Sycamore Presbyterian Church Friday Men’s Bible Study Psalm 73 (see notes)
Question 3. Verses 3, 13-14. The first stage out of his anger and doubt is an honest view of his own motives and attitudes. What does he admit about the roots of his resentment in these verses?
In verse 3, the psalmist admits that he became envious of the arrogant when he saw their prosperity. Since this psalm was written for temple service, he in some way expects every Jew and every Christian to sing this in worship. We ought to dwell on this idea for a moment: if God has revealed to us a book of worship songs, then He wants His people to connect with the lyrics because that’s what happens with music. We remember the words. The words sink into our hearts. God wants the Psalms to have a deep impact on us. No less in this psalm, whose author seems to be saying: the temptation to envy is so universal, and our fallenness equally so, that I expect this confession to be on the lips of every member of the kingdom of God until He returns.
Verses 13-14 clearly represent a low point. A lot like the following:
18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me,19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
Both the psalmist and the Preacher have come to feel that life is worthless. In the psalmist’s case, bitterness and envy have almost caused him to give up on living in the community of God (as we discover later.) He feels that the whole day (i.e. the circumstances of his life, the injustice that he’s observed) is constantly rebuking him and the language implies that, to him, it is just not worth it anymore. Basically he hates his life.
Using Praying the Psalms Group Study Product
All Bible quotes ESV