>Way back when, before the URCNA Synod and my subsequent catch-up time, I was posting a series of meditations on the Psalms. The last one concluded David’s songs and Book Two of the Psalter, which brings us to Psalm 73.
A former pastor of ours once said, “Psalm 73 is a great one to read when you feel as if the world is doing a tap dance on your head.”
Now that’s a feeling with which I readily identify!
Psalm 73 oozes with oily images of the “fat and sleek” (4) wicked who slip smoothly through life. They seem to have no pain or problems, but plenty of prosperity.
Witnessing the “ease” and “riches” (12) of the wicked was enough to make the Psalmist think: “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (13). Trying to understand this seems a “wearisome task” (16), until he “went into the sanctuary of God,” where he “discerned their end” (17).
Worship made the Psalmist realize that God has set the wicked in “slippery places” and makes them “fall to ruin” (18). He confesses that he was “brutish and ignorant” and was behaving “like a beast” toward God (22).
Following this realization and confession, comes some of the most beautiful and memorable words of the Psalter.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
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 (23-26).
As finite creatures, we tend to envy those unbelievers who seem to have no problems and whose prosperity is obvious. But worship reminds us that their eternal destiny is destruction.
We may not have riches; in fact, we may scrimp to pay mounting medical bills and constant repair bills, but our treasure is in heaven. We may struggle with chronic pain; in fact, we may have sleepness nights and wobbling walks, but our bodies will be glorified.
Psalm 73 begins with a spoiler:
Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (1-3).
It concludes with an assurance:
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you (27).
And with a confession:
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 (28).
Worship brings realization of reality. But that isn’t the end of the story. Because I know that this life’s trials are temporary and my heavenly treasures are eternal, I have a responsibility. I need to stay close to God. I need to trust Him as my refuge during life’s tempests. But I can’t do that in secret; I need to witness about His marvelous works.
And that’s why Ascribelog exists.