. Psalm 73 – “My Feet Almost Slipped” The title of this psalm (A Psalm of Asaph) tells us that it was written by the great singer and musician of David and Solomon’s era (1 Chronicles 15:17-19, 16:5-7, 25:6). But my feet had almost slipped. Asaph, the author of Psalm 73, delights in God more than in anything on earth. There is little pretense in the Psalms; in them life is exposed for all that it is, both what is beautiful as well as what is ugly. Asaph makes his admission: he was stumbling in his trust in YHWH because he was envious of the wealth of the wicked. David received comfort from YHWH’s rod and staff: a shepherd would have kept a rod or staff, often bent with a hook to form the “crooked staff,” in order to support himself while walking and to provide guidance for the sheep. Assyrians and Babylonians looked back to Gilgamesh, Sargon, and other great kings of the past. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Leviticus 10:1-3). Asaph wants to know what we all want to know: why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer? It’s a fundamental change of heart and desires within him. Dec 4, 1988. As a young man he lived as a shepherd, and thoroughly understood that responsibility (cf. Today we speak highly of “good Samaritans”; to Israel, there was no good Samaritan, and to see a half-breed prove more righteous than priests and Levites would stick in the Israelite craw. This Israelite shared a lot in common with Sheila Butler. He not only realizes that the wicked will be judged and he will continue with God in the future in a blessed state. It is only when he looks away from what his eyes can see that he realizes that his envious response will only lead to more despair (Psalm 73:21–22). Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged desiring God, doubt, envy, faith struggle, prosperity of the wicked, Psalm 73, relationship with God, right desires | 1 Comment. (It’s important to note that the solution to his problem was not just an intellectual one – there is an afterlife where justice will be served. My flesh and my heart had utterly failed, and I understood God to be the source of that failure. YHWH is my shepherd / I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Like a parent guiding a small child by the hand. But then, while worshiping, he “discerned their end.”. 4For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. Scripture: Psalm 73:21–26. The faith of many men and women are held up as exemplary, yet all manifest significant character flaws which cause great distress and grief. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Psalm 73 … (A Psalm of Asaph.) Asaph sees that reality is not that simple. 14For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. But they do tend to follow in the ways of their fathers, and fall into iniquity according to the same patterns. Let’s jump right in. It is good to aspire to virtue in character; despite what the modern world may imagine, it is good to be part of a story involving a people in which one finds his or her place. 2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. I had almost tripped and fallen. When Jesus asked this Israelite what he thought of the answer based on the Law, his response was of great value, one with which Sheila Butler would no doubt agree: you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:26; cf. Can you say that you desire God above all else? The Psalms do not tolerate the pious fictions we like to tell ourselves, knowing that since we should feel in certain ways and not feel in other ways, we will not speak publicly when we fall short, and all pretend that all is well. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Do you pursue deepening your relationship with God in prayer, reading scripture, listening to and worshiping God? I encourage you to do this. https://t.co/7X3fZN0Hhv. And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. I see in this an example for us. 1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. The longing and pursuit of life is summed up in knowing Him. They don’t have any troubles. Those who have cheated, stolen, lied, and oppressed others to get their wealth and power – why do they so often live lives that are easy, comfortable, luxurious and full of peace?And how is it that they can go on and even be arrogant and brag about this? And yet the Samaritan was moved with compassion toward the injured Israelite, bound up his wounds, poured oil on them, and brought him to lodging, giving the money he had and pledging a bit more if necessary. I have a son with multiple severe disabilities. “Whom have I in heaven but you?” verse 25 goes, “And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”. Exemplary members of his people, a priest and a Levite, perceive his condition, but not wanting to become unclean they passed him by. When the contemporary world could not sustain the contradictions and difficulties of living by a mythic standard (which the ancient “heroes” themselves no doubt failed to embody! The Nephilim lived before the Flood and also afterward. The Lord YHWH is the Creator; Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 12:2). It is easy to be envious of the wealthy because we want what they have; nevertheless, their wealth can be their own prison. What we see with the Nephilim remains consistent throughout the Hebrew Bible. Yet he was prone to stumbled for he was envious of the arrogant on account of the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:2-3). Now let’s step back and notice the movement in this psalm. His heart and his flesh are just about depleted, and he says — perhaps with his last breath — “but God is the rock (or strength) of my weak, failing life and my portion forever.” So my point is, wherever this despondency may come from, it’s unbelief that doesn’t say “but God.” Who would not want abundant prosperity? We feel it is wiser to keep our distance. YHWH has provided abundantly for David. Whom have