Psalms 73:1

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:1, “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.” God is good to Israel and to everyone else because God is good. In this life everyone benefits from the blessings of God with life, opportunity, gifts, and most importantly the death of Christ for their sins. How does one obtain the most important of the blessings? Make sure that you have a clean heart. This happens when you turn from your sins to Jesus. Once you become a true Christian through faith in Christ, make sure that you keep this attitude of turning from your sins to Jesus. You need the Lord to give you a clean a heart and to renew a right spirit within you.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:2-3, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.[3] For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Anyone can slip and fall away from the Lord. You had better know your weaknesses and be careful. It says in First Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Jesus said, “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” It is easy to fail because we are weal, we are already sinners, and at any moment a new temptation can cross our paths that we do not expect. No wonder that Jesus told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” In verse three above the writer said that he almost slipped because he considered the “foolish” and the “wicked.” If you look at their human lives, sometimes it appears that the foolish and the wicked prosper from their wickedness. And if you look at your own life, it can appear that you do not have the success and the prosperity that they have. If your eyes are not on the Lord, this can be very discouraging.  

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:4-12, “For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.[5] They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.[6] Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.[7] Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.[8] They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.[9] They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.[10] Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.[11] And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?[12] Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” The writer of this Psalm has a lot to say about the condition of the wicked in this life. The wicked are described in verse four as having “no bands in their death.” First of all their life is called “death.” They are the living dead because they have no spiritual life. But until they die, “their strength is firm,” looking at them from a human standpoint. They are the ones that get elected, and they are the ones that rise in business and in other organizations: in government and even in religious organizations.

 

 Verse five is talking about some of the troubles and difficulties of life. If you do not follow Jesus, you will have the troubles that non-believers have. If you do follow Jesus, then you will have the trouble that only believers have. Sometimes it might appear that you have more troubles than unbelievers, but in reality theirs are much worse. They are heading for the judgment. We are heading to heaven. They only have human solutions to their troubles, but we have the Lord Jesus Christ, the master of the universe. The writer said about the wicked in verse five, “They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” Be careful, or that is what you will think when you compare your situation to that of the unsaved. Also, the Lord has His ways of correcting your thinking on that.

 

But the wicked think that they have it made. That is what it means in verse seven when it says, “Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.” They look at their possessions and their circumstances in life, and they are more than satisfied. That is part of their downfall. Why should they look to the Lord Jesus? At least they have a chance if they will only think about their sins and their need for forgiveness. But many do not. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 19:24, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

 

The truth about many of the wealthy and successful people of the world is found in these verses. Verse eight says, “They are corrupt.” Much of their corruption is shown by the words that they use. Verse eight also says that they “speak wickedly” and they “speak loftily.” Wicked ideas and wicked philosophies are in their words. They also have the pride of man in their speech. They have a human-centered view of life, and such a view has no place for God or Christ. That is why it says in verse nine, “They set their mouth against the heavens…” They speak against God, they speak against the Bible, they speak against Jesus, and they speak against spiritual truth. Of course, we do not think of them as enemies because we pray for them, we love them, and we hope that each of them will one day be saved. We know what the final result of their path will be: “waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.” In other words, they will reap what they have sowed. And that is terrible for those who are not saved. Verse ten has another interesting phrase. It says “his people return hither.In other words, the people who do wickedly keep turning back to their evil ideas. They have opportunities to learn the truth, but they keep choosing to go back to their roots of the ideas of the world. They choose wickedness instead of God.

 

Verse eleven says that the wicked ask the question, “How doth God know?” In other words, the wicked think that they are going to get away with what they are thinking and saying. But they are wrong: they will have to answer to the Lord. Prosperity is not evidence of godliness. Often it is just the opposite. As the writer concludes his discussion of the ungodly in verse twelve, “these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

 

After setting his eyes on the ungodly people of the world and how much they prospered, and before he had the right spiritual view about it, the writer said this in Psalms 73:13-16, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.[14] For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.[15] If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.[16] When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

 

If you get depressed like the writer of this Psalm was in the verses above, how can you escape that? Look at the next verse. It says in Psalms 73:17, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” Spend some time with the Lord, talking to Him about the problem; and just like with other problems, the Lord will enlighten you and show you the way. This was the writer’s  thoughts in Psalms 73:18-20 after spending time with the Lord: “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.[19] How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.[20] As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” No matter how well the wicked may appear to be doing now, their road ends in “destruction,” and we would have gone right along with them if it had not been for the Holy Spirit to bring us to Jesus. And when God brings their end, it can happen very quickly: “as in a moment.” One day they are here, and the next day they are gone. In verse twenty the writer said that the judgment will come upon the wicked like waking up from a dream. It will not be long. What the wicked have is very temporary, that is the point.

