The Tragedy of the Wicked, and the Blessedness of Trust in God
A Psalm of Asaph.
73 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no [a]pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their [b]eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak [c]loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. 11 And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely I have [d]cleansed my heart invain, And washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. 16 When I thought how to understand this, It was[e]too painful for me— 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, And I was [f]vexed in my mind. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the [g]strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who [h]desert You for harlotry. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all Your works.
74 O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? 2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed— This Mount Zion where You have dwelt. 3 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. 4 Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; They set up their banners for signs. 5 They seem like men who lift up Axes among the thick trees. 6 And now they break down its carved work, all at once, With axes and hammers. 7 They have set fire to Your sanctuary; They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground. 8 They said in their hearts, “Let us [j]destroy them altogether.” They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet; Nor is there any among us who knows how long. 10 O God, how long will the adversary [k]reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? 11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them. 12 For God is my King from of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the [l]sea serpents in the waters. 14 You broke the heads of [m]Leviathan in pieces, And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness. 15 You broke open the fountain and the flood; You dried up mighty rivers. 16 The day is Yours, the night also isYours; You have prepared the light and the sun. 17 You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord, And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name. 19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever. 20 Have respect to the covenant; For the [n]dark places of the earth are full of the [o]haunts of [p]cruelty. 21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed! Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man [q]reproaches You daily. 23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.
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