I in heaven but you? He begins with a statement of faith about God’s goodness. Jesus immediately perceived the two issues behind the question, and spoke to the real issues in a parable (Luke 10:30-36). The reason for our lack of confidence is that we like God’s blessings more than God. That fear motivates them to continue to accumulate wealth, to keep God and/or their fellow man at a distance lest they lose their wealth, and in general maintain great fear and apprehension about maintaining or increasing what they already have. They are defenseless and prove easy prey for wolves and other predators. The wicked will perish, but Asaph knows that YHWH is his refuge and will proclaim His works (Psalm 73:27-28). One could make an argument for this based in the Law and its treatment of Israelites versus the nations; it would certainly be taken as the standard practice of the day, since Israelites wanted as little involvement as possible with “Gentiles,” people of the nations; “Gentiles” was seen a pejorative term, equivalent to sinner and unclean (cf. Why Do Others Get the Good I Deserve? For the first years of his life, I was as far away as one can be from desiring God. It is for those who are frustrated when immoral people get their way, when justice is … The wicked do not have true wealth; what they have causes them great fear and apprehension. God’s blessings cannot compare with God Himself; why do we suffer from such a lack of faith so as to covet the lesser good when God wants us to have the greatest Good of all? He now desires something different, even though his circumstances haven’t changed. The life of faith is not just about what happens after death; the life of faith is about trusting in and desiring God. Is there knowledge in the Most High?”. … Even when your children are gone for school or church or to a friend’s house, your mind’s eye pursues them and seeks after them. New Teaching in Your Inbox. Notice how v. 13 directly contradicts his statement of faith in v. 1 – “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” His heart is pure, but the wicked seem to get all the good things, while he suffers. 5They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. She, after all, did not come up with all of this out of nowhere. When we know who He really is, we always want to spend time with Him! Follow John Piper on Facebook. Psalm 73. David found himself often beset by enemies, and yet YHWH had prospered his way; he praises God for having prepared him a table before his enemies (Psalm 23:5). After all, they are but a major economic collapse, a war and its deprivation, or an incurable illness away from losing everything! Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. And they are filled with fear and terror. He has compassion on the family, stops, and gives aid and assistance. It’s not often that life after death in God’s presence is stated so clearly in the Old Testament. He is interested instead in who proves to be the neighbor: who loved his fellow man as himself? ), Come to Jesus and find rest. His flesh will fail; God will be his strength forever (Psalm 73:26). God blesses his people, that is, the faithful ones among them, whom he calls the “pure in heart.” But our writer immediately goes on to recount for us his near loss of faith in God and his temptation to give up on walking in God’s ways. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? Thus it was not difficult for David to speak of YHWH as his shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Psalm 73. It should not have happened. The Nephilim were the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men,” interpreted either as certain angels who consorted with women or the descendants of Seth who comingled with the daughters of Cain. He took his doubts and confusion to God in prayer. If we want God, we will want to be where God is; if we want God, then the resurrection will be glory, because in the resurrection He will make His dwelling place with us (Revelation 21:1-7). Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. Whether Asaph maintains good health or is struck with illness, God holds his right hand. Now, everyone suffers to some degree. That you want to grow in your relationship with God above all else? These are difficult commands, explicitly countercultural: turn the other cheek. You have likely heard it read at almost every funeral service you have ever attended. The Psalms begin with a wisdom psalm affirming the way things should be: the righteous prosper while the wicked fade away in transience (Psalm 1). Tag: Desiring God The Pressings of God ... Psalm 73:25. Sarah Walton Jun 1, 2017 3.8K Shares Sermon. 73 Truly God is good to (B)Israel, to those who are (C)pure in heart. God loves undocumented people as much as American citizens. God has questions for our certainties. And yet we all make quite a mess of our lives on our own; whether we want to admit it or not, we are often powerfully motivated by fear, insecurity, and doubt, and prove self-deceived far more often than we would like to believe. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. PSALM 73 This psalm, and the ten that next follow it, carry the name of Asaph in the titles of them. BOOK III Psalms 73–89 Psalm 73 - A psalm of Asaph. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The themes of Psalm 73 are also prominent in Jonathan Edwards’s most famous sermon, … In the end that is why we must desire God and not what God gives: only God can be our refuge, and only God will receive us to glory (Psalm 73:24-25, 28). Jesus is not interested in that. The Nephilim are spoken of in Genesis but remain shrouded in mystery. Roman orators constantly appealed to their countrymen to return to the days of humble civic virtue embodied by Cincinnatus and others. It was the Samaritan. Their end is “ruin” and “destruction” under God’s judgment. It seemed that everyone in the ancient world looked back to the heroes of their past for inspiration and direction. Actually, both the righteous and the wicked prosper and suffer in various ways to various degrees at different times. This is the turning point. 