Psalm 73

Perspective.

It’s about how you see things.

In art, perspective refers to the “painting or drawing a scene so that objects in it seem to have their right shape and to be the right distance apart”, according to Merriam-Webster.

Merriam-Webster also gives an interesting background of artistic perspective.

…before the 1400s paintings simply lacked accurate perspective. Instead, important people and objects were simply shown larger than less important ones; and although distant objects were sometimes shown smaller than near ones, this wasn’t done in a regular and accurate way.

Without perspective, things sometimes appear bigger than they really are. A reference point is needed to make sense of what you see.

Perspective can also mean your point of view of circumstances or issues. Just as in art, without a reference point, it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening.

Psalm 73 is about perspective.

It starts with a declaration of truth: God is good to the pure in heart.

But…

Instead of focusing on this truth, the psalmist looks around at the prosperity of the wicked. The wicked seem to have an easy time, to have plenty of food, to have no troubles, to say whatever they want without consequences, and to grow more and more wealthy.

Envy creeps into the psalmist’s heart and makes him question:

Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands in innocence
for nothing? (v. 13 CSB)

Comparing his life of trouble to the life of ease of the wicked, the psalmist wonders: Is it worth it to follow God? No matter how hard he tried on his own, he could not understand why the wicked seemed to prosper.

With his focus on others, all seemed hopeless.

Until…

His perspective changed.

How?

He entered God’s sanctuary.

When I tried to understand all this,
it seemed hopeless
until I entered God’s sanctuary.
Then I understood their [the wicked] destiny. (v. 17 CSB)

In God’s presence, the psalmist’s focus changes. In worship, he begins to see things from God’s vantage point instead of his own.

Worship leads us to an eternal perspective.

God is the reference point we need to make sense of the world around us.

With God’s perspective, the psalmist is able to see the eventual destiny of the wicked – destruction and separation. The prosperity of the wicked became a tiny thing compared to the vastness of their ultimate separation from God.

And with God’s vantage point, the psalmist is able to truly prize God’s reward for the pure in heart.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me up in
glory. (v. 23-24 CSB)

The pure in heart enjoy God’s presence, God’s guidance, and God’s counsel while they walk through the difficulties of this life. And they will enjoy God’s presence forever in heaven.

The psalmist expresses his newfound perspective in these verses.

Who do I have in heaven but you?
And I desire nothing on earth but you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever. (v. 25-26 CSB)

All the wealth of the wicked? Worldy wealth isn’t the big deal it appears to be. It’s nothing compared to the riches found in God’s presence. Troubles threatening my health and my emotions? God is my provision and the strength of my heart.

With an eternal perspective, God becomes our heart’s only desire.

The psalmist closes with a truth and a declaration of intent.

But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all you do. (v. 28)

Truth: God’s presence is my good.
The psalmist began this psalm by declaring that God is good to the pure in heart. He closes by personalizing this truth. God’s presence is MY good.

Intent: I will make God my refuge so that I can tell others about all that God does. The psalmist chooses to make God’s perspective his own and devotes himself to telling others about God’s goodness.

When our perspective is clouded by comparison and envy, we cannot see our circumstances clearly. When we worship, our perspective changes.

We need eternal perspective.
We can only get it in God’s presence.
And when we have experienced God’s presence, nothing else can compare.

Father, nothing on earth can compare to the joy of Your presence. I want to desire nothing but You. When I am tempted to compare my circumstances to others, help me choose to worship instead. Thank you that You are always with me. Thank You for your guidance and counsel, and thank You that You will one day take me to glory. Be the strength of my heart today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 73

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s