Jump Start # 3510
Psalms 73:16 “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight.”
Asaph in this Psalm pulls the curtains back on the world we live in and shows us the cold realty that many feel but hate to admit. The wicked seem to be the only ones not suffering. The righteous are trying. The righteous want to obey God, but it seems the wicked, who ignore God, are prospering more and better. It just doesn’t seem right.
Our verse today reveals the true feelings of the Psalmist. It was troublesome to him. Earlier he admitted, “my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped” (2). God is good, but why do the good suffer and not the wicked?
Here are some thoughts for us:
First, what I know and what I see often do not match. I understand what the Bible teaches, but what I see in the world seems so different. And, that is enough for some to conclude that what they believed is no longer correct. What their eyes observe must be the truth. Crime does pay. Some do get away with murder. Why not be selfish and get all the stuff that your eyes desires?
This disconnect between what God says and what we observe in the world can be very troubling. Could it be that it is our vision and not our faith that is troubled? When we walk by faith and not by sight, what we know overcomes what we see.
Second, it bothers us that the wicked are not bothered. It’s one thing that they have chosen to ignore God, but as the text says, they are at ease in life. It doesn’t bother them. It bothers us more than it bothers them. We think about their soul more than they think about their soul. That is always the case with the spiritual. We see beyond the present. We look into the eternal, while the wicked are only interested in today.
Third, the measure of spiritual success can never be counted in the material or the physical. So, the wicked are prosperous, fat and proud, those things mean nothing to Heaven. I pulled out of the church parking lot the other day, in my car that has more than 150,000 miles on it. Immediately, a rich blue Lamborghini drove up along side of me. The young driver looked over at me with a smug smile on his face. Was he better than me because of the car he drove? Was I jealous? Not for a second. I thought, I’d hate to pay the insurance on that thing. There’s no room for car seats for my grandkids. Sure can’t put much luggage in that car. I’d probably get a ticket if I had that car. I’d worry every time I parked it that someone would either steal it or bump into it.
I have a great family. I have forgiveness through the Lord. I’m Heaven bound. I have the privilege of teaching the amazing word of God. I am blessed and I am content. Success is never measured by something that be crunched at the next intersection. One doesn’t need to look at his 401 to know that God has been good to him.
For the Psalmist in our passage today, everything changed when he went into the sanctuary of the Lord (17). Then he got the right perspective and the right understanding. The enduring blessing is knowing the Lord.
The unevenness of life gets smoothed out in eternity. It is there that everyone will see truly what is important. The rich farmer of Luke’s gospel was only interested in bigger barns. He learned too late what really mattered. The account of the rich man and Lazarus is another powerful example of what matters. When the rich man died, his purple clothes, fine food and gated house didn’t help him at all.
It is in the sanctuary that everything makes sense. And, if that be the case, we ought to spend more time in the sanctuary. We ought to reflect and observe God’s word carefully. We need to take our eyes off the glitter and gold of the world and keep them focused upon the Lord.
Maybe Asaph ought to have looked less at his neighbors and spent more time thanking the Lord for the blessings he has received. Maybe I ought to do the same!