Friday, June 20, 2008

Psalm 73

Psalm 73 is spiritual medicine for hearts sick with envy toward happy, contented, God-disregarding people. Verse 25 is my own best diagnostic in all the Bible for examining my heart toward God: "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." But the psalm is not only diagnosis; it is also remedy.

I recommend Martyn Lloyd-Jones' Faith On Trial as an extended exposition of Psalm 73. The outline of the psalm is not obvious. Here is how I think it holds together:

A1 The problem: “I was envious of the arrogant” (1-3)
B1 They have it so good (4-12)
C1 Poor me! (13-15)
D “Then I discerned . . .” (16-17)
C2 Stupid me! (18-22)
B2 I have it so good (23-26)
A2 The privilege: “It is good to be near God” (27-28)

My software does not allow me to indent the subordinate points in the above outline. Sorry. Point D is, obviously, the centerpiece of the psalm and the hinge on which the poet started turning from envy to enjoyment.

Psalm 73 has the power to free us from misplaced desire and redirect us back to God. A renewing word for real people living real lives in these hard times.