A compelling idea that folds in the face of reality…



Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.4 For they have no pain; their bodies are sound and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not plagued like other people. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.

The psalmist starts with a declaration of the nature of God. “God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart”. In the theology of the day, righteous people were blessed by God and sinful people cursed. The assumption is that that psalmist views himself as one of the righteous ones. Then there are the next several verses which challenge what was written in verse 1. Read v.3-6 again.

A theology of “you get what you deserve” resonates with human beings because it seems just. If you do good things, you receive good things. If you do bad things, you receive bad things. But our realities refuse to conform to this simple proposition. Too often this truth is turned on its head. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. This is the psalmist’s point today. Two things I’m pondering this morning.

First, the reality to which the psalmist points is alive and well in our day. It seems wicked people prosper in our world. Deceit and cunning prevail. Too many instances of this to list here. The injustice is hard to swallow. Where is God in all this?

Secondly, I need to be careful not to be too quick to point at others when describing the wicked. Truth is my heart is too often far from the Lord. I wonder how much the description in v.3-6 describes me. Not trying to be a martyr here, just being honest. One must always be careful when confessing other people’s sins. How often am I wicked in the eyes of God?

Lord have mercy on me. Amen.


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