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I think that anyone who truly is a person of faith will experience times and seasons when their faith will be put to the test. I would go so far as to say that such tests are an evidence of true faith. Conversely, a person who never has such tests probably has no faith.

This question, "Why do the wicked prosper?" implies an equally important second question; "Why do the righteous suffer?" Neither scenario seems fair. In Psalm 73, Asaph has recorded for us something of his "crisis of faith".

In verse 1 he identifies and strongly affirms the two basic building blocks of his belief system; "Truly God is good…" God is good to Israel i.e. to His own people, to the pure in heart (i.e. to people who are good or seeking to be good). In other words, there is a God and that God is good.

But therein lies the heart of his struggle.

If God is good, then why is there so much evil in the world and why do the wicked prosper as they trade in that evil? As a student of life's experiences, the external evidence suggests to Asaph that the very opposite of what he believes is true; that God is good to the wicked, not to the righteous. This creates for him an almost unbearable tension; one which he is about to outline for his readers with an authenticity that is refreshing to behold.

Countless people from all generations find Asaph's struggle to be one with which their hearts resonate. He says the things they have wanted to say. He asks the questions they have wanted to ask.

Despite the strength of his affirmation that God is good (v.1), he now tells us that he very nearly abandoned his faith in that God. There came a season into his life where that unbearable tension between internal faith and external evidence could not be denied and, in the name of integrity, he had to wrestle his way through to some form of resolution or reconciliation.

Asaph now outlines the nature of his struggle. The certainty of his faith statement in v.1 makes the "But" of v.2 even more ominous than it would otherwise be. The imagery of standing firm in the faith provides us with a vision of a person falling or stumbling.

"I almost lost my footing! My feet were slipping! I was almost gone!"

Why had he reached this extreme position? What could possibly cause him to question those fundamental faith commitments that were so foundational to his life? The answer is found in verses 3-12.

That's where we will continue next time.

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