Psalm 73: "A Thanksgiving Portion from God"
Prosperity in Life
This psalm is a moving autobiographical reflection on the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked
Prosperity in the End
The Destination of the Wicked
Rather than seeing the success of the wicked, God shows the psalmist their horrible end. While he thought that he was slipping (see v. 2), it was really the wicked who were on “slippery places,” since they will be “cast down” to “destruction,” literally, to “deceptive ground.” In other words, their foundation is insecure. They are building on the sand, and the storms will level them (see Matt. 7:24–27). Moreover, this catastrophe will happen “in a moment” (v. 19): “Here today, gone tomorrow.” Then the wicked will be “utterly consumed” or literally, “they have been completed”; “they have been ended.” But what are the “terrors” that bring this about? One possibility is human evil; another is demonic attack (see Job 18:14). Whatever the means of their destruction, however, the ultimate cause is divine judgment. Thus in verse 20 it is God who “awakes”; that is, He now acts and despises either the image of the wicked or the image of their idols.
The message is clear. Death will reveal the true condition of those who “speak loftily” and “set their mouth against the heavens” (vv. 8–9). God, not humankind, has the last word. It is in His temple where the ultimate truth will be told. Likewise, today, if we don’t hear the truth in our churches, where will we hear it? Understanding comes in sub mission to His Word and will.
The Destination of the Righteous
Prosperity of Life
73:27–28. Asaph concluded that those who are far from God and are unfaithful will be destroyed, but that those who are near God find joy and safety. Though he had nearly slipped in his confidence in God (cf. v. 2) he now was reassured that God was keeping him secure. God was his Refuge (maḥseh, “shelter from danger”; cf. 14:6; 46:1; 61:3; 62:7–8; 71:7; 91:2, 9). Nearness to God always helps believers maintain a balanced perspective on material things and on the wicked.