But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.Psalm 73:2-3
When you were a new Christian, were you troubled by the feeling that becoming a child of God ought to make life easier for you because you had become the object of a heavenly Father's love and care, but instead you found things became worse? You finally found yourself frustrated and depressed, especially when you saw that the ungodly around you were often enjoying life to the full. There are many Christians who struggle with such a problem. It is this very problem that is brought before us in Psalm 73.
The problem is stated for us in the opening verses. What was bothering the psalmist was the apparent contradiction between what he had been taught in the Scriptures--that God was good to the upright and to those who were pure in heart--and his experience in life. He was envious, he said, of the arrogant and disturbed by the prosperity of the wicked. That prosperity seemed to him to be a direct contradiction to what he had been taught about God. He had been told that if you are
upright and pure in heart, that is, you had learned to lay hold of the righteousness that God provides and were cleansed by His grace, then God would be good to you, take care of you, and watch over you.
Instead, this man was finding his own situation to be difficult and very discouraging, but the wicked around him, the ungodly, seemed to prosper, and everything was going well with them. This bothered him greatly. He could not reconcile this. It troubled him so terribly that it created a deep resentment and envy in his heart. Ultimately he found himself threatened with a complete loss of faith. His feet had almost slipped, he had almost stumbled, and he had come to the place where he was almost ready to renounce his faith.
Here is one of the great values of the Psalms for us. These wonderful folk songs of faith reflect our own experience. They are an enactment of what most of us are going through, have gone through, or will go through in the walk of faith. There have been many Christians troubled like this. They have been swayed by the seeming logic of the argument of the infidel or atheist. They say,
How can your God be both a God of love and power? If He's a God of power, as you Christians say He is and can do all things, then He cannot be a God of love, or He would do something to correct injustices. New Christians are often tremendously affected by this argument and become discouraged and frightened as they face the seeming logic of it. How can God be both a God of love and power and yet allow His own to suffer so terribly at times while the unrighteous seem to prosper and everything goes well with them? That was the problem this man was facing.
Lord, help me to trust, despite what I often see around me, that You are a God of both infinite power and infinite love.
God does not wince at our hard questions and weak faith. Are we learning to be honest with God, exposing ourselves to the probing of the Spirit?