Is that burning in your heart? The only unalloyed “hero” in the Hebrew Bible is YHWH. —Psalm 73:25-26. By the beating of this pulse — we conclude there is life. Why Do Others Get the Good I Deserve? It is for those who are frustrated when immoral people get their way, when justice is … Psalm 23:1-6 is immensely comforting, but it can only be so for those who submit to YHWH as His sheep. Do you find yourself suffering when evil people continue to succeed? When Jesus asked this Israelite what he thought of the answer based on the Law, his response was of great value, one with which Sheila Butler would no doubt agree: you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:26; cf. Do you pursue deepening your relationship with God in prayer, reading scripture, listening to and worshiping God? Change requires identification, confession, and repentance. I see in this an example for us. By the beating of this pulse— we conclude there is life. Psalm 73. The Washington Post published an article entitled “Judgment Days” by Stephanie McCrummen on July 21, 2018. One man’s “golden age” is another man’s age of decrepitude and decadence. Those who have cheated, stolen, lied, and oppressed others to get their wealth and power – why do they so often live lives that are easy, comfortable, luxurious and full of peace?And how is it that they can go on and even be arrogant and brag about this? Can you say that you desire God above all else? He now desires something different, even though his circumstances haven’t changed. When you have doubt, bring it to God. Psalm 23 is justly famous, providing a comforting message often used in funerals. The presence of the rod/staff indicates the presence of YHWH and discipline to follow the good, right, and healthy way. For he that sings praise, not only praises, but only praises with gladness: he that sings praise, not only sings, but also loves him of whom he sings. If we want God, we will want to be where God is; if we want God, then the resurrection will be glory, because in the resurrection He will make His dwelling place with us (Revelation 21:1-7). David has confidence to persevere on account of YHWH’s presence. And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. The life of faith is not just about what happens after death; the life of faith is about trusting in and desiring God. The Preacher considers questions of this sort as vanity (Ecclesiastes 8:14). That is, others among Israel see this and think, “they must not be so bad!”, 11And they say, “How can God know? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The Nephilim were the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men,” interpreted either as certain angels who consorted with women or the descendants of Seth who comingled with the daughters of Cain. Asaph sees their worst case scenario: they lose all their wealth and fall into ruin, and all that in but a moment (Psalm 73:18-19). And they are filled with fear and terror. 16But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. David did not write Psalm 23:1-6 merely for himself; YHWH inspired him to write to give voice to the people of God throughout time. $3.99 a month puts a library of commentaries, study notes, and Greek & Hebrew language tools right in your pocket. Pretentious with arrogance, they wear the latest fashions in violence, Pampered and overfed, decked out in silk bows of silliness. These are difficult commands, explicitly countercultural: turn the other cheek. In teaching this Israelite lawyer Jesus made it plain to His people they must prove to be neighbors to anyone and everyone (Luke 10:30-37); Sheila Butler, and those who taught her, have no justification to limit “neighbor” to their fellow Americans. Daily Nugget: Asaph, a musician, looked around him and saw how God had blessed, protected, and led his country, Israel (vs. 1). Christians must look upon such narratives with a skeptical eye, understanding their own past as the Genesis author understood humanity’s shared past. Seek God for insight and help with your questions of faith. 507 | 05.25 | The Unveiling | Luke 2:35 Jesus also agreed with the answer, and told him to do so and he would live (Luke 10:26). They are defenseless and prove easy prey for wolves and other predators. The opening statement that God is good to Israel, for example, recalls Psalm 34:8. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. Tag: Desiring God The Pressings of God ... Psalm 73:25. No one, of course, and that is the same with us. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving. Follow Desiring God on YouTube John Piper. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The cork is pulled out at the bottom of his life. Moreover, Psalm 73:28 also repeats the important theme of God’s nearness (Ps 34:18) and the key refuge metaphor (Ps 34:8, 22). Deceitful Heart Or Pure Heart. Daily. My flesh and my heart had utterly failed, and I understood God to be the source of that failure. In life we are given reason to question or challenge the goodness of this creation and the things within it; we sometimes may even question if there will be anything beyond this life, any great reckoning, any ultimate goal. We all see the value of His blessings, but as for God Himself? David’s great hope involved dwelling in YHWH’s house forever, always enjoying His presence. It is easy to be envious of the wealthy because we want what they have; nevertheless, their wealth can be their own prison. Asaph desires nothing on Earth besides God (Psalm 73:25). Everything else follows from it, indeed, but also depends upon it. Like Asaph, we want to know why; we always seem to want to know why. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. YHWH has provided abundantly for David. Comparing a person to a sheep is not flattering, then or now: sheep, quite frankly, are dumb. 1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. | Luke 10:29. Learn how your comment data is processed. We can therefore understand why Psalm 23:1-6 gets appropriated for funerals and other moments of difficulty, and yet the entire psalm is animated by its very first phrase: YHWH is my shepherd. In the end that is why we must desire God and not what God gives: only God can be our refuge, and only God will receive us to glory (Psalm 73:24-25, 28). 