“God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:1–3, CSB)
“On the Road” we will run into detours. The author of Psalm 73, a man named Asaph, ran into one.
He almost gave up on God; he almost chose cynicism over spiritual life because he envied the wicked. The Hebrew here literally says “my happiness nearly slipped” – another way of saying that my way of life…my underlying foundation almost crumbled. And he tells us why: jealousy of the lives of the wicked. He continues to describe his anger at their life of ease, how they get away with every kind of wickedness.
The word “envy,” we all know, means a type of jealousy. But the Hebrew is interesting. It comes from the root word quanah meaning “to get” or “acquire.” Asaph is describing his anger at the easy life of the wicked, but in reality that is what he wants for himself. He is giving room for his sinful mind and sinful nature to take him on a detour off of God’s desired path.
He was going just fine, walking along the road. He was pure in heart. He was thinking about God, following God, and serving God. Then he began to change his focus from God to others – to obsess about things out of his control. And he almost lost his footing. In Asaph’s case, his focus became the wicked. For us maybe it’s Hollywood, academia, politicians, Antifa, Fauci, maskavists, selfish non-maskers…fill in the blank. Anything that distracts us from following God.
Is someone out there stealing your joy?
Asaph ran into a detour on his spiritual journey. We all face them. Maybe someone mistreats you, and you take a detour down the road of unforgiveness. Maybe you’re obsessed with political debates. Maybe yours is the detour of gossip – we see people get away with things we think they shouldn’t, so we let others know what we know.
Your detour could be any number of things that draws your attention away from God and your own heart. The question is, what is your response going to be? I hope you’ll join us Sunday, online or in person, and we’ll discuss it together.