Envy and comparison are not new.
The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with envy and comparison. He began his psalm stating God is good to those whose hearts are pure. Then the psalmist admits his envy took him close to the edge of the cliff.
But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff. My feet were slipping and I was almost gone. For I was envious of the prosperity of the proud and wicked. Yes, all through life their road is smooth. (2-4)
When the psalmist looked at the prosperous people around him, he couldn’t understand. Their lives looked trouble-free. Why did God allow the wicked to prosper? The psalmist wanted a life like that.
They aren’t always in trouble and plagued with problems like everyone else. It is so hard to explain it–this prosperity of those who hate the Lord. (5, 14)
As the psalmist struggled with his feelings, he went into the LORD’s sanctuary to meditate. There, he thought about the future of these evil people. While in God’s presence, the psalmist realized all wasn’t as it seemed.
Then one day I went into God’s sanctuary to meditate, and thought about the future of these evil men. What a slippery path they are on. Their present life is only a dream. They will awaken to the truth as one awakens from a dream. (17-18, 20)
With this realization, the psalmist saw himself as a stupid animal. He’d been envious and jealous, when all that matter was his relationship with the Father. God held the psalmist right hand. God would keep right on guiding him all his life. When the psalmist life on earth ended, God would receive him into the glories of heaven.
Whom have I in heaven but you? My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains. He is the strength of my heart. He is mine forever. (25)
God remains. He is our strength. He is ours forever. (26)
But those refusing to worship God will perish, for he destroys those serving other gods. (27)
But as for me, I get as close to him as I can! I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. (28)
The writer of Psalm 73 figured out the cure for envy and comparison. Spend time with God. Realize the stupidity of envy. Acknowledge the faithfulness of God. Get as close to God as possible. And tell everyone about the wonderful ways God rescues.
What worked for the psalmist in combating envy and comparison centuries before Christ was born, works for us.
Whenever the twinge of envy raises its head, we should do what this psalmist did. Seek out God in his sanctuary. Draw close to the One who will never leave; the One whose opinion matters most.
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But as for me, I get as close to him as I can. I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. Psalm 73:28 (TLB)
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Image by Laurent Verdier from Pixabay.
Thank you Sandy for this reminder of where my focus should be – on what God has for me and where I should be.
Pamela, thanks so much for commenting. We all need that reminder, don’t we?
Psalm 73 has always been a favorite of mine as I appreciate the psalmist’s honesty and how he turned to God with his envy.
One thing I love about many of the psalms is how they show us God is approachable and hears us when we call.