Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pain; their bodies are sound and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not plagued like other people. Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes swell out with fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues range over the earth. Therefore the people turn and praise them, and find no fault in them. And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” Such are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning. If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,” I would have been untrue to the circle of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; on awaking you despise their phantoms. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you. Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.
The psalmist records feeling we have all felt at one time or another when he wrote, “All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning.”I would just say, “What good does it do to be good and law abiding? Those who cheat and steal get away with it everyday and no one does anything about it.”
The problem with this thinking is, it is human thinking not God thinking. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55: 8) We are so concerned with our life – this infinitesimally small portion of our internal life – while God is concerned about our place in eternity. No, that’s not quite right either, because God is concerned enough about our earthly life that, “even the hairs of your head are all counted.” ( Luke 12:7)
But see, that’s the problem, as much as I try to explain how small we are thinking and that God is thinking so much bigger – but he’s also thinking so much smaller. We just can not think like God.
We can only trust like the psalmist when he said, “I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor.“
Guide us, O Lord, and afterward receive us with honor. Amen.
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