Praying Our Envy. Psalm 73. Tuck Barthalemule. Redeemer Presbyterian. NYC.
The big idea: How do I get there, unclouded sufficiency in God on the other side of envy?
1. What is envy?
Verse 3 the arrogant are boastful about their role in life. These are those living in defiance of God. These are the ones that he envies in their prosperity. He (Aesaf the psalm writter and song writer) feels that his efforts in life are in vain. Religion is not working for him as he still suffers. There is no payoff for him leading worship in Israel, offering sacrifices, etc. V10 the wicked instead are getting the payoffs. What about the promises of God?
Envy is the desire to trade places with the other person and not enter into their joy.
Envy is the heart that is not resting in the overflow of God – St. Augustine.
He is tempted to give up. It is our problem too. Is it worth it following God? Soren Kirkegaard quote in Sickness Unto Death: one of our basic conditions in life is that we are “constantly about the business of trying to rest in the power that establishes us.” however, we are constantly looking to a wrong power that does not have the power to establish us. This is where the psalmist finds himself. We look to work, family, romance, etc.
2. What is the psalmist’s resolution of envy?
The psalmist is stuck and needs some outside help. When he came Into then sanctuary, he gets the help he seeks.
A. He comes to God’s authority.
He humbles himself as he does not have the answer to how to get over his envy and also make sense of his life. He does not fix himself first but with all his junk.
B. He comes into the community of Gods people who also struggle.
God is good not just to Aesaf but also to all of his people. We Westerners read scripture often times individualistically – i.e. This is about Aesafs struggle and his resolution. But V15 places him in the midst of a communal relationship. He writes about his struggles so that the people can enter in together into his and their struggle with envy together and sing this song together.
C. He grasps reality, what is real.
He saw a sliver of reality but not the whole thing. He begins to see the awful truth of life apart from Gods grace. It is a fantasy and an illusion. He is notn loating that the wicked will get their due in the end someday, but he is waking up from his own fog of false reality. V22. He sees himself as the sinner, just like the wicked.
D. He comes to God as his provision.
V23-24 The psalmist is no longer stuck in the spiral of envy. God is holding him. God’s love is more of a reality now to him.
In the temple worship there was sacrifice. He had the picture that he needed a sacrifice in his place, a promise of provision one day who would perfectly take his place. As he beholds this vision of God, his substitutionary plan, he worships and feels God’s love. It is enough that you give me yourself, no matter what goes on around us. The only way we will escape this envy is to behold him and see our desperate need of him as the miserable sinners that we are.
V28. This grace that he pours into our life is not meant to be hoarded but to tell of his deedsmto those in this discontinuity of how life is and how life is supposed to be. We can meet them in their brokenness and be unselfish agents of healing.
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.