BOOK III(Psalms 73–89)
Plea for Relief from OppressorsA Psalm of Asaph.
We have read Book I (Psalms 1-41) and Book II (Psalms 42-72). Book I started with the clear cut principle that those who follow God’s words will prosper and those who do not obey to God will perish. However, many things happen on the way to the Psalm 41. The psalmist became sick. Still her faith was not shaken and she still prayed with confidence when the Book one ends. Book II started with yearning for God and feeling of frustration and anxiety. The psalmist still kept the faith but did not hide her emotional ups and downs. Then it ended with the prayer for the child of the psalmist. Even when the psalmist cannot see the recovery of himself, he still keeps his faith and prays for his son. Now the Book III starts with the confession of the psalmist: “I almost lost my faith because of the reality that I experience in my life.”
The current reality that I experience is in conflict with my faith!
“Truly God is good to the upright, 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;I saw the prosperity of the wicked.For they have no pain;their bodies are sound and sleek.They are not in trouble as others are;they are not plagued like other people.Therefore pride is their necklace;violence covers them like a garment.Their eyes swell out with fatness;their hearts overflow with follies.They scoff and speak with malice;loftily they threaten oppression.They set their mouths against heaven,and their tongues range over the earth.Therefore the people turn and praise them,and find no fault in them. And they say, ‘How can God know?Is there knowledge in the Most High?’ Such are the wicked;always at ease, they increase in riches.All in vain I have kept my heart cleanand washed my hands in innocence.For all day long I have been plagued,and am punished every morning.If I had said, ‘I will talk on in this way,’ I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.”
We have to see how God works in the long run!
God is an author of a long story. Our life is not a short story with happy ending. We have a very complicated plot and many characters in our lives. However, there is a principle that works in the story line. We need to read the whole story to the end to find that theme.
“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 perceived their end.Truly you set them in slippery places;you make them fall to ruin.How they are destroyed in a moment,swept away utterly by terrors!They arelike a dream when one awakes;on awaking you despise their phantoms.
Let us not judge God who has been faithful all the time.
When we have emotional, financial, or relational breakdown, we cannot see the whole picture. We are overwhelmed and cannot think clearly. So, we can make mistakes that we will regret later. So, calm down and pray. Then we will find God working diligently in our lives and we want to praise God from the bottom of our hearts.
“When my soul was embittered,when I was pricked in heart,I was stupid and ignorant;I was like a brute beast toward you.Nevertheless I am continually with you;you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel,and afterward you will receive me with honor.Whom have I in heaven but you?And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.My flesh and my heart may fail,but God is thestrength of my heart and my portion forever.Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;you put an end to those who are false to you.But for me it is good to be near God;I have made the Lord God my refuge,to tell of all your works.”