1 God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. 3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well fed. 5 They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people. 6 Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild. 8 They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn to them and drink in their overflowing words. 11 The wicked say, “How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?” 12 Look at them—the wicked! They are always at ease, and they increase their wealth. 13 Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? 14 For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning. 15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless 17 until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny. 18 Indeed, you put them in slippery places; you make them fall into ruin. 19 How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors. 20 Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, you will despise their image. 21 When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, 22 I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory. 25 Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. 27 Those far from you will certainly perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all you do. — Psalm 73
A Change in Perspective
by Sara Stacy
Avenue South Campus
Recently I was able to go on a trip to Seattle. It happened to coincide with the solar eclipse that took the nation captive. As my trip neared, I realized I would actually be in the airplane in the path of totality as we landed. While I remembered seeing an eclipse as a young child, I truly couldn’t fathom how it could be as big a deal as everyone was making it to be. But the breathtaking moments we got to experience from our unique perspective in the air erased any doubts I had.
The same held true for Asaph in Psalm 73, and for us as believers today. We can need a change of perspective as we see how the wicked seem to prevail. They prosper in what appears to be a carefree life, and our hearts grow envious. As we experience struggle after struggle in the face of the present pride of the wicked, we can doubt that God is actually at work in our lives.
Our prayers can then echo those of Asaph in verse 14, where all day long we cry out and then wake up to a morning full of new punishments. We question and attempt to understand the God who is full of mercy and justice. We choose to let doubt and envy invade our lives, pushing us to wonder inwardly if God even cares.
But do you see what happens in the middle of Asaph’s lament? There’s a sudden turn as he encounters God in the sanctuary. God’s presence makes all the difference, in Asaph’s perspective and in ours. A change of perspective comes when we pause in our attempts to understand the work of God and instead enter into His very presence.
When we consider our eternity in contrast with the present prospering of the wicked, God breathes into us a realization that we are secure in our futures in Him. When we step into the knowledge and understanding of a God who loves us and who reminds us of our eternal hope and reward, we can see Him holding us by our right hand. When we choose to change from a present to a future focus, we see God in every piece of our lives. Our hearts will sing, just as Asaph did in the final lines, that it is good to be near God. He is our refuge when our minds fail us, and we will tell of all His goodness.
- Are you in the midst of a season where your life reflects the first half of this psalm? If so, pray through the second half of Asaph’s words over the next few days.
- In what area are you needing a change in perspective? Take time today to reflect on God’s work in your life.
- What doubt have you chosen to hold on to over the truth of God’s goodness and presence with you? How can it be replaced by His presence today?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.