Psalm 73 is one of my favorites. It follows a man’s struggle with bitterness towards the prosperity of the wicked. The psalmist puts into words what many of us have thought at least once in our lives. The most remembered verses in that psalm is probably verses 25-26: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” But before the psalmist comes to this amazing conclusion, he wrestles with some issues.
A dear brother from Honduras came this past Sunday to teach on this psalm. He used a translator, and though the delivery of the message may have seemed choppy to some, God used His living and active Word to pierce hearts that morning. There is so much to share about what I learned, but I will narrow it down to this one thing …
How many of us can say we are immune to bitterness? We have experienced it at one point or another. Perhaps about a wrong that was never made right. Perhaps cutting words that just cut too deep. Or perhaps, like the psalmist, the bitterness was towards those who have rejected God but have lived a life of ease and prosperity. The bitterness sinks deeper in our hearts when we see our lives in stark contrast: walking in the ways of The Lord but enduring many hardships. According to the psalmist, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.” (v. 13).
Bitterness, when not dealt with, can turn a beautiful soul into a beast.
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.” (v. 21-22)
But don’t stop there. Go on to the next verse.
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.” (v. 23)
You may be struggling with envying the wicked or growing bitterness in your heart. What will keep you from joining the wicked in their evil ways? Take courage … the Lord God will hold your right hand.
(Photo credit: listentothemountains)