I Almost Slipped!!
Psalm 73:1–14 (NASB95)
1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! 2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat. 5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them. 7 Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot. 8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high. 9 They have set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue parades through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return to this place, And waters of abundance are drunk by them. 11 They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth. 13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure And washed my hands in innocence; 14 For I have been stricken all day long And chastened every morning.
Why I Almost Slipped: Envying prosperity seen in the wicked
Asaph was a chief musician, tasked with instructing and uplifting God’s people through music. He should certainly know and trust in God’s goodness, with this duty. But he shifts his speech to reveal the struggles he has experienced. Although he knew that truth about GOD, he admits that in his journey, he came a few steps away from slipping and stumbling. The idea is reducing or losing faith in the goodness of GOD.
Application: Hearing these words from a worship leader from that day, is encouraging, and it should be for us all. Because it demonstrates no matter the level of maturity or longevity, we all face faith struggles.
What I love about this song, is that Asaph gives thorough and raw explanation. What caused this near slip in Asaph’s life? He became occupied with focusing on the prosperous success and boasts of wicked people in the world. Wicked simply means Godless and guilty of violating God’s standard of righteousness. Envy is desiring to have the quality or possessions someone else has, because one feels there’s an advantage to having them.
Application: This is no strange feeling. Although we can know how good GOD is, and has been, we see Godless people all the time, their success and well-being. In fact, many of us know Godless people who have some swag and stuff that grabs our attention and we desire them. Asaph says it was envy that almost made him slip.
What Experience I Saw in Them: Health and trouble-free
There’s no need to speculate what Asaph was looking at. He gives a vivid picture of exactly what grabbed his attention. They die just like all humans, but it appeared to Asaph that they were trouble and pain free when they passed away. When he says their bodies are fat, he’s not speaking of overweight or obesity, rather that seemed healthy and strong. In addition, they appeared distinguished, because they don’t deal with the norm of life’s stress and affliction.
Application: Let’s admit, this sounds attractive. When you can see people you know don’t believe or care about GOD, and they ain’t dealing with no problems. As if they are the models of life itself.
What Response I Saw from Them: Boastful high status and Godless
Because this was the apparent experience of the world, Asaph says he also noticed how they respond because they’re trouble-free. They wear pride to be seen like a diamond filled chain, and flaunt how cruel they can be with no shame. Their eyes and desires are never satisfied, they go after whatever they want to. Some of them even make light of making fun of other people. They speak down to people because they believe they are the highest and flyest thing walking and talking across this earth. And people just love them, they have following that gulps down everything about them. Furthermore, they openly declare doubts about GOD and act as if there is no GOD at all.
Application: My brothers and sisters, let me tell you, it can be extremely tempting to live like a god in this world!!! To do whatever you want, with nobody to check us. To put ourselves on blast so the whole world will know who we are.
Example: Ezekiel 28, GOD calls out prince and king of Tyre for their pride and acting as if they are a god.
It is those who are unaware, uninterested, and unbelieving in the reality of GOD, who portray themselves high and glorified and powerful as if they are a god, through their boasts.
The Comparative Conclusion I Began Drawing: They are rich and at ease vs My faith life is vain and full of trouble
Because Asaph observed all these experiences and conduct in wicked Godless people on earth, it led him to draw a comparative conclusion. Godless people have it easy, they are secure in this life and forever getting richer and richer. This he set against his own life circumstances, being a man of faith. And that conclusion was that his walk of faith felt pointless, because he deals with suffering and pain all day every day. Resulting in disappointment!!!
Application: This is where our envy brings us extremely close to the point of slipping. When we are occupied with all that the world does, all it’s success, and the carefree nature it has, it distracts us. Then causing us to compare their circumstances with ours (being God’s children), knowing ours looks nothing like, and it can bring us to a state of disappointment about our own lives.
Conclusion: Realize this is a common struggle. We’ve all been close to slipping, because we’re too occupied focusing on Godless people whose lives appear far better off than our lives of faith. Which is a distraction and brings disappointment with our lives of faith, and can cause a departure from faith. Beware of envying worldly people. Perspective must change, and Lord willing we will see how Asaph does that next week.