“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.”Psalm 73:23–24, NIV.
Thank you, great God and Father, for filling our hearts with trust so that we are of good hope, also for those who have not yet found trust. Thank you for giving us courage to face all the questions that arise in human life and for accepting us again and again when we come to you. You know what lies before us. You know the mountains that have to be moved. You know all the things that frustrate us and try to wear us out, and you will take them away. At last your light will shine into all the darkness. This certainty fills us with gladness and thanksgiving. In this faith we are determined to remain steadfast and to press on to victory. Amen.
The context of the words of Psalm 73:23–24, NIV
Psalm 73 in Psalm of Asaph tells us that it was written by the great singer and musician of David and Solomon’s era (1 Chronicles 15:17-19, 16:5-7, 25:6). 1 Chronicles 25:1 and 2 Chronicles 29:30 add that Asaph was a prophet in his musical compositions.
Seeing godless people thrive, even as they hatefully mock God, while believers suffer, leads many people to a crisis of faith. This was the case for Asaph. Using exaggerated imagery, he complains to the Lord that it seems as if evil people have easy lives, while godly people suffer. Further reflection reminds Asaph that sin does lead to consequences, both in this life and the next. He confesses his sins of bitterness and resolves to trust God more deeply.
Psalm 73:23–24 (in verses 23-28) is when Asaph proclaims the assurance of his faith and fellowship with God.
Meaning of the words
"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand"
God had not abandoned Asaph because of Asaph's sin of envying the wicked. He was still with Asaph. Their relationship had not been severed. Asaph felt as if he'd almost fallen away from faith because of bitterness (Psalm 73:1-3)
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked., but God did not let him fall.
Indeed, the reason Israel is still alive today after so many persecutions is due to God's grip on the nation. He promised in Isaiah 43:2 to be with the people of Israel when they pass through the rivers and walk through the fire. He has also promised to be with believers of the church age. When Jesus charged His disciples with the task of proclaiming the gospel throughout the world, He promised: "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Even when believers undergo harsh trials, the Lord is with them. Hebrews 13:5 exhorts believers to be content with what they have, because He has said, "I will never leave nor forsake you." The presence of the Lord is worth infinitely far more than all the wealth which wicked unbelievers temporarily possess (Psalm 73:18–20).
"You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory"
With the new perspective gained at the house of the Lord, Asaph knew that God would guide him in this life and ultimately receive him to glory.
Significantly, Asaph expected God to guide him with His counsel. He expected to hear God’s wisdom and receive guidance through it. He didn’t expect to be guided primarily through feelings, circumstances, or experiences, but to be guided through counsel.
Asaph had the faithful expectation of an afterward of glory. This is a deliberate contrast with the end of the wicked mentioned in verses 17-19. As a godly man, Asaph has his afterward and the wicked will have quite another.
Asaph was grateful not only for the Lord's presence but also for His guidance and assurance of heaven. That guidance is what helped him recover from a crisis of faith (Psalm 73:2–3) to return to a fuller understanding of God's truth (Psalm 73:15–18, 23).
The Lord has a purpose for the lives of His people. He is readily available to guide them to the successful completion of His purpose. Proverbs 3:5–6 says: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way." Romans 12:1–2 gives the requirements for knowing the Lord's will. The first requirement is to present one's body to the Lord as "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable." The second is to refuse to be conformed to the world. The third is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. In verse 2 God's will is described as "good and acceptable and perfect."
When a believer's life on earth ends, he enters heaven to be with the Lord forever (see 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:20–23).
Asaph - one of the people who were appointed by King David to be chief musicians to the temple. Later on we are told that he was one of the chief musicians who were entrusted in performing at the dedication of Solomon’s temple.