Asaph realized that "the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." Envy blinded his vision. 18-20). God is big enough to take your anger, your pain, and your questions. Armed with a new perspective about God and this world, Asaph also sees himself clearly. That’s the story of the Rich Man & Lazarus in Luke 16, isn’t it? Our friend Asaph was ready to quit. Asaph has his eye on the celebrities of his day, the Donald Trumps and Lindsey Lohans who openly disdain God. Take a look at v. 1: "God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart." Last October it all came crashing down, with a New York Times investigation, and complaints by dozens of his victims. ( Log Out /  From a canonical perspective Walter Brueggemann4 and J. Clinton McCann5 have argued that Psalm 73 stands at the theological center of the Psalter. — or “why have I looked for sympathy but there was none.” (Psalm 69:20) For example, the Hebrew word ’ak, translated as “surely” in the NIV, begins the poem in verse 1 and is repeated at significant turning points, namely, verses 13 and 18.10 Similarly, the fourfold repetition of the emphatic Hebrew phrase we’ani (“And [or: but] I”) in verses 2, 22, 23 and 28 marks important phases in the resolution of the poet’s haunting problem. They are healthy (vs. 4) and experience no trouble (‘amal), nor are they plagued (vs. 5). The opening statement “God is good” echoes Psalm 25:8 and 34:8 and the phrase “pure in heart” recalls Psalm 24:4. Verses 17b-19 show us that Asaph was now seeing things differently. Sooner women’s coach Sherri Coale was dejected at the press conference after the game. Moreover, it is important to remind them that the essence of faith “is not our grasp of God but God’s sure grasp of us”61 through the nailed hands of his crucified Son. However, he learned to look at things, not from a faulty … This slippery slope leads to utter ruin. What happened to him, and what he saw happening around him, raised questions that caused him to give up his faith. If it is, then just “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.” If this life is all there is, then it may not be worth it to serve God, because there are people who sin, and cheat, and steal, and seem to get away with it — while people who obey God sometimes suffer. On January 17, 2004, a 66-ton whale died and was beached on the southwestern coast of Taiwan, near the city of Tainan. In Job 29-31, this broken man struggles with the raw deal he received. They do not deny God’s existence. Unless otherwise specified, content on this website is licensed as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. So when Asaph got this revelation from God, he said “Oh, I’ve been so foolish.” He said in :22, “I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You,” God. There may be times when it seems to be going that way — and it looks like that a lot in America today — but the Bible says it will not end there. Asaph paused to realize that his decisions will have ripple effects on others. "God is good to … the pure in heart'? God, I'm getting a raw deal! I want to talk with you for the next several weeks about the hardest, the most painful, the worst days of your life. He wrote, “Why, but why should I bless Him? As Psalms 1-2 introduces Book I of the Psalter, so Psalm 73 functions as the thematic introduction of Book III (Ps 73-89),1 a collection of psalms that is dominated by communal lament psalms.2 In this position Psalm 73 intentionally echoes important themes from Psalms 1-2. Who did something unfair to you at work? What is worse, according to verse 11, the wicked are very cavalier about God. Is it really worth it to serve God? Our challenge today is to believe that. When I read that story I wrote an article and sent it to the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, which basically said that because Whitney Hand knows Jesus as her Lord & Savior, that that wasn’t the end of the story for her. The author of Psalm 73, Asaph, was almost like Elie Wiesel. Envy had poisoned him and had powerful effects on him. But Asaph is in trouble. Eternity broke into his temporal perspective. But the thing is, the Christian has the ultimate perspective on history. Scholars disagree concerning the compositional structure of Psalm 73.8 Nevertheless, rhetorical and stylistic analysis shows that the poem has been skillfully constructed. He tells it all in v. 13: Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? 1, 28) form an inclusio and frame within which the painful experience of the poet is unfolded. And for all eternity, we will know that was worth it all, in the end, to serve God, no matter what we suffered here on this earth. His big concern is immediate gratification. Before you bail out on God, Asaph wants you to sit with him and learn from his experiences. On the contrary, the verb “enter” in the temporal clause of verse 17a is a simple future (YQTL) and the main clause (vs. 17b) is a cohortative.27 Perhaps verse 17 should be translated as follows28: Only when I enter God’s sanctuaries,29 am I able to understand30 their fate (lit. You're going about your business, and a whale explodes. He was angry and disillusioned. One of our daily Bible readings as we started off the year was the Book of Job. That spoke to a need in my life, or a question on my heart.” And I am grateful that God speaks to us through His word! (1 John 2:17) God completely controls their destiny, not them. Surely You place them on slippery ground; You cast them down to ruin. Why do good people suffering, and wicked people prosper? He did what Job did. Stored up anger vents itself in headaches, ulcers, bitterness, resentment, private rehearsals of the injustice you've experienced, and outbursts of anger that are disconnected from the real problem. The concluding verse, verse 28, summarizes the new vision the speaker obtained in verses 23-25 and, what is more important, it serves as a clearer definition of what it means that God is good to the pure in heart (vs. 1). Now get ready for the stinger. Have you ever been betrayed? Hugh Hefner may well have been one of the most evil men in the world in the last generation. Because God has showed me that things are going to end differently than they are right now. Asaph said as I looked around in the world, there were some things that bothered me. Second, the psalmist’s solidarity with the community did not solve his perplexing problem. The basis for the speaker’s short admission is the realization of God’s presence, the third reorientation, which is introduced by we’ani. But her sophomore year, she suffered a knee injury that took her out for some time. Apparently he ignored the sound advice from Proverbs 23:17 (“Do not let your heart envy sinners but always continue in the fear of the Lord”). A Southern Baptist pastor for almost 35 years, I currently serve as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Angleton, Texas, and post my weekly sermons here. God is waiting to talk with you. The Paperback Bible presents the Bible by the Book and is designed to be portable, readable, and truly personal with ample margins for notations. And that lead him to the fourth word we need to see in v. 3: envy. And it shows us that we can do that with God too; these Psalms give us permission to bring our honest hurts and feelings to God, and say like these Psalmists: This is a valuable lesson for us: When you are troubled by something in life, don’t turn away from God; turn TO Him. 6, 10). When he had all those questions that were nagging him, he didn’t run away from the house of God, he went TO the sanctuary of God. The brief asseveration of divine justice, however, is followed immediately by the poet’s candid confession that he almost abandoned the faith (vs. 2). Job’s questioning and doubt is a case in point. Put yourself in the position to where you can hear from God. Because in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? "God I'm so angry! The repetition of the verb “to tell” (sfr) from verse 15 in verse 28c shows that the psalmist’s speech has now changed dramatically from self-pity (vv. Under these circumstances, Psalm 73 helps believers to be honest with God. In the NT Jesus says “don’t cause one of these little ones to stumble” — that means don’t do anything that might cause someone to be lost.) 22-24). They don't face the hardships I face. Asaph was eaten up with it. It literally means peace with God such that your life is fulfilled, tranquil, and complete. Whether it's standardized tests, beauty contests, and your neighbor's new dress, we are all encouraged to envy.