Torchbearers for Christ
Friday, January 19, 2018
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PSALM 73

The Book of Psalms is probably one of the most loved books in the Bible, possibly because it pictures the life of the believer in its varied experiences of joy and sorrow, victory, failure, forgiveness and perplexity. Psalm 73 tells us the experience of a man who found himself envying rich, ungodly people; how he overcame the problem and then realised how truly rich he was.
 
THE ENVIOUS MAN. Envy can be a disastrous experience. Proverbs 14:30 describes envy as the rottenness of the bones. Cain’s envy of Abel led to the world’s first murder and the Jewish leaders’ envy of Jesus led them to murder Him (Matt. 27:18). King Saul’s envy of David (1 Sam. 18) led to his hatred of David and his attempts to kill him.
 
The man in Psalm 73 was a godly person, but he made the grave mistake of envying the prosperity of wicked, ungodly men. He saw how they seemed to have no troubles when compared to godly people. They were proud, violent, and they had more than heart could wish. They were corrupt and they despised God and yet they appeared to have peace when the time came for them to die. The more the Psalmist thought on these things, the more despondent he became. He began to feel that life was not fair. Here he was, doing his best to please the Lord and yet those who had no time for God seemed to be more blessed than he was. So he began to wonder whether living a godly life with all its struggles was really worthwhile. As he tells us in verse 2, he had nearly lost his foothold; he was all but ready to abandon his faith in a God who appeared to bless the wicked more than His own people.
 
THE ENLIGHTENED MAN. How did our friend recover his faith in God and see things as they really were? The turning point in his experience came in verse 17. He tells us how he went into the sanctuary of God and then he understood their end. The Lord showed him the big picture. Ungodly, wealthy men are not to be envied; they are to be pitied. There will be an awful awakening when those who have lived without God will be consumed with terrors (vs. 19). He realised how foolish he had been, and ignorant, with no more understanding than a beast (vs. 22).
 
THE ENRICHED MAN. It was in God’s house that our friend, like ourselves, saw just how he himself was truly rich (see 1 Cor. 1:5). He realised that he had God’s abiding presence and support (vs. 23). God was guiding his life in the right way, he was assured of eternal life in the hereafter, his love for the Lord was renewed, and though his outward man would perish he was assured that one day “he would dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. His message for all of us is found in verse 28: “It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord that I may declare all his works”.  
 
What message does Psalm 73 have for all of us? Let us always “look unto Jesus” and never give place to envy; rather, let us remind ourselves constantly how richly God has blessed us with “all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus”.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.