Appearances can be deceiving. People may seem to have it all together. Their fame and fortune may be desired. But to whom does their soul belong?
I was reading Psalm 73 last night, and its message seems quite applicable for today. Sometimes it is easy to forget that those who are of the world will lose everything in the end. They are not to be idolized nor are we to be jealous of them. Rather, we are to remember our hope in Christ and pray that they will understand and receive the gracious salvation we have accepted. May we come to the same conclusions as Asaph:
“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.
15 If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
16 When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight
17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.
21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.” (NASB)
We all struggle with being in the world and not getting caught up in it. Our cultures tell us what we should think, how we should act. When we think that these are the standards that the Lord desires we are being “senseless” and “ignorant” like beasts as Asaph writes in vv. 21-22. The truth is found in vv. 25-28. We are either faithful to the Lord or not. Two options. Nothing more, nothing less. If we are children of God, He is our refuge and strength. He is always faithful even when people are faithless (2 Tim. 2:13). It is Christ who is our hope, not the wickedness of the world. May we remember what He has done in our lives and choose to be faithful until the end (Heb. 3:6).