Wisdom Psalms: Psalm 73

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Read Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.

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.

They have no struggles;
    their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from common human burdens;
    they are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace;
    they clothe themselves with violence.

From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
    their evil imaginations have no limits.

8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
    with arrogance they threaten oppression.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
    and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10 Therefore their people turn to them
    and drink up waters in abundance.

11 They say, “How would God know?
    Does the Most High know anything?”

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.

14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
    you cast them down to ruin.

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!

20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
    when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,

22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

Go Deeper

From the time we are on the playground to the time we are in retirement, we struggle with good things happening to bad people and bad things happening to good people. We wonder why mean people win and get all the glory while nice people seem to lose and get all the grief. When this happens it’s enough to make us ask the question, “Why work so hard to be good when those who behave badly succeed?” 

The writer of Psalm 73, Asaph, gives voice to this same struggle in verse 3: “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” We hear you, Asaph! But what are we supposed to do with this frustration? Verses 16 and 17 tell us: “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”

What Asaph knew and we must remember is that we are playing the long game: running a marathon, not a sprint. As humans, it is easy to focus on the here and now, crying out to God to fix our present problems. We may be ignorant of others’ hearts and needs as we rush to judgment in our own fear and failures. We see only the unfairness of the situation when we view it through our own lens rather than trying to view our situation from God’s perspective. We can forget that God sees all dimensions of the past, present, and future in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:3-14). 

We can’t forget what we know:

  • We know this world is not our home (John 15:19).
  • We know that we are called to a higher purpose (Romans 8:28).
  • We know we are in the midst of spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12).
  • We know that in this world, we will have trouble (John 16:33).
  • But we also know to be encouraged because Jesus has overcome the world! Praise God! What the world offers cannot compare to what God offers us in Himself. 

May we declare verses 26-28: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”


  1. What has been a time of affliction for you? How did you handle the frustration of seeing the wicked win?
  2. What are some practical ways to remind yourself of the things we know listed above?
  3. If you believe these things to be true, how should they be reflected in your actions during times of affliction?

Listen to This

Leave a Comment below

Did you learn something today? Share it with our Bible Reading Plan community by commenting below.

Join the Team

Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email hello@biblereadingplan.org.

4 thoughts on “Wisdom Psalms: Psalm 73”

  1. That word PRIDE seems to pop up on the constant. I pray often for God to help me by moving that plank I seem to carry, over, (but I want it completely gone), out of my eye.
    Mat 7:3-5 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
    I have been listening to John Mark Comer’s series Following the Way pratices. The one recently on Sabbath is wonderful. We as a society have it backwards. We work hard to “rest” with God for a few minutes, sometimes on the weekend, when God actually wants us to “REST” in Him, His Word, His presence, meditation on what He is and will show us, then work to spread His kingdom words, that will empact all for eternity.
    Proverbs 3:5-6 HCSB Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

    God thank You for helping me remove the plank from my eye. I desire greatly to not be prideful. Thank You for directing, guiding my path to Your ways. Thank You for guiding me to that REST that makes You the focus of my life. God contiune to open the eyes of my understanding. BUT YOU GOD are my salvation, my anchor, my rock, my fortress, my peace, my spiritual wisdom, my rescue, my ALL. Thank You for loving me with that HESED love so that I can be a light for You this day, these minutes to Your glory in Jesus name amen

  2. Ella Snodgrass

    I made parallels between this Psalm and the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The prodigal indulgences in everything the world has to offer for a short season but quickly ends up hungry and in a pigsty. He experiences temporary prosperity with nothing in the end. He returns to his father, repents of his poor choices, and is received with open arms. All of us at some point have been captured by the trappings of this world and even embraced them, eventually like v2 explains “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped, I had nearly lost my foothold.” Much like the prodigal son and his father, this is how our God views us when we repent and return to him. We find God is truly good to those whose hearts are pure. Instead of wealth being our security, let’s cling to Jesus to guide and steady our souls.

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

    Insightful that being envious of the arrogant and wicked can lead to my slipping and losing my foothold.

    Reminds me of the quote “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

    Praying today that I won’t waste my brainpower on envy and resentment of the “wicked”!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.