Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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Psalm 73 is on the sufferings of the seeking saints.

A. God Being Good
to Those Who Are Pure in Heart

Psalm 73:1 tells us that God is good to those who are pure in heart. To be pure in heart is to have God as our one goal and aim. No doubt the psalmist here was this kind of person.

B. The Sufferings and the Puzzles
of the God-seeking Psalmist

Verses 2 through 16 are a record of the sufferings and puzzles of the God-seeking psalmist. Verse 2 says, "As for me, my feet were nearly turned aside;/My steps had almost slipped." This indicates that the psalmist was nearly stumbled by the situation concerning the prosperity of the wicked (vv. 3-12). Whereas Psalm 1 says that the wicked do not prosper, here the psalmist is puzzled by the prosperity of the wicked, who are at ease and heap up riches (v. 12). The psalmist goes on to say that he has purified his heart in vain, that he has been plagued all day long, and that he was chastened every morning (vv. 13-14). Psalm 1 says that the one who keeps the law will be blessed, but in Psalm 73 we see a law-keeper who was plagued. In verse 15 the psalmist continues, "If I had said, I will speak thus;/Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children." This pious seeker of God was suffering, but if he had told others about his situation, they would have been stumbled and would have said, "Whoever keeps the law will be prosperous." However, here is one who kept the law, yet was not at all prosperous. In the next verse the psalmist tells us that he was puzzled. "When I considered this in order to understand it,/It was troublesome in my sight." This is a heavy word. The more the psalmist considered the situation, the more he was troubled and puzzled.

C. The Solution Obtained in the Sanctuary of God

In verses 17 through 28 we see that the psalmist obtained the solution in the sanctuary of God. "Until I went into the sanctuary of God;/Then I perceived their end." Where is God’s sanctuary today? First, God’s sanctuary, His habitation, is in our spirit. Second, God’s sanctuary is the church. Thus, to go into the sanctuary of God, we need to turn to our spirit and then go to the meetings of the church. Once we are in the sanctuary—in the spirit and in the church—we will have another view, a particular perception, of the situation concerning the wicked.

1. The Wicked Being Set in Slippery Places
to Be Cast Down into Ruins

Having gone into the sanctuary of God, the psalmist could perceive that the wicked were set in slippery places to be cast down into ruins (v. 18). This caused the psalmist to say, "How they are made desolate in a moment!/They are utterly consumed by terrors./Like a dream from which someone awakes, You, O Lord,/Upon arising, will despise their image" (vv. 19-20).

2. God to Be His Pure Seeker’s
Only Possession in Heaven
and His Unique Desire on Earth

"Whom do I have in heaven but You?/And besides You there is nothing I desire on earth" (v. 25). This verse reveals that God’s pure seeker would have God as his only possession in heaven and his unique desire on earth. God was the psalmist’s unique goal. The psalmist did not care for anything except God and gaining Him. In this matter, Paul was the same. In Philippians 3:8 Paul said that he counted all things as refuse in order to gain Christ.

Psalm 73 ends with these words: "My flesh and my heart fails,/But God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever" (v. 26). Here we have the answer to the psalmist’s question concerning his suffering and the prosperity of the wicked. The one who does not care for God may gain many things and seem to prosper. However, the one who cares for God will be restricted by God and even stripped by God of many things. As we will see in the upcoming life-study of the book of Job, this is what happened to Job.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 30, by Witness Lee)