Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled. My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:1-3
In these beginning verses, the writer has lost sight of the goodness of God. He looks out on humanity and sees the evil of mankind and how they seem to get away with every thing that they desire. It looks like they are granted all that they want. They have the best of everything and never go hungry.
For there is no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. They have more than heart could wish. Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease. They increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocence. Psalm 73:4-5,7b,12-13.
As the notes show, Asaph observes that the attitudes and actions of the wicked seem to place no constraints upon them. They appear not to have any trouble and their pride and violence are not hidden, but displayed like jewelry. He feels that he has “cleansed his heart in vain.” It is as if he is wondering is it all worth it. Is it worth doing the right thing, living in a Godly manner and following after the Lord. Like today, he sees wickedness at every turn. Then he understands what life and living on this earth is all about.
I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end. I am continually with you. You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel and afterward receive me to glory. For indeed, those who are far from you shall perish, but it is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:17,23-24,27a,28.
Asaph and others only had a small fraction of the scriptures to lean upon and yet they understood the how and why of living for God. They were able to look past the wickedness of those that do not know God. They saw that the pleasures of this world would not last, but that the blessing of God would go on forever. They understood that whatever our situation in life is, that the Lord is there to walk every step of the way with us. HE has promised to give us the strength to endure every event that HE allows to come our way. HE brings us out victorious. We, with the greatest event ever told, have so much more the ability to fight off the temptation of giving up the fight.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. Luke 2: 8-12.
May we all take this great joy and great news and live out our life for this same Jesus who was born so long ago.
Pastoral Shepherding Assistant