Psalms 73 Commentary

BOOK 3: PSALMS 73-89

Psalm 73 Why do the wicked prosper?

Asaph had a problem that almost caused him to give up the life of devotion to God. If God was a God of goodness who helped the righteous and opposed the wicked, why did worthless people prosper while Asaph suffered want (1-3)?

It seemed to Asaph that the wicked enjoyed lives of ease and plenty, then died peacefully without suffering. Yet their lives had been characterized by pride, cruelty, greed, trickery, scorn, oppression and


boasting (4-9). Some of the godly were tempted to follow their example, for it seemed that God did not interfere with the wicked in their comfort (10-12). Even Asaph himself felt at times that there was no purpose in suffering for God’s sake (13-14).

All this time Asaph kept his problem to himself, because he did not want his doubts to bring shame on God’s people or weaken their faith (15). Only when he considered the matter from God’s point of view did he see any answer to his problem (16-17). Then he saw that death will shatter the ungodly person’s life of luxury, just as waking ends a pleasant dream. The wicked will wake to find that God has not been sleeping. Now he will act in terrible judgment (18-20).

Looking back, Asaph now sees how foolish he has been to doubt God. Although he has acted like an ignorant animal, the everlasting God has not left him (21-23). Asaph sees now that in God he has riches and pleasures that are permanent and beyond value. They are far greater than the temporary riches and pleasures of the ungodly (24-26). When he sees things from God’s viewpoint his whole attitude is changed. He no longer envies the wicked; he finds his full satisfaction in God (27-28).

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