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. -- Psalm 73:2-3
David found himself being envious of the wicked and their lifestyle. It appeared to him that they were actually prospering and making their life easier by ignoring God and His commands. David felt like he was diligently pursuing righteousness for nothing. What was the point? These other men cared nothing for God or His ways and they were living the good life while David devoted his life to his God and his life was difficult. He says as much in verses 13-14:
All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.David could not understand what God was doing (or not doing). He says in verse 16 that trying to understand these things seemed to be "a wearisome task". When did David get a glimpse into what God was doing? When he "went into the sanctuary of God". Then and only then was he able to perceive what the end would be for these seemingly successful wicked people.
What God reminded David of in His sanctuary was that everyone far from God will ultimately perish and only those who are near to God will live. David forgot that the greatest blessing that God bestows on His children is Himself.
I needed to be reminded of this today. The events of the last 18 months have sometimes left me right beside David in wondering "Why do the wicked prosper?". I have even found myself sympathizing with David's lament of feeling like all his efforts to please God have been in vain.
If we are honest with ourselves and with God I think we will admit that we feel like this sometimes. Why are people around us who ignore or mock God succeeding while we are struggling so much? For those of us in positions of leadership in the church the question even follows us there. Why are churches who place such a low priority on God's word growing while our church struggles as it faithfully preaches the word? I find, like David, understanding these things to be a wearisome task.
And then God, in His word, reminds me, just as He did David, that I already have all that I need or could ever desire. I have Him. Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus I am now a child of God and my Father has promised to never leave me or forsake me. No amount of worldly or ministerial success could ever equal that. Sometimes our heart and flesh fail us and we envy the wicked around us. Thankfully for us God is our strength and portion when that happens.
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. -- Psalm 73:25-26
All too often my heart and strength fail me. Praise God that when that happens He is my strength and my portion forever.