I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat.
They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind.
I must admit that I often find it too easy to look around at everyone else living in greater comfort and be envious, and wonder what it would be like to live without struggles of just barely making it. It is easy to dwell on the what ifs, what if I was wealthy, what if I was in perfect health, and good looking and well known and respected, and held much influence. What if I was like so many other people.
Of course I realize that things aren’t always as they seem and that the old adage is right, there is always someone worse off. So why do I even have to struggle with these thoughts?
Then I read Psalm 73 which addresses this directly. Even though I know God by the grace He’s given to me on that fateful day in 1976 (verse 1) doesn’t mean I won’t have struggles to work through (v. 2). Those individuals that I may perceive by their speech or behavior that they don’t know God and couldn’t care less about His existence but none the less are affluent and at ease, they just seem to have it made (v. 4-12). I could almost think that if the godless can be so well off what good is it for me to devote myself to the Lord and not to the extravagances and excesses of this world, as I did pre-1976 (v. 13-14)?
But what a betrayal that would be to the gift of illumination of God’s truth and reality that He graciously gave to me when He opened my eyes so many years ago (verses 22-23). And it is really only when I put my mind and heart in a place that is closest to God, in effect within earshot and eye sight, that it all makes sense; that I can understand the proper perspective of life on this planet (v. 17). Then I realize that the appearances of the affluent and influential can be deceiving and that I was just being stupid and ungrateful (v. 18-22).
If I don’t maintain constant focus on our Lord its easy to lose the clarity that comes from His wisdom and guidance and hope for the future (v. 23-24). Because after all what other source of wisdom and understanding is there really except from God (v.25). Just look anywhere around you, it becomes obvious that one can never get this peace and clarity from any source on this Earth. So if I seek the nearness of God, and make Him my refuge, instead of the security it the things of this world, then I am safe (v. 26-28). For certainly the rule is, “as for me, the nearness of God is my good.” (v. 28) Not the nearness of the world’s goods is my god.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]