BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART (PSALM 73)
Once, truth and falsehood met at a crossroads, and after they had greeted each other, Falsehood asked Truth how the world went with him. “How it goes with me?” said Truth. “Each year worse off than the last.” “I can see the plight you are in,” said Falsehood, glancing at Truth’s ragged clothes. “Why, even your breath stinks.” “Not a bite has passed my lips these three days,” said Truth. “Wherever I go, I get troubles, not only for myself, but for few who love me still. It’s no way to live, this.” “You have only yourself to blame,” said Falsehood to him. “Come with me, You’ll see better days, dress in fine clothes like mine, and eat plenty, only you must not gainsay anything I say.”
Truth consented, just that once, to go and eat with falsehood because he was so hungry he could hardly keep upright. They set out together and came to a great city, and went into the best hotel, which was full of people, and sat and ate of the best. When many hours had gone by, and most of the people had gone, Falsehood rapped with his fist on the table, and the hotelkeeper himself came up to see to their wants, for Falsehood looked like a great nobleman. He asked what they desired.
“How much longer do I have to wait for the change from the sovereign I gave the boy who sets the table?” said Falsehood. The host called the boy, who said that he had no sovereign. The Falsehood grew angry and began to shout, saying he would never have believed that such a hotel would rob the people who went in there to eat, but he would bear it in mind another time, and he threw a sovereign at the hotelkeeper. “There,” he said, “bring me the change.”
Fearing that his hotel would get a bad name, the hotelkeeper would not take the sovereign, but gave change from the reputed sovereign of the argument, and boxed the ears of the boy who could not remember taking the coin. The boy began to cry, and protest that he had not had the sovereign, but no one believed him, he sighed deeply and said, “Alas, where are you, unhappy Truth? Are you no more?”
“No, I’m here,” said Truth, through clenched teeth, “but I had not eaten for three days, and now I may not speak. You must find the right of it by yourself, my tongue is tied.”
When they got outside, Falsehood burst out laughing and said tot Truth, “You see how I contrive things?”
“Better I should die of hunger,” said Truth, “than to do the things you do.” So they parted forever.
Asaph is an interesting person. The grandson of Levi (1 Chron 6:38-39), he was appointed not only to sound cymbals of brass (1 Chron 15:19) but to be the chief of all musicians (1 Chron 16:5). Asaph was a contemporary of David, who delivered his psalm to be performed by Asaph and his brethren. The whole family of Asaph including his brothers (1 Chron 16:7) and sons (1 Chron 25:2) were singers (2 Chron 5:12). Under his leadership were a hundred and twenty priests (2 Chron 5:12). Besides a singer, he was also a seer (2 Chron 29:30). This psalm marks the third book of the Psalms (73-89). These Psalms are classified as "The Asaph Group," composed of Psalms 73-83. Overall twelve psalms bear his name in the psalms (Ps 50, 73-83), the only psalmist King David overshadows..
The psalm can be unofficially and uncharacteristically divided by the first and same word of the psalm, translated as “truly” (Ps 73:1), “verily” (Ps 73:13) and “surely” (Ps 73:18). The three stages also depict the psalmist’s literary progress - before (vv 1-12), during and after his awakening.
How do we praise the Lord when we see so much evil and injustice present in the world today? What is praise to God when we don’t feel like it? Why is God patient in the midst of man’s wickedness and weakness, including ours?
Be Clean in Character
1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” 12 This is what the wicked are like — always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.