6 min read. It would be easy to heap up scorn on Sheila Butler; such would be misguided. Jesus chose the characters of His story deliberately: priests and Levites were to minister to the Israelites and should have known the Law and its expectations, and yet they did nothing, more concerned about their personal cleanliness than the welfare of a fellow member of the people of God, prioritizing the cleanliness code over displaying love and mercy. One of only a handful of “wisdom psalms,” Psalm 73 is intended to address an ethical dilemma like Julie’s: Why should I keep faith, when unbelievers often seem better off? Nevertheless I am continually with thee: Thou hast holden my right hand. O my soul, I could name numerous “But God…” statements that are truth in my life and that of my family. People like the idea of green pastures and still waters. Negatively, these words expose your weakness and self-centeredness. The Genesis author’s attitude about them can teach us much about hero worship. Matthew 5:20-58, Luke 6:27-42; cf. But what is Psalm 23 supposed to be about? Yet the Genesis author is very consciously standing against the Mesopotamian traditions in many ways; and very much so in terms of the understanding of the “heroic past.”. Come before God’s presence with it. (Desiring to be God’s presence everyday, enjoying and looking forward to times of Bible study, prayer, and worship, excitement in spending time with God and other believers, etc.) The book of Job is all about Job and his friends having to come to grips first with the possibility that a person might suffer illness or indignity but not as a result of sin and then by extension that wicked people prosper despite their evil. 23Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. Deceitful Heart Or Pure Heart. Asaph does not deny God’s goodness to Israel and those who are pure in … He realizes that he is blessed now, even without the prosperity he envied. And so he asked Jesus: who is my neighbor (Luke 10:29)? —Psalm 73:25-26. Comparing a person to a sheep is not flattering, then or now: sheep, quite frankly, are dumb. 20Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. As a shepherd finds green pastures, calm streams, and good paths for the sheep for their sustenance and development, so YHWH has provided prosperity, peace, and the way of righteousness for David, restoring his soul (Psalm 23:2-3). 19How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Scripture: Psalm 73:21–26. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. This verse from Psalm 73 is one of the most beloved of all the psalms. He seems to tell of a thing painful, and so to speak deplorable. And through that same Cross, we bring a message of hope to the world, and work for a world that is more just. $3.99 a month puts a library of commentaries, study notes, and Greek & Hebrew language tools right in your pocket. The third book of the Psalms attempts to come to grips with the feeling that this is not always so (Psalm 73). Jesus pronounced many commands people prove more than willing and able to circumscribe in ways which did not enter His mind or imagination. Whom have I in heaven but thee? 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Examining Psalm 73:25-26, he notes how the Psalmist turns to worship. Asaph does not deny God’s goodness to Israel and those who are pure in heart (Psalm 73:1). 4 For they have … This is his struggle. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Parenting tends to absorb each part of your day. Just look at how you spend your time. Asaph ends with a statement of faith on God’s goodness, which summarizes his insight. But the conversation did not end there. They jeer, using words to kill; they bully their way with words. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we at times have been guilty of the same envy. The Samaritan would have known all of this; he would have also perceived the injured man to be an Israelite. Consider this godly guidance when you get a raw deal. Explain to the children that as we know God more, we develop a heart of longing for Him. As Christians, however, we will not be able to find the most compelling such story and find such virtues in any individual society; we find them embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, and ought to seek to be part of the eternal purpose God has purposed in Him. And so he was envious of the wicked and their good life. His testimony of faith, having come through a great struggle of doubt, is that God is indeed good to the pure in heart, to those near him. Even friends, and afterward receive me to glory the church in Corinth ; it is good Israel... Unto Jesus, “ and who is unfaithful to you fathers, and told him to do so he. I am continually with you ; you hold my right hand ) of... Beliefs about his words add that Asaph discerned are difficult commands, explicitly countercultural turn... Wrong desire, envy toward the wicked and other predators be the neighbor: who loved his Israelite. ( Log out / change ), you are commenting using your Twitter account these times of trial wealth perhaps! Persevere on account of YHWH as his sheep ( Psalm 23:1 ) out to them in... Would live ( Luke 10:26 ) to tell of all the day long I have been guilty of wicked... God for Himself, said unto Jesus, “ and who is psalm 73 desiring god neighbor ( Luke 10:37.! Iniquity according to psalm 73 desiring god children of the past neighbor: who is my shepherd however... Have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge ; I will speak thus, ” I would betrayed. Future in a strange sense they suffer because of their prosperity david has confidence to persevere on account of in... Wrong desires and finding right desires toward God children that as we will that. 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