My Foot Nearly Slipped – Steve Clark

My Foot Nearly Slipped – Psalm 73

Have you ever looked around at the success and wealth of others in work and business?  Been a bit envious?  Wished it was you?  Has it been tempting and attractive to approach life and business their way and to have their success?

Psalm 73 is a scripture I reflected on with this temptation in mind.

IN SUMMARY: My foot almost slipped: I was at risk of making decisions based on the wrong perspective on wealth and those with riches and it just about caused me to fall.  I got the right perspective which put me on a sure foundation when I came into the House of God; into the presence of my eternal creator.

Psalm 73

1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;  Violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;  They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”  Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!  They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.

When I take my eyes off my creator and focus on the prosperous (those with unsurrendered wealth, unsurrendered hearts), I can become envious of their apparent success and ease of life.  This can trip you up and cause you to slip.  It can cause you to covet, envy and it troubles your spirit.  The Psalm shows they appear to have no struggles and are healthy, free from burdens, not plagued by human ills.

Some of my reflections on this passage…..

As a result of having it all go our way, having life easy we are at risk of:

  • Pride (our success is our doing)
  • Violence (if I don’t get my way I get angry)
  • Hard Hearts (part of pride, stubbornness, being in control – no openness to correction or hearing)
  • Evil conceit (Excessive pride )
  • Scoff and speak with malice (make fun of my stance, deliberate intention to do injury to another)
  • Threatening Oppression (being a bully, again to get our own way, self first)
  • Claiming heaven and earth (boastful talk, puffing up achievements and plans, false claims)
  • A careless walk (not considering our path, increasing in wealth without consideration for others)
  • Not fearing God (thinking that He does not see / becoming blinded to His presence)
  • Drain others who have good character / life (a negative influence on those around – come join me)

While the immediate appearance maybe that there is abundance and life is good and life is easy.  This Psalm brings context and perspective from the point of eternity.  Not having it all go our way and trials keep us from pride, difficult times keep us from slipping into this list of issues (even being tainted).

Wrestling with the thought of “Unrighteous people having it all good” can be oppressive to us – until we come into the presence of God and see from an eternal perspective.  God’s spirit clarifies the beginning from the end, it puts life and eternity into perspective.  God’s presence shows where the path of unsurrendered wealth and success leads and the final destiny of those submitted to Him.

Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.

Turning that list above in reverse;  not getting what we want, having trials and difficulties, carrying burdens helps us develop:

  • Humility (our success is His doing)
  • Gentleness (I understand when I don’t get my way or get hurt)
  • Soft and open hearts (a bruised and humble heart has empathy / has sympathy)
  • Unusual level of humility (because we know much is out of our control, His sovereignty)
  • Support and encourage others (because we know what it is like to receive support when you are down)
  • Encouraging others / speaking life to their spirit
  • Planning in accordance with God’s will. (‘God willing’)
  • Dependency on and Trust in Him.
  • Considered decisions, steps, plans and actions. Considering our steps, our days.
  • Fearing God as being all powerful and truly in charge.
  • Fill up others, pour out into others.

Get into His presence; focus on Him not the pride-filled rich. 

From this passage know that:

  • He is always with us
  • He holds our right hand (our work, our creativity, our strengthen and authority)
  • He guides us with His counsel
  • He glorifies and lifts us up
  • He is everything to us – on earth and in heaven
  • He is our strength and courage  – even if (especially if) our health fails
  • Those close to Him will live
  • He is our portion
  • He preserves His faithful
  • It is good to be near God, it puts it all in perspective
  • He is our refuge
  • He gives us testimonies to share about His goodness, deliverance, healing (deeds)

 

Steve Clark
Business Pastor
LIFE

If you’d like to connect with Steve about his blogs you can email him at steve.clark@lifenz.org

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