Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Psalm 73: 1-3
“1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Asaph, the writer of this psalm, shares a story of incredible insight and honesty. It’s a story of a heart that was seduced and isolated, then healed and restored.
The psalm opens with a pronouncement of God’s goodness. The word “surely” sets the tone for us. It means “to be filled with assurance”; it expresses complete confidence in God’s faithfulness. It’s like Asaph is telling us “God is so good to us, but I was not always confident of this. So much so, I almost slipped!” Notice something here, he doesn’t say “I slipped and fell.” He says, “My feet had almost slipped.” Did you catch that? He didn’t fall! He’s telling us that he “nearly slipped.” It was an almost failure.
This morning while I was running, it was dark outside. As I moved across the pavement, I placed my foot onto a small crack. As my foot went down, I felt it begin to roll to the side. Somehow, in a split second, I was able to catch myself and didn’t roll my ankle. It was an almost roll! I started to roll my ankle, but I didn’t. That’s the point that Asaph wants to drive home to us…that he didn’t slip.
So what was it that almost caused him to slip? It was envy. Envy is to desire what someone else has that we don’t have; it’s a form of jealousy. Envy can come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is pretty obvious and other times it can be subtle. For Asaph, it started as he began to look at how well off the wicked were: they had lots of money, plenty of pleasure, and no troubles. Before he realized it, Asaph was wishing he could be like them.
The problem with envy is that it breeds discontentment. Rather than drawing us close to God, it causes us to resent Him because we begin to think He is unfair. The more we dwell on this “unfairness,” the farther it takes us away from God. It can even begin to affect our physical being; it can leave us sleep deprived and even bring on nausea, reminding us of the term “sick with envy.” One of the most destructive things about envy is that it can lead to anger and rage.
The point Asaph is making in these opening verses is that he was so filled with envy that he almost lost his faith in God’s goodness, but he didn’t…he caught himself.
Have you ever found yourself in the same type of situation as Asaph? As much as I hate to admit it, I have. There have been times in my life when it was easy to look at what others had and become resentful. It’s not just material possessions that can make us envious; it can be another person’s status or position. And to make it even worse, most of the things that fill our hearts with envy are things that, in the end, are meaningless. Things like: the kind of car we drive, a boat, a vacation home, and other kinds of toys. But rather than rejoicing with others when they get these things, we begin to be envious because we don’t have the same. Oh, that we’d be free from envy!
What about you? Is there something or someone that you are currently envious of?
Ask God to keep you from slipping.
Reorient yourself back to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with His assurance as you express your complete confidence in God’s faithfulness.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.) Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.