In my job over the last 12 years, I have been in some “monster” houses. I have been in master baths that were bigger than my master bedroom! There have been some that the master suite was bigger than my house. Not only were they big, they were absolutely beautiful. It would not be difficult, to covet what others have. If we did, we would not be the first to do that.
In the reading this morning, the struggle with greed and coveting take on a different twist. Even though it is a different twist, it is probably one that we understand. Listen to the psalmist:
“But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”
(Psalm 73:2-3, NLT)
Asaph, the author of Psalm 73 (and several other Psalms), confesses his struggle with a problem, that many of us may be able to identify with. You would think that the God who made everything, and owns “the cattle on a thousand hills”, would bestow material and financial blessings on those that serve Him. We often wonder why good things happen to bad people, and not to good people.
In Psalm 73, Asaph takes us through his journey with this struggle, and it is probably one that we need to pay attention to. Our society, and the marketing industry, has preyed on our desire for things. When we begin to question why God has allowed others to have material and financial prosperity, and not us — we are struggling with an old, old problem.
Let’s notice some things in Asaph’s journey:
“They seem to live such painless lives;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They sear pride like a jeweled necklace
and clothe themselves with cruelty.
Those fat cats have everything
their hears could every wish for!”
(Psalm 73:4-6, NLT)
“Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.”
(Psalm 73:13-14, NLT)
It is not hard to see the struggle he is having! God, I’m being good, why can’t I have what they do? Do you care about me? Does it make any sense to be good, if I am not going to be rewarded for it?
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant —
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.”
(Psalm 73:21-22, NLT)
“Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.”
(Psalm 73:25-26, NLT)
Lord, there are some things that are more important than health and wealth. Being in a relationship with the God of the universe, is more meaningful than anything this world has to offer. He then wraps his journey up, with these words:
“But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
(Psalm 73:28, NLT)