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Psalm 73

Psalm 73

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Sermon: Crisis of faith and recovery to fresh perspective about life
Bible Passage: Psalm 73

I. Structure of this Psalm:

1. Verse 1: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart”

a. It’s a confessional statement of people of Israel
b. Asaph had a disconnect between his confession and reality
c. It looks like that Asaph misunderstood the expression “God is good”
d. For some time, he probably equated goodness of God to material prosperity—money, power, and position
e. The lesson in this psalm is “God’s eternal goodness” not necessarily “goodness” materially
f. For a period of time, Asaph was unhappy with his faith and his vocation

2. Verse 2-3: But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked

a. There is a contrast between what he said in verse 1 and what he is saying now in verses 1 & 2 with the emphatic disjunctive “but”
b. He seems to be honest about himself—“almost slipped,” “almost lost foothold,” “envied the arrogant and prosperous wicked ones”
c. He took his eyes off from God and his faith, and started focusing on a wrong place
d. He compared his life with the godless people

3. Verses 4-12: Read

a. There are 12 “they” and “their”!
b. What the psalmist focused passionately influenced his thoughts and actions
c. He developed a kind of appreciation towards the lifestyle of the wicked
d. The Psalmist developed an unhealthy passion for money, materials, and social prominence of others (vv. 4-12)
e. Consequently, he paid a costly price spiritually

4. Verse 13-17: Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply (the beginning of the “I” section)

a. Dissatisfaction (verse 13)
b. Bitterness (verse 14)
c. Double life (verse 15)
d. Distress (verse 16)—intensification (wearied, burdened, …)

5. Verse 17: “Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny”

a. An encounter with God
b. It’s the game changer

6. Verses 18-20: the “they” section (5 “them”)

a. Asaph sees the same people he ones fantasized
b. They are actually on slippery ground and their destruction is imminent

7. Verses 21-26: the “I section” (15 times “I” and “my”)

a. In verses 21 & 22, Asaph develops a healthy realization of the result of looking at the wrong place
b. In verses 23-24, Asaph was amazed at how God continued to be with him even during his spiritual dryness—God’s covenant faithfulness (cf. verse 1)
c. In verses 25-26, Asaph comes back to where he needs to be

i. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you
ii. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

8. Verses 27-28: Asaph’s crisis is solved and gets an eternal perspective of “goodness of God”

a. Those who are far from you will perish
b. As for me, it is good to be near God
c. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge
d. I will tell of all your deeds

II. Observations:

1. There can be disconnects between one’s ideology and reality

a. Doubt about God’s grace and mercy toward you is the enemy of your faith (vv. 1-2)
b. The weaker you are in your grasp of the essentials of our faith, the greater are chances for your doubts to win you over
c. If doubt is unchecked, it can result in disbelief

2. What you focus passionately influences your thoughts and actions (vv. 4-16)

a. When you focus on the things of this world more than the things of God, the thoughts about the world will take you captive
b. Result of looking at the wrong place put you on a slippery slope (vv. 13-16)

3. Regular meeting with God ALONE will keep you in right perspective (verse 17-28)

a. God’s goodness is not always worldly blessings (vv. 18-20)
b. God presence throws light on your flaws (vv. 21-22)
c. God’s presence will teach you that what you are is more important than what you have (23-28)

III. Jesus’s visit with “rich/wicked Zacchaeus” brought in him a new perspective in his life

1. Jesus came to seek and save the sinners (cf. Mark 10:45-56)
2. When Zacchaeus gained a perspective through Jesus, he began to place less importance on materials/world (Luke 19:8)
3. Jesus gives new perspective to everyone who lets Him come into His life

Take Away:

Be honest about your struggles

1. Religion is not a method to obtain success and material prosperity
2. Keep your eyes off from materials and wealth, and meet with God to have the right perspective of your life

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at wjsubash@crossroadbangalore.org