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”. The book of Job is all about Job and his friends having to come to grips first with the possibility that a person might suffer illness or indignity but not as a result of sin and then by extension that wicked people prosper despite their evil. Like a parent guiding a small child by the hand. Today we speak highly of “good Samaritans”; to Israel, there was no good Samaritan, and to see a half-breed prove more righteous than priests and Levites would stick in the Israelite craw. Whom have I in heaven but you? We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Assyrians and Babylonians looked back to Gilgamesh, Sargon, and other great kings of the past. The Israelite lawyer, no doubt, did not like the answer, but it was the only answer which could be given. 73 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. In times of trial wealth, perhaps even friends, and popularity fail. Follow Desiring God on YouTube John Piper. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Those who would draw near to Him must sanctify Him and His name, and many have suffered and perished for not thus honoring God (e.g. And he will testify of the good works of God for others to hear and know. He begins with a statement of faith about God’s goodness. Homer and others told the stories of what the Greeks deemed the Golden Age, the age of the heroes, Hercules, Jason, Theseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector, Ajax, and the rest. 4 For they have … This is his struggle. He’s saying, “maybe it doesn’t matter how you live!” Here he has kept himself clean; he has walked in God’s ways, and unlike the wicked, he has been stricken and rebuked; he has suffered hard times. Asaph, on the other hand, has true wealth: God. We all have doubts and questions at times. 21When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. The Genesis author’s attitude about them can teach us much about hero worship. Consider this godly guidance when you get a raw deal. When we know who He really is, we always want to spend time with Him! Change ). That you want to be near God? Come before God’s presence with it. 2 Kings 17:24-41). May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. I encourage you to do this. This wonderful psalm may be best understood by the dominant pronouns within. As a shepherd finds green pastures, calm streams, and good paths for the sheep for their sustenance and development, so YHWH has provided prosperity, peace, and the way of righteousness for David, restoring his soul (Psalm 23:2-3). But my feet had almost slipped. He is interested instead in who proves to be the neighbor: who loved his fellow man as himself? Her greatest fault is in speaking explicitly what is most often maintained implicitly, with coded language and an attempted bifurcation between certain political ideologies and spiritual realities. The Psalms begin with a wisdom psalm affirming the way things should be: the righteous prosper while the wicked fade away in transience (Psalm 1). New Teaching in Your Inbox. Follow John Piper on Facebook. Asaph ends with a statement of faith on God’s goodness, which summarizes his insight. The Samaritan would have known all of this; he would have also perceived the injured man to be an Israelite. The third book of the Psalms attempts to come to grips with the feeling that this is not always so (Psalm 73). He sees it is a wearisome task to consider the question (Psalm 73:16). The Nephilim lived before the Flood and also afterward. Daily. Asaph then cries out a notable declaration: whom does Asaph have in Heaven but God? In Numbers 13:33 the Israelite spies of the fifteenth century BCE testified to the existence of the Anakim in the land of Canaan, described as the descendants of the Nephilim. As a young man he lived as a shepherd, and thoroughly understood that responsibility (cf. Roman orators constantly appealed to their countrymen to return to the days of humble civic virtue embodied by Cincinnatus and others. God had anointed David’s head with oil and his cup overflowed: while David was anointed by Samuel at YHWH’s behest to be made king in 1 Samuel 16:13, both images here refer more to abundant prosperity from God’s hands (“anointed” is literally “to make fat” in the Hebrew; cf. His testimony of faith, having come through a great struggle of doubt, is that God is indeed good to the pure in heart, to those near him. And yet we all make quite a mess of our lives on our own; whether we want to admit it or not, we are often powerfully motivated by fear, insecurity, and doubt, and prove self-deceived far more often than we would like to believe. Asaph is left to wonder if his righteousness has gotten him anywhere or anything (Psalm 73:13-14). Yet we are all liable to the same error of the Israelite lawyer and Sheila Butler: taking a commandment of God and adding qualifiers to it which He did not establish and did not imagine. The things He said and did which have earned Him renown stand in strong contrast against what most “heroes” do in order to gain fame and prominence. The reason for our lack of confidence is that we like God’s blessings more than God. Negatively, these words expose your weakness and self-centeredness. When the contemporary world could not sustain the contradictions and difficulties of living by a mythic standard (which the ancient “heroes” themselves no doubt failed to embody! Sep 11, 2018. Follow John Piper on Twitter. Hard to tell what ’ s blessings more than in the future defend the among... S a fundamental change of heart and my heart may fail, but God good. Away utterly by terrors men ; neither are they plagued like other men it for... Others that serving God is good to Israel, even though his circumstances s presence is so. Stay paralyzed in one place given him a rip off our culture and find salvation in him remain. 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