 

Talking about the terrible situation that the wicked are really in, notice that it says at the end of verse nineteen, “they are utterly consumed with terrors. The wicked are tormented by their fears. They are afraid of death. That is why they try not to think about it. They are afraid that they will lose what they have got. That is why they are so mean and selfish. They are afraid that someone will find out what they are really like. That is one of the reasons that they are so deceitful and try to hide the truth. One of the great benefits of knowing Jesus as Savior is that He takes away our fears.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:21-22, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.[22] So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” The writer looked back at his unspiritual attitude when his heart was “grieved” by the condition of the wicked in this world, and he was truthful about it. He was “foolish” and “ignorant.” You are foolish if you have the wrong attitude about what you see going on around you. To be ignorant means that you do not know what you need to know. That is what “beasts” are like. They do not have a brain to even be able to think the thoughts that are possible for man. Of course, you will need the right dosage of the Word of God in your life to have the thoughts and the ideas that God wants you to have. That is why Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In order to be wise instead of foolish we need to be going to God and asking Him for wisdom to understand what we are experiencing. James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:23-24, “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.[24] Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” The writer of this Psalm gave us his thoughts about the wicked and their condition earlier in this Psalm, and now the writer is giving us his thoughts about his situation as a believer in the one true God. That is why he starts with the word “nevertheless.” Take your eyes off of man, and put them on the Lord. The writer of this Psalm said, “I am continually with” the Lord. That is what really matters. Walk with the Lord Jesus. Be in fellowship with Him through the daily confession of your sins. The Psalmist went through a difficult time, but he came out on top, and he knew why: he said that God “hast holden me by my right hand.” The Lord has an answer for any problem that may come against you. Put your hand in His and He will keep you from sinking in the waves even when a storm is raging around you. Jesus did it for Peter on the Sea of Galilee, and He will do it for you too.

 

Verse twenty-four is a great verse to describe what the life of every believer should be like after you have come to know Jesus as Savior: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Make sure that daily you look to the Lord to guide you. He definitely wants to guide you, but you must be willing. That is why Jesus told us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Be careful about your own will. You might be a heavy price if you go your own way instead of God’s way. Of course, He will still love you, and He will make sure that you learn a lesson from it; but learn the easy way by staying surrendered to God’s will and asking for His will. Notice also that the Psalmist said that the Lord would guide the believer by God’s “counsel.” We get God’s counsel from the Word of God as the Holy Spirit applies His Word to our hearts. Make sure that you learn the Word. Make sure that you are in the Word so that God’s counsel can touch your heart. Listen to good sermons, read the Bible, memorize Bible verses, and think about the Word of God. When a circumstance or situation comes your way, think about what the Bible says about that. Here is what your life should be like: you come to know Jesus as Savior, and then you follow God’s leading for the rest of your life, and then when God is finished using you on this earth, you go to heaven to be with Jesus and the rest of the believers. The Psalmist said at the end of verse twenty-four, “afterward receive me to glory.” That will be the last stop along the way: glory. And you will look back on your life and you will see that Jesus led you all the way to heaven. And even when you did not go His way, He used that as a learning experience for you, so that the next time you would seek His leading and go His way.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:25-26, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.[26] My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” The Psalmist says that in heaven and in earth that he has only one: God. That is okay because the Psalmist desires only one: God. This will solve a lot of problems for you. You will not suffer so much from people if your heart goes out only to the Lord Jesus. Then you can treat people the best that you can and love them according to the teachings of Christ, but you seek Jesus and what He will do for your soul. Jesus will be your companion. Jesus will be your friend. Jesus will be your helper. You do not need to seek what people will do for you. If you have Jesus, then He is enough. What do we need from the Lord? We need “strength” just like it says in verse twenty-six. We need physical and spiritual strength. The “flesh” represents the physical strength that we need to live on this earth and do what God wants us to do. When God does not want you on this earth any more, He will take away your strength and you will die. Of course, you also need spiritual strength to do what God wants you to do. Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find the strength that you need forever. Human relationships end easily and often, but your relationship with Jesus will last forever.

 

The Bible says in Psalms 73:27-28, “For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.[28] But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” Now that the Psalmist is concentrating on the final end of those who are “far from” God, and he is at peace. The wicked are not in an enviable position. That is why we pray for them. We do not want to be like those who are far from Christ. We want to  be closer to Christ: “it is good for me to draw near to God.” How do you draw near to God? Do what the Psalmist said in the next phrase of verse twenty-eight: trust in the Lord Jesus. Whatever comes your way, put it back in His hands and then wait and see what He does. And then once God answers your prayers, you will have something to say about Him. You will be able to declare all His works. You will be able to witness to what God has done in your life. That tells you how to live life: draw close to Jesus by trusting in Him, and then tell others all the things that Christ has done for you.                             

 

 

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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