A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God [is] good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I [was] envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For [there are] no pangs in their death, But their strength [is] firm. 5 They [are] not in trouble [as other] men, Nor are they plagued like [other] men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them [like] a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly [concerning] oppression; They speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. … 23 Nevertheless I [am] continually with You; You hold [me] by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me [to] glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven [but You]? And [there is] none upon earth [that] I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; [But] God [is] the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 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 Your works.PSALM 73:1-9, 23-28
I AM PRONE TO ENVY
I went on a vacation a few years ago at the beach. We checked into a nice condo. Everywhere I looked I saw nice cars and nice boats. We ran into some people who lived at the condo (part time) and I overheard them talking about how many nice things they had, nice dinners they ate, and the people they got to hang out with. I couldn’t help but hear about how they talked about all the folks who didn’t have what they had. Somewhere in the middle of their life of comfort and ease they had begun to think that they were self-made. I confess, before that trip I thought my life was pretty great, but then, even in the middle of a pretty great vacation I found myself becoming miserable. Especially when I internalized that I must have spent my life pursuing the “wrong things” because I didn’t have much to “show for it.”
Asaph confesses in this psalm that he struggled with the same ideas (Has the world really changed that much). He knew that God was good and that God was good to him, but when he let his heart be tempted towards envy he found himself in a bad place. He was also bothered that folks had taken the blessing of God for granted and appropriated it as their own effort or work… but can we really blame them? Do we not often do the same thing? How often do we thank God for the blessings we take for granted? I’ll be honest and say that sometimes I don’t recognize the blessings God has given me until they go missing? Like a healthy heart, etc.
What is the remedy for an envious heart? What is the remedy when we so clearly see the sins of God-forgetfulness in others who want to take pride in their position as if they had accomplished anything without God’s grace? It’s God! It’s pressing into the Lord and counting what you do have. It’s going back and doing the algebra of thankfulness. Gratitude in God combats envy all day long. It’s counting your blessings and naming them one by one and oh by the way don’t forget the biggest blessing of a real and right relationship with God himself!
Don’t miss it, Asaph has a lot to say in this whole Psalm! When God is all you have, you have everything you need. When stuff is all you have, stuff won’t last and you will find yourself boasting in emptiness. There is a day coming when what we believe and where we have put all our confidence will be made clear. On that day it is far better to have nothing this world has to offer and a relationship with Jesus than it is to have everything this world has to offer and not have Jesus.
So everyday, choose to count what you do have, not what you don’t have. Choose to be grateful not hateful. Choose contentment over envy. For it’s in contentment where joy is found not the seeming success or stuff of others. Some days we just need to adjust our attitude for gratitude.
Father, thank you for your incredible mercy and grace! You have been better to me than I have ever deserved. I confess that Along with Asaph I am prone to slip on Envy. I often see what others have and wonder that I might be missing some sort of blessing. Help me to recognize it as the same sin that caused Adam and Eve to eat the fruit. They lusted, coveted, wanted, and envied and here I am so many generations later still a product of the fall. I pray that you would let me find contentment in you! You are the give of good gifts. Help me to even recognize the many you have already blessed me with just by knowing you as my Lord. Guard my heart from envy, I want to honor you in all things! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.