Psalm 73:15

ESV If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
NIV If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.
NASB If I had said, 'I will speak this way,' Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
CSB If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.
NLT If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.
KJV If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

What does Psalm 73:15 mean?

The prior verses (Psalm 73:4–14) have a melodramatic, almost over-emotional tone. This is deliberate and done for at least two reasons. It emphasizes the depth of the pain this problem brings and highlights the main points of angst. Suffering is difficult enough to endure. When we see examples of those who are evil, even hateful, who yet have earthly success, it's natural to feel bitterness (Psalm 73:13).

Moving into the last part of this psalm, Asaph clearly notes that those cynical, defeated attitudes are not right. They may be natural temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13), but they aren't in line with the truth. Looking at the whole of God's truth, Asaph could remind himself that he ought to know better. If he agreed that God was unfair, he would betray the younger generation of God's people. If he abandoned the faith after leading worship in the temple, what message would his defection convey to them? Similarly, those who teach and preach God's Word need to set a consistent example of faith other believers can follow.

In his first letter to Timothy, a young pastor, the apostle Paul instructed: "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). The apostle Paul led a disciplined life of faith so he would not become disqualified to receive a reward after preaching to others (1 Corinthians 9:26–27).

This perspective does not change the natural pain and anger Asaph felt. Nor does it explain why some particular person is allowed to succeed despite their sin (Psalm 73:16). This right view merely gives Asaph—and us—reason to continue to trust in God. This kind of self-discipline is hard but worthwhile.
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