July 8, 2018
PRAY: Ask the Lord to open your ears to hear what He has to teach you through this Psalm.
READ: Psalm 73
If you put two small children in a room to play, it’s not long before you hear the cry of “Mine!” The human heart was born selfish. There is a part of every heart that none of us wants to admit: jealousy and covetousness. We fight it, we hide it, but it’s always there. It’s so easy to see in others and so hard to see in ourselves. We are born evaluating the people around us, comparing them to ourselves – their jobs, their possessions, their lifestyle, even their health. Why do they seem to have it all so effortlessly and it’s so hard for me? When I resent someone, what am I really saying to God? “You haven’t provided for me after I’ve given so much.”
Even when we feel truly blessed by God, do we not quickly attribute our personal success (even our health) as reward for “a life well lived”? I’m embarrassed to say I do. But what, then, can we say about the Godly family that tries and fails, whose health is always an issue? Haven’t you watched as their steadfast faith never wavers, their walks with God deepen as they trudge through devastating health issues? As explained in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Or, when it’s you with the problems of life (a difficult child, struggles to pay the mortgage, enduring a job you hate), do you glance over at the people sailing through life with everything going their way – people who are never seen in church, or even boast against God? They seem to have no consequences for an immoral lifestyle. It’s easy to be mad at them, even at God for the injustice of it all! You’re not alone. We all feel it. But it isn’t a modern problem. The Psalmist Asaph described it perfectly in Psalm 73. He captured all the things I feel. “I saw their prosperity … they have no struggles, they are healthy, free from burdens … free of care they go on amassing wealth” (vs. 3-5,12).
I despise my jealous heart. I’m embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know. Dealing with my attitude is the challenge. Asaph discovered the solution. He was wrought with jealousy of those undeserving, “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood.” He had a transforming experience! Faith was reborn in the presence of the Lord. Jealously fell away and was replaced by an understanding of eternal reward. His realization was that the apparent earthly blessings of the unbeliever are nothing compared to the eternal blessings that his relationship with God brought. “Who have I in heaven but you and earth has nothing I desire besides you” (v. 25).
Do you earnestly seek the presence of God with no strings attached? No expectation of some reward for your actions? Kneel before God, “seek His face.” See if the cares of this world aren’t washed away in the presence of God the Creator, Redeemer, and unfailing friend.
1. Are you sometimes jealous of people with more than you, more success, more possessions, better health? Is it sometimes or often?
2. If the Psalmist Asaph’s attitude of “earth has nothing I desire besides you” was considered 100% surrendered to God, what percentage would you give yourself?
3. Do you have a sanctuary – a place where you have been overwhelmed by God? What keeps you from going there? It may be in church but it may be on your knees in the middle of the night. It may be rocking a sobbing child to sleep. It may be soaking in the vastness of God’s incredible creation. God has met you. Where?
Memorize: Psalm 73:28
1 God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray.
3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well fed.
5 They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people.
6 Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
8 They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn to them and drink in their overflowing words.
11 The wicked say, “How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?”
12 Look at them—the wicked! They are always at ease, and they increase their wealth.
13 Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?
14 For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning.
15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.
16 When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless
17 until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.
18 Indeed, you put them in slippery places; you make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
20 Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, you will despise their image.
21 When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded,
22 I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory.
25 Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.
27 Those far from you will certainly perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all you do.