As for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. – Psalm 73:2-3
When we consider the activities and successes of the self-important who seem to be so carefree and uninhibited, it’s easy for our minds, our hearts, and eventually our lives to go off in the wrong direction.
We can relate to the psalmist’s angst when those who are so apparently opposed to God, to His word, and to anything that is morally right appear to flourish. They seem to do well financially. They seem to do well physically. They always look good. They travel in the right way. They use the right moisturizer. They look magnificent. Meanwhile, we’re trying to do the God thing, the Jesus thing—and nothing seems to go right. It can all feel so futile.
When he looked at the prosperity of the wicked, the psalmist began to entertain the idea that he had followed God in vain (Psalm 73:13)—until he adjusted his perspective:
“I went into the sanctuary of God;(Psalm 73:17-19)
then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!”
As we learn to sit in God’s presence and have a view of this world that takes account of His divinity and our eternity, we come to understand, along with the psalmist, that there is a higher throne than all the thrones of this world. Justice will be served, though not in the courts of this world’s kingdoms, which will all be mere footnotes in history.
Do not become discouraged by those who seem to prosper unduly. Jesus Christ is King. He’s in charge of the great reversals, turning us from darkness to light, from sadness to joy, from death to life. God will achieve His purposes. He is holding you and guiding you—and, one day, you will stand with Him in glory (Psalm 73:23-24). There is nothing this world can offer that compares to Him and no reason to envy those who have everything here but nothing of ultimate value. When you are slipping into envy, look at Him, adjust your perspective, and say with the psalmist:
“Whom have I in heaven but you?(Psalm 73:25-26)
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”