Summary: An exposition of Psalm 73 with a focus on v.1-2
Islington Baptist Church October 16, 2005
Staying true to Jesus is tough but doable
In Matthew 7:13-14 our Lord and Savior is quoted as saying "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Without raising your hands, how many of you who have made a commitment to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, have discovered that following Jesus and staying true to Him is tough to do?
In Psalm 73, which is our text for today, we are going to hear from a man named Asaph. Asaph had been hand picked by King David that he might serve as one of the chief worship leaders in Tabernacle- which was the center of worship in the land of Israel. Even though Asaph occupied such an esteemed position, he was no different than you and I, in respect to the fact he struggled, to stay faithful and true to God.
READ PSALMS 73
I. There are many things that can cause a person to stumble spiritually and waver in their commitment to Christ. v.2
Our enemy the Devil has many weapons in his arsenal that he has aimed at us. Satan’s chief purpose as it pertains to us who are the followers of Jesus is to knock us down and cause us to renounce our faith in Jesus. Hence, the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:11-13 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…”
As regards to there being many things that can cause a person to stumble spiritually and waver in their commitment to Christ, I personally find Psalm 73:2 to be a gripping verse (READ). Asaph’s confession cuts me because I realize that what he says about himself and his spiritual weakness applies to me.
For Asaph, that which caused great turmoil in faith and commitment to God was the prosperity of those who could care less about God. From Asaph’s vantage point they had power, prosperity, influence, health, and a life of ease. Because of this there welled up within him intense envy and jealousy-- to the point that he pondered the question “Is following God worth it?” Verse 13.
While we might not be struggling with the sin of envy right now, every one of us has a weak point. Every one of us who has made a commitment to Jesus struggles with a variety of sins.
What’s your weakness? In this past week what were the sins that you struggled with?
If we give the Devil a foothold in our lives, which is so easy do, this opening, if we don’t fight against it, can swiftly lead to our spiritual downfall and a wavering in our commitment to Christ.
II. We cannot pin the blame for our stumbling, near stumbling, and sins on God. Verse 1
By nature we like to “pass the buck” and to blame someone else, anyone else but ourselves, for our struggles and sins.
At times, people say “It’s God fault!” people say. “God is to blame”.
Why our stumblings and sins are not God’s fault.
Because God is good.
Notice verse 1 and what Asaph says “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart”. This is Asaph’s theological starting point.
Because Asaph starts with the fact that God is good, he comes to the proper conclusion that his struggle with the sin of envy was his problem. Because of God’s perfections, God could not and cannot be blamed.
As it says in the book of James “When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. James 1:13-14.
III. Regardless of how hard it is, or may become, to follow Jesus, staying faithful and true to him is worth it. Verses 16-28
In Psalms 73:13 Asaph tells of a thought that crossed his mind as he struggled with the sin of envying the wicked. “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.”