“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Psalm 73:1-2
Over the past couple of years I have struggled balancing grace and justice concerning someone whose evil behavior had disrupted my life in a significant ways. I have questioned God as I have wrestled with how He had dealt with this person. I felt like they had received favor and blessing while our family struggled to move past the ripple affect of their sinful actions. I had been fixed on seeking punishment rather than looking to extend grace and forgiveness. Bitterness had taken root and with it the fruit of envy and resentment. Recently the Lord reminded me of Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” My bones were rotting away!
Have you ever been caught up in the comparison trap like Asaph was in Psalm 73? Asaph’s faith in God’s goodness was slipping as he compared the lives of the ungodly with his own. He could only see how the wicked seemed to have it all together while he was plagued and punished every day. His focus on others caused him to have a pity party! Have you ever thought to yourself, “why do they get all the breaks while I try so hard with nothing to show for it?” When we compare ourselves with others we become jealous of them and eventually bitter toward God for allowing others to prosper while we struggle.
Asaph’s perspective changed when he “entered the sanctuary of God” and “understood their final destiny.” (V17) When caught in the comparison trap the only way out is to spend time with God, confess your envy and focus on the eternal reality. The destiny of the wicked is ruin, but for us who trust Him as our Savior our destiny is sealed and secure in heaven. Once he fixed his thoughts on God he could see clearly the goodness of God: “I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.” (Vs. 23-24)
Once Asaph regained an eternal perspective of his life, he no longer said, “poor me” or “what about those people?” but he now declared, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”(V 25) When tempted to compare your life with the prosperity of the ungodly, look beyond the temporary and focus on your eternal reward – life forever in the presence of your good, good heavenly Father.
After acknowledging my envy and seeking God’s forgiveness and wisdom I now have a new eternal perspective along with a peace that has given me renewed life and trust in God’s goodness. “Lord, as for me, it is good to be near to You, my refuge. I will tell of all you have done for me! Keep my eyes on you and remind me of my heavenly destiny.” Amen
Seeking the Nearness of God,