Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
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.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works. (Psalm 73:1-28 ESV)
I couldn’t help but put the whole Psalm to capture the Psalmists lesson. He comments on observing those in the world he succeed and yet do not know God. In fact, there are many who are rich who despise God. This doesn’t make sense in the Promised Land where God has promised prosperity to those who are faithful to him. In fact, it is so disconcerting that the psalmist nearly forsakes the Lord. He finds the truth only when he goes into the sanctuary of God. It is there that he gains a true view of the rich and the world. The wicked will perish in the end. As for the psalmist, he finds God to be his joy, a joy like no other, a joy that no riches can buy or ever hope to attain. In terms of joy, he is far richer than that with “prosperous ease.” How much we need to be in the sanctuary of God, worshiping alongside God’s people! This is where God gives us a true view of the world and this is where we find God to be our joy.
What shapes our view of there best things of life if we don’t look to God’s Word? How does God’s Word challenge this view?
Commit yourself to regular attendance in worship in the sanctuary and ask God for this joy.
McCheyne’s reading plan: 2 Ki 19, He 1, Ho 12, Ps 73