Meditations on the Psalms #150

Day 150

Psalm 73 part 2 

We live in a world where fairness and justice are not always evident. We all want to believe that crime doesn’t pay, but sometimes it does. But as Asaph discovers, later on, he was not looking at the big picture. Yesterday we meditated on the perennial problem of reconciling God’s moral government with observed facts. Immoral people gain fame and fortune. Asaph was struggling with the fact that the great promises of God didn’t seem to apply to him. Envy is a sickness that only faith can heal! 

After the fire of Rome Nero launched a wave of persecution of Christians. In the year of his own crucifixion (AD68), Peter wrote 2Pet3:10ff. His example tells us to navigate the turmoils of life in the shadow of the cross and keep our sight focused on the promises of God, even if present reality seemingly denies them. Nero committed suicide, 6 months after he ordered Peter’s execution. Paul had been martyred by Nero the year before. 

It shows that having doubts like Asaph’s is not incompatible with faith. It may have been true, as he says, that his feet ‘had almost slipped.’ But they had not actually slipped, or at least they had not slipped so far as to make him forget his responsibilities as a leader of God’s people. 

Such deep questions cause one to question the moral order of the universe. After all, one asks, what good is there in being good? If the wicked enjoy the same prosperity as the ‘pure in heart,’ then what is the reward of godliness? 

If God is in control of things, the plans of the wicked should flounder and be openly punished. The godly alone should prosper. But that is not what Asaph saw, and it is not what we see either. We see degenerate scoundrels getting rich! The faith that Asaph clung to was also contradicted by what he saw within the walls of the palace. This was the same faith believed so strongly by Job’s friends, – the same faith that prompted the question of the disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John9:2) 

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