Day 17: Psalm 73

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?”

This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.

If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
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.

Psalm 73 (NIV)

Is life fair? That depends on where we look for the answer. There is no doubt about it -- God is good to all. But at times, it doesn’t seem so. We can nearly miss seeing His goodness if we focus on the success of the ungodly who seem to have it all: prosperity, favor, and none of the troubles the rest of us deal with. They scoff at truth, are unbelieving, mock God, and think only of themselves. One could be tempted to ask, “Do you see this, God? Why don’t you do something about it?” It makes us wonder if it really matters when we try to do what is right but continue to battle trouble, sickness, and heartache. Does it even matter?

Oh yes, dear ones. It does matter. We need to be careful to not listen to the enemy, who is a liar. As we are faithful to study and meditate on Scripture and keep our hearts in tune with God, we see that God sees and knows but may not immediately settle accounts. Those who are living only for themselves are headed for disaster if they refuse to believe and make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

Verses 23 and 24 tell us that God loves us and is holding us by the hand. He will keep guiding us with wisdom and counsel. God can use the circumstances in our lives--pleasant or otherwise--to make us more like Him, and He will reveal His power through our experiences as we continue to believe, trust, and praise Him.

God’s continued presence is the greatest treasure life can hold!

Jean Miller

Brad Taylor