Father, at times, the wicked seem to prosper while the innocent suffer. I bring my concerns to You in prayer now.
Read PSALM 73
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow does the fact that God is guiding you change your outlook on certain situations?
The turning-point for the writer of this psalm comes when he enters the sanctuary of God (17). Whatever happened there made him think not of the good fortune or wealth of the arrogant wrongdoers, but of what their final destiny was going to be.
It may be much easier to affirm this concept in the light of the teaching of Jesus, but in Old Testament times there was no such clarity. This psalm is a revelation before its time. Aware of his own potential to lose the foothold of his faith, the writer is suddenly made aware that the sinner who gives the impression of being protected by his prosperity is in fact on even more slippery ground eternally (18). This comes as a great boost to his faith. The very last words of the psalm indicate that he is not going to keep what he has learned to himself. That is why he put pen to paper.
There is no need to be jealous of other people: the rich, the famous, the successful. It will be their final destiny that is the deciding factor, and only God knows that.
What can you do to “be near God” and make the Lord your refuge today?
Forgive me, Lord, when I fall into the sin of jealousy as I see others’ success. Help me to keep my eyes fixed upon You.
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