The Trouble of Asaph
Psalm 73:1-28
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.…

In human biographies men are wont to cover up their heroes' imperfections. They see no reason why they should be recalled, but many why they should not. And in religious biographies what evident exaggeration there often is. But this can never be said of the lives of the men told of in the Bible. They are evidently men like ourselves. They have known our misery, passed through our struggles, and often, like us, have had to bow their heads in repentance. By this single trait I recognize the book of God. Nothing but the guidance of the Spirit of truth could have held back these writers from glorifying their national heroes. Now, this psalm tells of one who undoubtedly was a believe, but nevertheless passed through doubt and knew all its bitterness. See —

I. WHAT MADE ASAPH DOUBT. It was the sorrow Of those who feared God combined with the prosperity of the wicked. The spectacle of this world is a great school for unbelief, and makes more unbelievers than all the books of atheists. Instinctively we believe in the God of holiness and love; but when we look out into the world we cannot find Him. Fatality is what we see. In nature, for it cares neither for our prayers nor our tears. In history, for if now and then there seems to be a providential law therein, more often there is no trace of anything of the kind See the fate of those vast empires which for ever have passed away. In life: was not the old prophet deceived when he said he had never seen the righteous forsaken? How often our prayers are not heard. Fatalism is what the world teaches every hour. Antiquity was fatalistic, and so are our chief thinkers of to-day. What problems are brought before us by the sorrows that befall the godly. Poverty, sickness, injustice — this most unendurable of all.


1. He believed in God, the God of his race and people. He came — and it is a blessed thing to come — of a holy race.

2. But he could not explain these problems. Human reason cannot. There are the mysteries, insoluble, of affliction; yet more of sin; and of the future life. Science has no answer for them.

3. But Asaph went into the sanctuary of God, and then he understood the end, the purpose of God in all this which the future alone, and not the short-lived present, can unfold. Now, Asaph saw God's purpose in regard to the wicked, and his tone changed from bitterness to pity, as he thought of the "slippery places" in which they stood, and of the "destruction" which was their end. How all changes to our eyes when we consider things from God's point of view. And he saw God's purpose in regard to those who wait on Him and fear Him. Even now consolation, sweetness, peace are theirs. The meanest calling is invested with grandeur when God is served in it. Without doubt the struggles of God's people have been terrible. But consider their end — "Nevertheless I am continually with thee." Asaph has come out of the sanctuary, and his face is beaming; his tears are effaced. His look is brightened by a divine hope, and it is a song of thanks which comes from his lips. And so shall it be with all them whose trust is in Asaph's God.

(E. Bersier.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Psalm of Asaph.} Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

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

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