Psalm 73: 8-11.
They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
The heart of mankind does not change from age to age. This psalm was probably written in the post-exilic period, which my research says was 516 b.c.–a.d.70. Israel had returned to Jerusalem from a long captivity. They were very familiar with the attitudes described in this psalm.
All of the attitudes described in this psalm can be plainly seen around the world today. Christians are mocked, tormented, and executed for their beliefs. Satan, of course, is the true enemy, but he works through the haughty attitudes of the powerful–all of whom are eventually overcome and replaced by others through whom Satan continues to work.
I watched just a short portion of a video this morning in which the leader of an organization was talking about the importance of “Forced Behavior.” It sounded like brainwashing to me, but the spin was that all people need to understand and behave according to the standards of this organization, and when that goal is accomplished, the world will be at peace. Those who continue to resist, or dissent, will be “dealt with.” A little vague, isn’t it?
To set one’s mouth against the heavens seems futile to me. Shaking one’s fist in God’s face and saying, “YOU don’t exist!” is often the mantra of those who seek absolute power. As for their tongues walking through the earth, that is a reality in this day of communications via radio, internet, and television. It is good to understand that those same tools are being used to teach and preach God’s Word, too.
I was intrigued by v. 10: “Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.” Here is another translation of this verse:
Therefore his people return here,BlueLetterBible
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
This is Asaph’s perspective on the wicked, the oppressor, who has “friends” who are just like him. They tend to gather together, questioning God, and taking everything they can get their hands on (draining the waters of a full cup). I looked in several other places, and it seems to be the consensus that this is a difficult passage to set into the context. I couldn’t help but consider how tyrants in the earth over all of history have gained power and control.
How does any oppressor control the people? By twisting their minds with “new” ways of thinking; by controlling the education of the children; and by making the people totally dependent upon the government–taking control of all financial assets. Most important, they rely on the complacency of people who have become comfortable and lazy, feeling secure without exerting any efforts of their own to brace up their security.