You don’t just arrive at a destination. You have to navigate the course and journey there. Sometimes it requires physical exertion. At other times, it may require more thought. But journeys that redirect and transform the heart always require more prayer. And a good teacher.
Good teachers aren’t just found in a classroom. They can also be found in the Book of Psalms. Asaph, an author of 12 psalms, is a great teacher when it comes to the journey from dissatisfaction to contentment. It’s a journey he penned in Psalm 73.
Asaph opened the psalm with a testimony of God’s goodness to His people. But as the rest of the psalm develops, the reader realizes that statement is not quite as it seems at surface level. Reflecting upon it further, in light of the rest of the psalm, you realize he possibly noted that out of a struggle with how God was blessing others—which is not unusual. He was afflicted by the proclivity of every human heart to obsess over God’s blessings toward others. Asaph saw how God blessed His people, Israel . . . but not him.
In hindsight, Asaph recognized he had stumbled, that his feet had almost slipped (v. 2). What caused him to lose such footing? Envy (v. 3). A diverted focus toward the prosperity of the wicked can certainly hijack the heart. Wreck faith. And seriously alter someone’s eyesight.
All Asaph could see was them.
In a short span, from verses 4 through 12, Asaph used “they” or “their” 13 times. He commiserated over how they had no struggles (v. 4); they were free from burden (v. 5); they were always at ease and increasing in wealth (v. 12). His distress is not uncommon, or prevalent only in his day, wouldn’t you agree? It’s easy to be consumed by such thoughts and attitudes. But does the problem really lie with them? Or is it something in the observer’s heart that needs to be reckoned with?