One of the hazards to faith, peace and confidence can be the impression that God’s justice is not apparent in the world around us. Those who have no thought for God and who hate truth and justice sometimes seem to be doing very well for themselves, while the rest of us, those who love God and his ways, are not getting a fair shake on life…
If we start to think God isn’t doing his job, or that he treats us unfairly, or that others are getting a much better deal in life even though they despise what is good, we can easily and quickly sink into bitterness and faithlessness. However, if we really know our God and our Scriptures-the ones on which our faith and hope are built-we should also know the truth of the situation.
David was one who similarly felt, for a time, that the darkness in humanity was triumphing over the righteous. Psalm 73 is an incredible view of David’s fear and bitterness that his enemies and those that hated the ways of God were running the world and getting their way:
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth (Psalm 73:7-9).
David confessed to us and to God that observing the prosperity of the wicked had almost destroyed his faith, because it seemed like they, and not God, were in control of things:
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (verses 2 and 3).
This is a lie which any one of us can fall for if we aren’t on our guard, and if we aren’t seeking our God and his word. In the country I am originally from you might be said to be “losing your grip” if you don’t have your mind or certain aspects of your life under control. David almost lost his grip, and I’ve almost lost mine. If you’re honest, you’ll probably admit that you too have almost lost yours:
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure...(verse 13)
But lets’s settle the matter in our hearts, just as David did. Let’s get a grip by recognizing that all things… all things… are ultimately under the control of our God, who is both perfectly patient and perfectly just:
When I tried to understand all this it troubled me deeply,
till I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground:you cast them down to ruin (verse 16-17).
David’s conclusion was that God is just and faithful:
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion forever (verse 23-25).