It was the Samaritan. It’s not often that life after death in God’s presence is stated so clearly in the Old Testament. “You hold my right hand” speaks to guidance. This Israelite, a lawyer by trade, wanted to justify himself, to demonstrate how he was in the right in his present circumstance with his present attitudes. Homer and others told the stories of what the Greeks deemed the Golden Age, the age of the heroes, Hercules, Jason, Theseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector, Ajax, and the rest. 1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. Oct 4, 2016. Assyrians and Babylonians looked back to Gilgamesh, Sargon, and other great kings of the past. Exemplary members of his people, a priest and a Levite, perceive his condition, but not wanting to become unclean they passed him by. It expresses the psalmist's recognition of God’s unique value, as well as a passionate desire for God. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? The modern version of the story tells itself. 1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. In this situation we need not wonder; Jesus Himself encountered an Israelite who felt the same way about Israel. Desiring God. I encourage you to do this. It is not about what we profess. That fear motivates them to continue to accumulate wealth, to keep God and/or their fellow man at a distance lest they lose their wealth, and in general maintain great fear and apprehension about maintaining or increasing what they already have. And Asaph also experiences a change in his heart, from wrong desire, envy toward the wicked to right desire toward God. It is not for us to qualify or limit the commandments God has given in Jesus; it is given for us to accomplish them. 18Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 15If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. The Psalms begin with a wisdom psalm affirming the way things should be: the righteous prosper while the wicked fade away in transience (Psalm 1). The Anakim all those years later were still reckoned as giants; they would be exterminated from the land of Israel in the days of Joshua (Joshua 11:21-22), and only a few remained in what would become the land of the Philistines, which might explain the height of Goliath four centuries later (1 Samuel 17:4-7). He is interested instead in who proves to be the neighbor: who loved his fellow man as himself? From the ancient Near Eastern world until today the assumption has been that people prosper when righteous and suffer when wicked. The Israelite assumed and acted as if his neighbor were his fellow Israelite. Yes, God demands holiness from those who would draw near to Him; many times those closest to Him have suffered the greatest deprivations and trials, both to test their faith as well as to suffer on behalf of the Name and for others (Hebrews 11:1-40, 1 Peter 2:18-25). But then, while worshiping, he “discerned their end.”. 4For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. When the contemporary world could not sustain the contradictions and difficulties of living by a mythic standard (which the ancient “heroes” themselves no doubt failed to embody! The Genesis author’s attitude about them can teach us much about hero worship. Ancient Israelites were well-acquainted with these stories from these other cultures. 24You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. The Egyptians considered the gods Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Horus to have once ruled the land, and every generation would recreate the story. Follow John Piper on Instagram. Negatively, these words expose your weakness and self-centeredness. The Nephilim are spoken of in Genesis but remain shrouded in mystery. The Lord YHWH is the Creator; Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 12:2). Follow John Piper on Instagram. Whoever they were, and whatever the nature of their power, the Genesis author’s ambivalence toward them is evident: the conjoining of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” led God to limit human life to 120 years, and they flourished in the days when the heart of man was only evil continually (Genesis 6:3, 5). This is his struggle. 3For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. If we want God, we will want to be where God is; if we want God, then the resurrection will be glory, because in the resurrection He will make His dwelling place with us (Revelation 21:1-7). 19How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! These are not the “good people” who “deserve” what they have; they are arrogant, foolish, impious, oppressive, the rich people only fellow rich people tolerate (Psalm 73:4-12). He is saying, “God’s nearness is better than the prosperity of the wicked.” He came to the place where he could say, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (It’s important to note that the solution to his problem was not just an intellectual one – there is an afterlife where justice will be served. As a young man he lived as a shepherd, and thoroughly understood that responsibility (cf. Thus, we do well to swallow our pride and to understand ourselves to be as sheep, and to look to YHWH as our Shepherd. There is justice with God. They will be put to an “end.” This is the fate of those who are not pure in heart, who are far from God. Notice how v. 13 directly contradicts his statement of faith in v. 1 – “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” His heart is pure, but the wicked seem to get all the good things, while he suffers. We need to recognize our complete and utter dependence on God for all good things and confess our continual struggle to appreciate them and fully trust in Him. 73 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. What we see with the Nephilim remains consistent throughout the Hebrew Bible.
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