4th May 2018

Leaving Envy Behind 

“For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:3 (NIVUK)

Psalm 73, among others, was written by Asaph, who was appointed by King David to be the chief praise leader (1 Chronicles 16:6-8). He appears to have been a talented musician and composer, and is also referred to as a “seer”, meaning prophet, when King Hezekiah “ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer” (2 Chronicles 29:30). Psalm 73 may have been among the songs they sang.

Asaph discussed the futility of envy. He admits quite freely that he’s overcome with envious feelings that are eating away at his very soul. This twisted emotion had caused his feet to slip from the right ways of God, and he was filled with thoughts of anger, jealousy and resentment. It was unfair that those who reject God were getting on well in the world while faithful people like himself struggled. In contrast it seemed like it was for nothing that he had kept his heart pure (Psalm 73:13). This negativity was affecting his whole life. He confesses, “my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant” (verses 21-22).

What was the way out of all this? His deep upset would not change anything. The arrogant and wicked will still get away with evil, and life will continue to be unfair. Gradually Asaph sees a way forward. He may not be able to change the situation, but, with God’s help, he can change himself and how he views things. It begins with realizing God’s presence in our lives. He talks to God, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand” (verse 23). Asaph ends the psalm still slightly disgruntled but he’s on the path to a healthier outlook.

His focus changes. His thoughts are no longer weighed down with negative emotions. Instead, God is the rock that keeps his life in place. “God is the strength of my heart” (verse 26).

Father, thank you for psalms like Psalm 73. I know that, just as Asaph was, I too can be caught up in negative emotions. Help me please, through your Spirit of grace, to be uplifted by the re-assurance of your presence in my life, and to centre my thoughts more on you and on your Son, Jesus. In Jesus
’ name.

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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