What Are You Doing God?
Psalm 73 is a particularly honest and open-hearted admission on the part of the Psalmist. He admits his secret envy of godless and arrogant people who live in apparent carefree selfishness. “My feet almost slipped,” he writes (v. 2), “when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He goes on to say, “This is what the wicked are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth” (v. 12) while the righteous on the other hand “are plagued all day long” – it’s just not right!
But he also realises that he is not seeing thing as they really are. “When my heart was grieved and my spirit was embittered I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you” (v. 21-22). In other words, his envy made him blind to reality. Envy is a poison for the soul and we forget who we are and all we have been given by God. Faith is not about personal gain or even happiness or well-being – it’s actually about God himself. As the Palmist has it, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever” (v. 26).
Portion here means ‘your piece of the pie,’ your inheritance – the bit that belongs to you. Faith is not an elixir for the troubles of the world but is gives us hope that is stronger than death – and will outlast the problems of this life. Which is hardly surprising, for our ‘piece of the pie’ is nothing so fleeting as wealth or health which are so vulnerable to the vagaries of circumstance. Our hope is not just in things from God, so much as in God himself. Our ultimate future is wrapped up in his nearness and love, not in the appropriation of things.
Oddly enough, the real and substantial things are the things most people consider ethereal and weak while the apparently substantial things are nothing more than passing shadows. Our envy is therefore poorly informed and the pride of the godless is a vain imagination. Jesus turned all these notions on their head. In the Kingdom of God, up is down, weakness is strength, poor is rich and fame is vain.
Let us not be duped by the endless barrage of the voices that tell us what makes our lives substantial – the vain glories. Let us put our hope in the greater glory, “You will take me into glory” (v. 24), the glory of looking upon the face of God, being known by him and loved by him. Nothing else matters.