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. 15 If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,” I would have been untrue to the circle of your children. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
The psalmist is frustrated, confused, even angry with God. The psalmist writes of his faithfulness to God’s will and ways and yet he struggles – while wicked people who defy God are the ones who prosper. It’s not right. What gets my attention is how the writer responds to this time of internal crisis. Instead of walking further away from the Lord the psalmist draws near via worship.
When I’m in a hard place in life, my temptation is to put distance between me and God: to stop reading scripture or praying or worshipping or whatever. The Lord always brings me back, but there are times when I respond to adversity by having something of a pity party. And I find when I do, the voices of doubt get louder.
I love the way the psalmist flips this. Instead of walking away from God he “went into the sanctuary of God” (v.17). And when he did, the Lord not only received him but revealed to him an entire reality he couldn’t see on his own. The voices of doubt faded into the background. Turns out the prosperity of the wicked was fleeting. In time the wicked reap what they sow.
Lord come to the aid of those struggling today. Give us grace to draw closer to you when we want to run away instead. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.