The Psalms at Coffee Break 14
I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth v 3 - 4, 9
And so on . . . Psalm 73 runs to 28 verses and could have been written about corruption and shady dealings today. Things don’t really change, different fashions (maybe), newer forms of transport and communication perhaps but there is always evil and injustice caused by human actions.
Indeed so vexing was the sin he saw around him that the writer was tempted, as many are, to think ‘Why should I do the right thing when others get away with murder?’
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure, in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.v13
Perplexed, frustrated and feeling the unfairness of it all, he couldn’t answer the ‘Why, why why?’ It was all, to use his own word ‘oppressive’ (verse 16) to him. Until he took the long view, and looked at things from God’s viewpoint.
V 17... I entered the sanctuary ( i.e. a place set apart) of God, then I understood their final destiny . . . you will despise them as fantasies. (An allusion to wakening up after a dream)
In the quiet place with God the psalmist regained a proper perspective, his inner compass had come back to pointing out that the God of heaven and earth is just, and will be just. We live in the clamour and immediacy of the ‘Now’, everything must be 24/7, whether just ordering a pizza, doing our banking or watching all-night TV. But, as many people have recently learned we need to look further down the road to see the final results of our actions. Forty years ago a godly old man used to go out at night into downtown Sydney with a piece of chalk and simply write ‘ETERNITY’ here and there on pavements. That’s what our Psalm does.
Looking into the distance at the full picture the Psalmist recovers his equilibrium and by the end of the Psalm is peaceful and composed:
But as for me it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge. v28