1 God loveth the righteous, His goodness is sure,
He never forsaketh the good and the pure;
Yet once my faith faltered, I envied the proud,
In doubt and disquiet my spirit was bowed.
2 The wicked are prospered and firm is their strength,
No pangs do they suffer, though death come at length;
They are not in trouble as other men are,
The plagues of their fellows they view from afar.
3 In garments of boasting and violence decked,
With wealth more abundant than heart could expect,
They scoff, and the helpless they proudly oppress,
The heav'ns and the earth they assume to possess.
4 Despising God's people, they cause them to drain
The cup of oppression, injustice, and pain;
They question God's knowledge and boldly defy
The might and the justice of God the Most High.
5 The wicked, grown wealthy, have comfort and peace,
While I, daily chastened, see troubles increase,
And, wronging God's children, I cried in my pain,
That clean hands are worthless and pure hearts are vain.
6 I went to God's temple: my doubts were dispelled,
The end of life's journey I clearly beheld;
I saw in what peril ungodly men stand
With sudden destruction and ruin at hand.
7 As when one awaking forgetteth his dream,
So God will despise them, though great they may seem;
My envy was senseless, my grief was for nought,
Because i was faithless, and foolish my thought.
Psalter: with responsive readings, 1912
Godly wisdom concerning the destinies of the righteous and the wicked.
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-6
st. 3 = vv. 6-10
st. 4 = vv. 11-14
st. 5 = vv. 13-20
st. 6 = vv. 21-24
st. 7 = vv. 25-26
st. 8 = vv. 27-28
Psalm 73, the first in Book III of the Psalms, addresses one of the most disturbing problems of the Old Testament saints: Why do the wicked often prosper while the righteous endure much suffering (see also 1, 34, 37, 49, and 112)? The psalmist confesses confidence in the LORD, but describes how his faith faltered when he considered this problem (st. 1). We too can see the wicked prosper and in good health (st. 2), even though they are proud and arrogant, "scoff at the helpless" (st. 3), and curse God Most High. Meanwhile our own troubles may increase (st. 4), and we may be tempted to become like the wicked and denounce God. Resolution comes only when we stand in God's presence–then we can discern the final outcome of wicked living (st. 5). God will never fail to sustain us throughout our lives and afterward will take us to glory (st. 6). With that assurance, we confess our dependence on God alone and our conviction that God will sustain us forever (st. 7). The psalm concludes with renewed commitment to trust in God and a promise to make God's grace known to others (st. 8). The versification (somewhat altered) is from the 1912 Psalter. Another setting of Psalm 73 is at 554.
Whenever "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" is proclaimed; especially appropriate when Christians suffer and the wicked prosper and grow defiant in their prosperity.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook