Asaph, the psalmist who wrote Psalm 73, was a very close friend of King David. A pure-hearted man who believed in the goodness of God, he began his discourse in this psalm by saying, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart” (73:1). In other words, “God has been good to me by giving me a clean heart.” Yet in the very next verse, this dear man confesses, “I almost slipped! I almost fell into sin.” Why does Asaph declare this?
We know from this psalm that Asaph was facing great troubles (see 73:14), and he struggled with comparisons. He says in verse 3: “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Looking around him, he saw wicked people enjoying great wealth, which may have made him feel the pain of his own poverty more acutely. For whatever reason, this dear man cried out, “Lord, it doesn’t make sense to me!”
Then he said to himself, “Look at all these sinners. They don’t pray. They neglect God’s Word and disobey him, yet they are not plagued as other men are” (see 73:5). What Asaph really meant was, “The wicked are not plagued as I am. They do only evil — yet they prosper. While I am weak with sorrow, their strength only increases” (see verse 4).
So what was the sin that Asaph almost fell into? It was believing that his sufferings were unfair punishment from God — that God was neglectful and unjust. This is a trap that any of us can fall into and we must be very careful!
When a trial comes, when you are grieving, you need to guard your heart against slipping. Asaph did this by going into the sanctuary of God (see 73:17). He meditated on the Lord and kept telling himself, “I’m not going to let the devil make me fall. I’m going to talk it out with the Lord.”
Asaph almost slipped — but he held on and ended the psalm on this note of victory: “I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works” (73:28).