Psalm 73: When I Am Doubting God

Psalm 73: When I Am Doubting God

Posted on June 11, 2019

BY KRISTEN RAVES, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS

Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.
10 And so the people are dismayed and confused,
    drinking in all their words.
11 “What does God know?” they ask.
    “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
12 Look at these wicked people—
    enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;
    every morning brings me pain.
15 If I had really spoken this way to others,
    I would have been a traitor to your people.
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
    But what a difficult task it is!
17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors.
20 When you arise, O Lord,
    you will laugh at their silly ideas
    as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.
27 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

 

Reflection

How is your relationship with God? It’s something both Barry (see his sermon here) and Dave (see his sermon here) Rodriguez have asked us as we’ve begun this series on Psalms. If I were to be honest, I’d say things like “good”, “steady”, or “easy”. Do I love God and trust Him? Of course, I do. But, I don’t feel like I’ve been tested in the ways this Psalmist, Asaph, describes in Psalm 73. Plus you pair that with my current life circumstances and the ways of our culture, I do not find myself seeking after Him in the ways that I used to. Scared that at any moment, I could turn back into my old self. The person who used to merely enjoy the riches of my life (verse 12) instead of desiring Him more than anything on earth (verse 25).  

When I was in my early 20’s, I didn’t know God. I was in college, doing things I shouldn’t be doing, completely selfish, prideful, greedy…basically, my life resembled who Asaph was talking about in Psalm 73. Then I met Jesus while doing an internship at Grace Church in 2004 and everything changed. I learned more about who God is and His desire for each an every one of us to find who He made us to be and live it out. From that point on, I wanted to tell everyone about the “wonderful things He does” (verse 28). I wanted others to experience His goodness, so they could also live a new life filled with His overflowing love. A life where they were moved by His strength and not their own. A life that wasn’t centered around cars, houses, money, and all the material things that are suburban America. You see, middle-class living in central Indiana doesn’t come with much of a need to rely on God. We have an abundance of pretty much everything, which makes it easy to go through our days without having to fully surrender to our Lord.

This is why, fifteen years later, I find myself feeling much like Asaph did in Psalm 73. I see people everywhere I turn doing awful things; cheating on their spouses, abusing others, stealing so they can have more, taking shortcuts so they can be on top. And, it saddens me. On the other hand, I’m also walking alongside incredible individuals who are fighting cancer, have miscarried (some several times), or have lost a significant person in their life in some way. I see people suffering from depression, anxiety, broken relationships, chronic health issues, pain…the list goes on and on.  And I think, “Why them, God? Why not someone who deserves to walk the hard road?” This is when doubt can creep in. Then, I have to check myself. God doesn’t promise us that we will have everything go perfectly here on earth. What He does promise us is that He will never leave our side, even if we push Him away. He doesn’t want to see us in pain, and He hurts for us more than we can ever begin to imagine. He will be the one to give us strength when we cannot muster up our own. That even when we fail or doubt Him, that He will be there to hold us up and will never leave us. 

Action Steps

  • Admit your doubt or resentment. God already knows about it. By simply admitting to it and asking God into that area, you will see a change.

  • Pray. God wants to give you strength today, in whatever way you need it! Ask the Lord in prayer to supply your need.

  • 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.

Questions for Reflection

  • In what ways/areas you doubting God right now?

  • Are we learning to be honest with God, exposing ourselves to the probing of the Spirit?

  • Is there something you're envious about that you need to rid from your life/way of thinking?