“Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.” (Psalm 73.1–3)
When the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem, Asaph (who penned this psalm) was nominated by his fellow Levites as the lead singer. Later, David made him the worship leader over the choir. Outwardly, Asaph sang praises to God, but inwardly he questioned God’s justice: “Why do evil people prosper while the righteous have it so hard?”
It seems like whenever we go through difficult times our eyes glance over to those who have it better than we do…or so we think. Asaph said, “They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.” Sound familiar?
Of course, at these times we don’t see clearly. Our vision is blurred because of our pain…and dare I say…self-pity? We imagine things to be one way, but that isn’t the truth. Our basic problem is that we are comparing ourselves with others. The Bible tells us that this isn’t wise (2 Cor. 10.12). It leads to either envy or pride, depending upon whether we think the other person is better off or worse off than us.
Asaph’s eyes were on the wrong things, and his feet almost slipped. If he didn’t come to his senses he would have led his followers into a ravine. What restored his sanity?
“Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.” (Psalm 73.17–18)
Asaph went back to church and got a fresh vision of God! And in that light he saw the wicked in their real state. They are like rolling stones headed for the edge of a cliff. But Asaph also saw himself. He realized how foolish he had been to ignore all that he had been given. God was his strength and portion forever! What more did he need?
It is human nature to take for granted our blessings, ignorantly imagining that others have it better than we do. That is the first step on the slippery slope. Instead, we ought to consider all the blessings we’ve received and thank God for them. We will scale the mountain heights, and the LORD will be our portion forever!
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