Psalm 73:12 Such are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning… 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
The writer was clearly frustrated by the fact that evil persons appeared to prosper while he and others suffered in their righteousness. What the heck God? That’s not the way it was supposed to be. “…my soul was embittered… I was pricked in heart”. He was more than angry, he was deeply hurt on the inside. Crushed in spirit. It’s pain in the deepest part of the self.
And like many of us do, the writer responded in regrettable ways, “I was like a brute beast toward you”. A brute beast is out of control, being of no use to anyone. Perhaps even afflicting pain on others intentionally or not. It’s not a pretty picture. But then there’s this:
“Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”
In the bible the right hand represents ownership, power, or control. In essence, the entire time the writer was acting out the Lord never let go of him and continued to recognize him as a child of God. This is the kind of stuff I love in the book of Psalms. I am grateful for the writer’s transparency because there are times when I am disappointed – or even pissed off – at God. When life unfolds in ways that appear to me to be unfair. When I see good people trampled and evil triumph. When I step out in faith but get nowhere. It can feel like God has abandoned me.
Whatever our circumstances, there are two things I’m taking away from this passage. First, it’s okay to be upset with God and let him know. Second, even when we turn our backs on God for a time, God never turns his back on us.
Lord there are times when we can act like petulant children – kicking and screaming when things don’t go our way. Thank you that, even when we’re at our worst, you never let go of us. Amen.