TEXT: PSALM 73
Verses 1-2: The psalmist confesses that he has ran into an obstacle in life that has unbalanced him.
Verses 3-12: The psalmist is brutally honest of his resentment towards evil people who prosper in this life.
Verses 13-14: We see that the psalmist’s life is full of struggles and pain. The psalmist finds himself questioning whether an innocent life is worthwhile.
Verses 15-20: The psalmist’s experience of the presence of God refocused his perspective and he quickly realized that present realities are not ultimate realities.
Verses 21-22: The psalmist realizes that his previous behaviour was out of ignorance.
Verses 23-26: These verses describe the ultimate destiny of the wicked and the psalmist speaks of his future as living in relationship to God.
INTERPRET: The composer of Psalm 73 struggled with the age-old problem of the suffering of the innocent and the prosperity of the wicked, and wrote this psalm after coming to a place of resolution in his heart. This psalm is considered a wisdom psalm and there are clear connections between this psalm and the life of Job. Job too questioned God’s goodness, since he, an innocent person, was suffering. But when God appeared to him, he submitted to God without explanation of why he suffered.
Psalm 73 expresses what many, if not most, people have felt through the ages as they wondered why some wicked people seem to thrive, while God’s devoted people often struggle in life. The question of why bad things happen to good people has occupied the attention of many through the ages. The psalmist bears testimony that the answer to this question does not come by observation or reason alone, but through an experience of God which compels us to look beyond the present into the future. This psalm clearly illustrates that present realities are not ultimate realities.
APPLICATION: God’s ultimate answer to our sufferings comes in the form of Jesus Christ, his beloved Son, who entered into our human sufferings to the point of dying on the cross. Jesus was also raised from the dead and now sits on the right hand of the Father. Those who are now united in Christ can rejoice, that by his resurrection they are ultimately victorious.
If there is a debate about what was in the mind of the author as he spoke of the final destiny of the wicked and righteous alike, no doubt remains today in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ. Because of the sacrifice and victory of Jesus, we can be sure that present realities are not ultimate realities. When we encounter the overwhelming presence of God like the psalmist did, we too become like Job. We no longer get overcome by our struggles, but rather we become overwhelmed by the grace of God and thereby submit to him in all we do.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus; I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end you will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see you with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me for that day in which all of my struggles with be gone. May my hope for that ultimate reality overcome all of the sufferings of my present reality. AMEN.
SONG: My Redeemer Lives
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.