Bad Men in Good Circumstances, and a Good Man in a Bad Temper
Psalm 73:1-28
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.…

I. BAD MEN IN GOOD CIRCUMSTANCES. The bad men are described as the "foolish and the wicked." Folly and wickedness are convertible terms. Sin is folly. Man sinning is man violating all the laws of reason, all the principles of true policy. Such are the bad characters before us, and they are found in good circumstances, they are in great prosperity. The material heavens shine on them, the earth yields up her fruit to gratify their every taste and to supply their every want. Providence pours into their lap those gifts which it denied the Son of God Himself.

II. A GOOD MAN IN A BAD TEMPER. Asaph, the supposed writer of this psalm, acknowledges that he was "envious" of these bad men who were living in good circumstances.

1. He was in an envious temper.

(1) Now, envy is ever a bad thing. It is ever the attribute of selfishness, and selfishness is the root of wrong.

(2) Nor could envy well appear in a more unreasonable aspect. He was "envious at the wicked." This is truly irrational. Poor godless wretches, what have they of which the good should be envious?

2. He was in a murmuring temper (ver. 18).

(1) A right act. Cleansing the heart and washing the hands means the cultivation of personal holiness; and this is certainly a right work for man. It implies —

(1)  The consciousness of personal defilement.

(2)  The possession of a cleansing element.

(3)  The effort of personal application. Moral evil is the defilement; Christianity is the cleansing element; and practical faith is the personal application.

3. A wrong opinion. The writer thought that it was "in vain." Three facts show that this is a great mistake:

(1)  That moral holiness involves its own reward.

(2)  That moral holiness is promoted by temporal adversity.

(3)  That moral holiness will meet with its perfect recompense hereafter.No; this cleansing the heart is no vain work. No engagement is so real and profitable. Every fresh practical idea of God is a rising in the scale of being and of bliss; every conquest over sense, appetite, and sin, is a widening and strengthening of our spiritual sovereignty; every devout sentiment, earnest resolve, and generous sacrifice attunes our hearts to higher music.


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.

Asaph's Trial and Deliverance
Top of Page
Top of Page