Book #3: 73-89
Asaph was an accomplished musician in the court of King David. He was appointed to be the director of music in the Temple (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:19; 16:5). His descendants were also official musicians (cf. Ezra 2:41). He wrote Psalms 50, 73-83.
Psalm 73:1-Asaph begins by saying that God blesses Israel. It is almost as if he felt obligated to do this...because in the next verse he talks about how the wicked seem to be the ones who are really blessed. Or maybe he said this in order to let us know that it is really what he believes...so, don't be surprised at what he says next (cf. :15).
Psalm 73:2-12-Asaph says that when he observed how well off the wicked were...that he became discouraged and he almost lost his faith. Notice the how he describes their attitudes and the things that they seem to benefit from:
- “prosperity” (:3)
- “no pains at their death” (:4)
- “body is fat” (:4)
- “not in trouble as other men” (:5)
- “Nor are they plagued like mankind” (:5)
- “pride is their necklace” (:6)
- “garment of violence covers them” (:6)
- “eye bulges from fatness” (:7)
- “imaginations of their heart run riot” (:7)
- “mock” (:8)
- “wickedly speak of oppression” (:8)
- “set their mouth against the heavens” (:9)
- “tongue parades through the earth” (:9).
- Psalm 73:10-14-Asaph says that at times, when God’s people see these things, they are tempted to give up their commit to Him and join the wicked (:10). They begin to question:
- Does God really know everything that we do? (:11)
- If God is opposed to the lifestyle of the wicked, why do they just keep getting more and more?
- The wicked keep getting more and more wealth…and I keep having more and more problems. Have I wasted my time living a good life? (:12,13-14)Psalm 73:15-Here Asaph says that if he really believed those things about the wicked...then he would not have any encouragement for others, and he would have betrayed his faith. Not only that, if he had said those things, he would be betraying the next generation by not telling them the truth.Psalm 73:18-20-God allows the wicked to be satisfied with these things. They are a trap because they wicked will become so infatuated with them that they will not pay attention to things of true value, or to knowing God, which is of ultimate value. The judgment of the wicked will be quick, decisive, and certain.Psalm 73:25-28-Finally, Asaph says that regardless of what may happen in life, the presence of God is of greater value and importance than anything else on earth. He knows what the end of the story will be. He will tell others what he has learned (:28b).Psalm 74 This Psalm was written after the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. (:4,7) by the Babylonians and the subsequent deportation of the people of Israel. Therefore, it could not have been written personally by Asaph since he lived during the time of King David (1010-970 B.C.). So, it was either written by a descendant of his, or a choir guild that bore his name.Psalm 74:1-11-The Psalm describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the psalmist’s cries for God's help. The psalmist asks what it is that they have done that God would allow this to happen. He asks that God remember that He had chosen Israel to be His special people. Then he asks that God look at the destruction that the enemy had done to the Temple (:3-8). He says that they don’t know what to do because God has not sent them a sign, or a prophet (:9). He wonders out loud how long God will allow things to continue this way.Psalm 74:18-21-The psalmist calls upon God to save His people from those that have attacked them. His request is based on…
- Psalm 74:12-17-The psalmist speaks of God's strength and power. He is saying that God is still the same…nothing has changed.
- Psalm 73:21-24-Asaph says that when he allowed his emotions and own intellect to consider these things he was like a wild animal, without wisdom. But when he listened to God's counsel it all began to make sense.
- Psalm 73:16-17-When he tried to figure these things out it didn't make sense to him and troubled him. However, when he began to consider these matters from God's perspective he began to understand them.
- Now even Asaph has begun to wonder if it has been worth it to live a righteous life...since his experience seems to be the opposite of the wicked.
- the attitude that the Babylonians have toward the God of Israel (:18)
- the inability of Israel to save itself (:19)
- the covenant that God had established with Israel (:20)
- the praise that He would receive from the “oppressed” and “afflicted” if He chose to save them (:21).
- Prayer: Lord, please help me to have my values and priorities in order. Help me to always keep You first. Don’t ever let me become so caught up into the possessions and people of this world that I let them become more important that You are.
- Psalm 74:22-23-Finally, the psalmist asks God to plead His own cause. In other words, “God, you know better than I do the reasons that You should save us. I trust our cause into Your hands. Oh, and by the way…You can still hear the voices of the enemy mocking You.”