Psalm 73: All Are Yours
April 2, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Have you ever felt as if the people who really have all the fun are those who are not following God? That is the feeling that this psalmist was wrestling with. He starts out by stating the pious truth that he knows he should believe: “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart” (73:1).
But soon enough the reality comes in hard. Why? “I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (73:3). How is it that all those who do not follow God manage to do so well in life if it is really true that the “pure in heart” are so blessed by God? In his dismay at the reality of the prosperity of the wicked, the psalmist then goes to great length to record just how prosperous they are! (73:4-12). This description culminates with this statement that many Christians have felt, though few have been so brave as to say it: “Behold these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches” (73:12).
Have you not ever noticed this? After all, is it not the case that some of the most notorious swindlers end up making a lot of money? Ah, says the psalmist, but there is a perspective that you must add to your consideration! You may feel that it is “in vain that you have kept your heart clean and washed your hands in innocence,” but then go into the “sanctuary of God” (73:13). That is, consider things from the standing of God and his holiness, his authority, his sovereignty—and on his timescale.
What is the real story here? As this psalmist went into the presence of God, then “I discerned their end” (73:13). The wicked are not truly prosperous after all. Consider their end! Think about what happens to them finally! From that perspective, “truly you set them in slippery places” (73:18). When God allows a person to live in prosperity and wickedness at the same time, then you need really fear for that person. God is no longer warning him with pangs of conscience and trouble. He is allowing him to enjoy his moment, his very brief moment from the perspective of eternity. And all that money and prosperity are just “slippery places” as he falls down an eternal well of misery. “You make them fall to ruin” (73:18). We should not envy the prosperous wicked; we should pity them—and preach the gospel to them!
Now, says the psalmist, let’s contrast this experience of the prosperous wicked, with the experience of the person following God!
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (73:23-26).
The follower of God has these extraordinary advantages:
1) God is continually with him.
2) God protects him (holds him by his right hand).
3) God guides with wise counsel.
4) God will receive him into glory!
5) Heaven is the joyful experience of God himself—and the believer in Christ has God!
6) And on earth there is nothing more desirable than God—and the believer has fellowship of God here too!
7) Physical pain and disaster (“my flesh may fail”) and emotional difficulties (“my heart may fail”) can come to even the believer, but God is still the strength of his heart and his portion forever!
Therefore, Christian, do not envy the wicked! Instead, rejoice that you are God’s child; that he loves you; that in Christ you have the most valuable treasure of all; that you have the greatest experience that man or woman can have; that you are Christ’s!
The world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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