“But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.”
This psalm is the personal testimony of a man who almost fell away from the Lord. When he speaks of slipping, he is not talking about a little slip, but rather about throwing in the towel, and giving up on following the Lord.
His condition began when he bought into the lies of the devil. Jesus exposed who Satan really is when He described him as the father of lies. His lies are always the same. He brings into question the goodness of God, and makes sin look like something it is not. He did it to Eve, when he convinced her that God forbid the fruit in order to keep something good from her; persuading her that the fruit was the secret to really enjoying life. He did the same with the Psalmist, when he convinced him that God was keeping good from him, and those who rejected the Lord, were the ones who were gaining in life. From this skewed perspective, he describes the ungodly, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). He also spoke of the sinner as having no pain in death, great strength, no sicknesses, and living in abundant riches; all of which was and is completely untrue.
When the devil makes us think God is keeping good from us, he can also convince us that life is better away from the Lord; that is when we start to make compromises. We allow things into our lives that we had once laid down at the cross. Those things do give an immediate sense of pleasure, but like all sin, the pleasure is soon gone. We are then left ensnared in something that is robbing us of the abundant life Jesus provides. As scary as this may be, there is a solution.
The Psalmist declares, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart” (Psalms 73:1). He was rescued when he remembered the goodness of God. When he took his eyes off others, and put them back upon the Lord, he was reminded of the character of God.
Just as it is in the nature of the devil to lie, it is the nature of God to give good things to His children. James reminds us that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). Because He is good, He can only do what is good. In fact, the term ‘God’ is derived from an old word meaning ‘good’. Paul explained, having given us His only Son, He will freely give us all things (Romans 8:32). God will hold back no good thing from His children. If there is something I desire, and do not have, it may simply be that having it would not be good for me. It is so easy to lose perspective and begin to see the world through the eyes of the Psalmist. Thankfully, he explains what led to the lies being uncovered.
He declares, “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me— Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” Psalms 73:16-17
The sanctuary was the meeting place with God, where the people of God gathered, and the truth of God was declared. If you are struggling, tempted to go back to the things of the world, rather than forward in your relationship with the Lord, get to the sanctuary. Get around the people of God, where the Word of God is being declared, and let Him remind you of His goodness.
Questions for Psalm 73
- In verse 3 the Psalmist says “For I was envious of the boastful.” Do you ever feel envious of people? How should you deal with those feelings?
- In verse 23 the Psalmist says that God holds him by his right hand, like you would hold a child. Do you ever feel like you need God to guide you like you would a child?