Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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June 9 - Evening

" 'This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.'

If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny...

...When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

- Psalms 73:12-17, 21-26

Asaph Struggles to Choose a Worldview for His Lyrics

Psalm 73 begins the third of five “books” or collections of songs in the Book of Psalms. This third book includes Psalm 73-89. Of these seventeen psalms eleven of them, like this one, are ascribed to the Levite named Asaph. It seems that Book III is a collection of psalms by Asaph (also Psalm 50) who was a leader of one of the Levitical choirs organized by David. David appointed Asaph to assist Heman (the prophet Samuel’s grandson through his son Joel, 1 Chron. 6:31-38 and 1 Samuel 8:1-3) as the leading musician in the worship in the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 6:39). Later when Solomon dedicated the temple in 2 Chronicles 5:12 Asaph, now a legendary musician, was there to perform.

Asaph identifies his problem and the near crash of his faith in 73:2-3. Then in verses 73:4-9 Asaph describes the pleasant and comfortable lot of the wicked:

• No struggles
• Healthy, strong bodies
• Free from common burdens
• No ills

Because of their innate success and the pleasantness of their lives these wicked become prideful of themselves and oppressive of others. They have callous hearts that scoff at the failings of others and gloat arrogantly concerning their own pleasant lot in life. Eventually, they question the existence of God and settle on dismissing him altogether. The wicked continue to live carefree lives and prosper in their secular world view while mocking others who struggle in life and look to God for help. (73:11-12)

In verses 73:13-14 Asaph records the thoughts in his heart that he had been tempted to proclaim out loud (possibly being tempted to put these thoughts into lyrics to be sung to the general public), but he had not:

            “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure:             In vain have I washed my hands in innocence.” - 73:13

Fortunately, Asaph had somehow refrained from speaking these corrupt thoughts in the hearing of others because if these words had been proclaimed, or in the case of Asaph the musician, if these lyrics had been set to song, they could have misled the younger generation:

            “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed your children.” - 73:15

Yet, the contrast of the life of a righteous man like Asaph compared to the prosperous wicked life of the man who had no fear of God continued to confounded this great Levite. That is until he went to the sanctuary of God and put things in perspective from the divine point of view:

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” - 73:16-17

Asaph credits the Lord with having been faithful and believes the Lord had never left him during this struggle between these two conflicting world views. Asaph says the Lord held him by his right hand through the struggles of this learning process and will continue to guide Asaph into eternal glory. (73:21-24)

When Asaph’s physical life eventually fails, God will be his strength and his portion forever (73:26). This is contrary to the ultimate fate of the godless wicked who will also perish physically, but will be eternally destroyed. (73:27)

Asaph has come full circle from 73:1 to 73:28 to begin and end this psalm confident that God is good and that it is good to be near God. This is the message the lyrics of Asaph's songs will proclaim. Asaph ends this song saying so:
            “I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” 73:28
Eumetadotos (Gr) – Generous in Giving (Eng) – the compound Greek word eumetadotos appears only one time in the NT and never is found in the papyri from that time. The prefix eu- in the word eumetadotos is added to the Greek word metadotos which means “give generously.” Metadotos is used by John the Baptists in Luke 3:11 when he tells Jews to be generous in their giving. In Ephesians 4:28 Paul tells the Ephesians to work with their hands so they have something to metadotos to those in need. By adding the prefix eu- to the well-known word metadotos (“give generously”) in 1 Timothy 6:18 Paul seems to be intensifying the meaning of “giving freely and spontaneously” that is captured by metadotos. Paul adds the eu- to make it eumetadotos which is a unique word used only in 1 Timothy 6:18 in the NT and nowhere in the papyri. In 1 Timothy 6:18 Paul is addressing the wealthy in Ephesus to encourage them to do good deeds, be socially minded and to eumetadotos (be willing to give and give generously and spontaneously with an open hand.)
I will not allow myself to be envious of the “good” life ungodly people enjoy or jealous of the “success” worldly people attain.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Discernment concerning truth and deception


Avoid distractions and interference

A first century column stands in front of the Rothschild House in the Old City Jerusalem. More photos.
An on-site chart and diagram with details of Mazar's excavation discoveries of the walls and gates from the days of Solomon and the kings of Judah located on the Ophel south of the Temple. (Details and video here. Dr. Eilat Mazar's excavation blog.)

Someone to Quote

"Confess your sins, not your neighbor's sins."

Something to Ponder

"IT IS TIME to get a Bible and start taking it to church. If you do not use it there, then it is time to find a new church.”
- Galyn Wiemers

Here’s a Fact

Xerses’ (or, Ahasuerus’) new queen Esther is identified as Queen Amestris. Persian queen Amestris is recorded in Persian records and archaeology as the replacement for Queen Vashti in 479 BC which would be Xerxes 7th year that is recorded in Esther 2:16-17.


"The lips of the righteous know what is fitting,
but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse."

- Proverbs 10:32

Coach’s Corner

You change your final destination by first changing your direction.

Isaiah 18
New International Version (NIV)
A Prophecy Against Cush
Woe to the land of whirring wings     along the rivers of Cush,

which sends envoys by sea     in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
    to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech,     whose land is divided by rivers.

All you people of the world,     you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains,     you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds,     you will hear it.

This is what the Lord says to me:     “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine,     like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone     and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,     and cut down and take away the spreading branches.

They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey     and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer,     the wild animals all winter.
At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty
from a people tall and smooth-skinned,     from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech,     whose land is divided by rivers—
the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.
Proverbs 21
New International Version (NIV)
In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water     that he channels toward all who please him.

A person may think their own ways are right,     but the Lord weighs the heart.

To do what is right and just     is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart—     the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit     as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A fortune made by a lying tongue     is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

The violence of the wicked will drag them away,     for they refuse to do what is right.

The way of the guilty is devious,     but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on a corner of the roof     than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
The wicked crave evil;     their neighbors get no mercy from them.
When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;     by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.
The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked     and brings the wicked to ruin.
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor     will also cry out and not be answered.
A gift given in secret soothes anger,     and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous     but terror to evildoers.
Whoever strays from the path of prudence     comes to rest in the company of the dead.
Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;     whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,     and the unfaithful for the upright.
Better to live in a desert     than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
The wise store up choice food and olive oil,     but fools gulp theirs down.
Whoever pursues righteousness and love     finds life, prosperity and honor.
One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty     and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues     keep themselves from calamity.
The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—     behaves with insolent fury.
The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,     because his hands refuse to work.
All day long he craves for more,     but the righteous give without sparing.
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—     how much more so when brought with evil intent!
A false witness will perish,     but a careful listener will testify successfully.
The wicked put up a bold front,     but the upright give thought to their ways.
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan     that can succeed against the Lord.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle,     but victory rests with the Lord.

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