Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quiet time files 042609

But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Psalms 73:16-17 (ESV)

Why do the wicked prosper? The question is as old as sin. Psalm 73 was written by Asaph, who was one of the men appointed by King David for the service of song in the temple that David's son Solomon would build (see 1 Chronicles 6:31 - 39).

In the first half of the psalm, Asaph confesses his envy of the wicked, who grow fat and rich, never in trouble like others, never stricken like the rest of mankind. The disparity between the apparent judgment-free, prosperous life of the wicked and the tribulations Asaph sees lead him almost to despair -

All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
Psalms 73:13-14 (ESV)

Why strive to be good, if all you get for it is disdain and harsh words?

But the entire psalm turns around on the verses quoted at the top of this post., when he enters God's presence. He realizes that God will see to their end, sooner or later. It's not up to him to fuss over the fun the wicked seem to be having, but to concentrate on his own walk, no matter how rough it may be. He realizes that when all is said and done, God will receive him in glory. His focus shifts, from what the wicked have that he doesn't, to what he has that is of immeasurable richness:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Psalms 73:25-28 (ESV)

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