Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Always at Ease

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.
Ps 73:1-12
✣ 
I love this psalm. It speaks as directly to the human condition in the 21st century as it did thousands of years ago. The psalmist acknowledges the truth of God's will, but then admits to looking around and noticing how good life is for the arrogant and wicked. Like so many of us since these words were penned, the psalmist wondered what was the good of following the right path, when the wrong path was so tempting. The unrighteous have health, possessions, and even the respect of their neighbors. They appear to have lost nothing by turning their backs on God.


I'll be looking at this psalm for three more days, but today, it's sufficient to admit that I am a lot like the psalmist. I have been shown God's way, but all too often I'm nearly tripped up or tempted to go down a different path. I, too, wonder what good it does to have a different set of values than the rich and the powerful, if their values have made them so happy and healthy.

Of course, this is a distorted view, and I'll think about it tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. But for now, it is sufficient to pray:
Forgive my shortsightedness, Lord. I look at people who don't care about your values, and who seem to have been rewarded with health and wealth and adulation. Help me to see beyond that, and show me what true love and service are, in the Name of the One who fleshed out your values to a world that had forgotten, even Jesus Christ my Lord, who taught me to pray...