Have you ever lost your footing? I’m fairly certain all of us have literally lost our footing on multiple occasions. But have you ever figuratively lost your footing? In Psalm 73:2 the writer acknowledges “I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone” (New Living Translation). He was speaking figuratively.
When we go on and read verses 3-5 it is obvious he wasn’t speaking literally. “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives, their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.”
If we were totally honest with ourselves, one another, and the Lord I think we all would admit there are times when we identify with the writer of Psalm 73. John Stott notes it’s “a problem which has always baffled the human mind.”
In verses 12-14 his frustration boils over: “Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 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.”
I think he must be exaggerating but we get the point. Not only are bad people prospering, good people are not. And our writer includes himself among those who are good. He asks himself, “Don’t I get anything for being good?”
Remember in verse 2 the psalmist wrote “I almost lost my footing.” He tells about the beginning of his turnaround in verse 16: “So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!” The basic point has been made by so many—life isn’t fair. Would you agree with that? I have heard Pastor Rick Warren say on more than one occasion that God never said life would be fair.
I think he tells us what halted his slide in verse 17, “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.” I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “Did he go to church?” Maybe, but whatever he did he got back in touch with God.
When he got back in touch with the Lord things got better. He confesses in verse 21: “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.” Bitterness is a common outcome of comparing ourselves with others whom we think have it much better than we do.
Verses 23-25 provide great challenge, encouragement, and comfort for us when we realize we may be losing our footing: “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.”
So I conclude with a few questions you might ask yourself. Have you ever almost lost your footing? Do you find yourself at times comparing what others have with what you don’t have? Are their times when you envy sinners? Do you sometimes think God is not fairly rewarding you for the way you walk with Him? Is there anything on earth you desire more than God and your relationship with Him?
If you have the time go ahead and read Psalm 73 from beginning to end; you’ll enjoy it.
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