Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But 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.
This post is really about the entire 73rd Psalm but I thought its essence was captured in the first three verses. As I read through the Book of Psalms, which is preceded by the Book of Job, I begin to realize how the lessons of Job were learned and written about by King David.
In the Book of Job, Job questions God as to how the wicked appear to prosper while Job, a good and righteous man, suffered. Here in the first three verses, King David writes about having expectations of God. When those expectations were not met, David confesses he almost fell into the trap of arrogance. The trap where we assume that since God did not meet our expectations then there must be no God.
David goes on to write about how the wicked prosper. He writes about them going through life scoffing at God and suffering no consequences. It is the same complaint that Job had in his story.
In verse 13 David writes that trying to maintain his righteousness felt like a waste of time.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
David then writes that to give up was to betray what is right and realized his duty as king was to stay righteous for his people. (Verses 14-15)
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
In verses 21 and 22 David confesses, like Job, when times turned tough he questioned God and his faith was tested. And like Job, although he may have questioned God he did not lose his faith.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
David did not give up on righteousness and take the easy path of the wicked.
In verses 23 through 26 David writes how through the tough times you must open your heart to God and not close it like the wicked.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[a] of my heart and my portion forever.
Finally in verse 27 David writes about the balance in the universe. There is a price to pay for not keeping God in your heart. How and when that price is paid is not for us to question or decide, for that is vanity and arrogance. What is important is to keep your heart open for God.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
King David and Job learned the same lesson about the trap of arrogance.
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