Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.
Public Domain KJV text from Wordproject.org
Psalm 73 starts with a rhetorical statement, “Truly God is good to the upright,” but the author admits he doesn’t quite fit that category, “but as for me, my feet had almost stumbled” NRSV.
I immediately saw this Psalm was for me. While I thought I was on track following God’s plan for my life, I suddenly lost my health and was unable to continue. This resulted in huge personal losses and marginalization within a community that was supposed to be godly. It was disorienting in terms of my faith.
In vs.3-12, the psalmist describes what distracted him from his faith: he envied people who seemed to be having an easier time in life despite arrogance and godlessness. He went so far as to say of his own righteousness, “in vain I have kept my heart clean. . .and am punished every morning” vs. 13,14. He struggled to get his mind around this until he went into “the sanctuary” and encountered God.
If you can relate, I encourage you to find a place to contemplate the Nature of God. Allow yourself to be inspired with awe for the Creator of the universe, source of all light and life, LOVE, wisdom, belonging, and eternal perspective.
Caryn (Davidson) Pierce
Physical Therapist/Professor, Vancouver, Washington USA