The Psalms are traditionally broken up into five books or sections. Psalm 73 is the first psalm of the third section. It is written by Asaph. We know from 1 Chronicles 6:39 that Asaph was a Levite, one of the men whom David commissioned to be in charge of the worship in the Tent of Meeting before Solomon’s temple was built.
The Israelites would sing this psalm, and it would help shape and form their understanding of the world, of God, and themselves.
This Psalm deals with real issues that God’s people have often struggled with. It addresses the seeming incongruity of God’s fairness with how the world works – the discrepancy between the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked. It starts from a place of faith, anchored in God’s truth, while at the same time grappling with these incongruities.
It shows us how to wrestle well with the truths of Scripture and the disorienting experiences of life in a broken and sinful world. It shows us how to maintain our faith even when asking hard questions. The psalm is bracketed with the truth that God is good. It is within this context that God’s people can experience difficulty and still walk away with a deeper, and fuller trust in God.
Martin Lloyd Jones, in summarizing this psalm, said it’s as if Asaph in this psalm is saying, “I am going to tell you a story; I am going to tell you what happened to me, but the thing I want to leave with you is just this: the goodness of God.” Martin Lloyd-Jones, Faith on Trial (London: Intervarsity Press, 1974), 13.