I have always been a people watcher. Even as a kid I was always watching to see what made people the way they were. I looked for people to emulate and people to avoid. At times I saw things I didn't like...like when people who were in the wrong had success. It bothered me because that did not seem right to me, but it bothered me more because I found myself wondering if I was taking the wrong path. I knew THAT was wrong, but still I wondered.
"I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are strong."
"Surely in vain I have kept pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning."
Here Asaph is admitting his own troubling thoughts. Envying the arrogant and wicked because of their seemingly trouble-less lives. He is wondering why he attempts to stay pure and righteous when it looks as if it doesn't matter in the end.
Do you ever have those days? I have to admit that those feelings I had as a child creep up once in a while now that I am an adult. As an observer of people still today, I find myself pondering how God allows the prosperity of the arrogant and wicked. While I don't envy their wickedness, I do at times envy the result.
Asaph said that his attempts to understand this were "oppressive to [him]" until he "entered the sanctuary of God; then [he] understood their final destiny." (Psalm 73:16-17)
You see, on earth there are things that are hard for us to understand when we look at the moment. We can not always see the eternal. When we enter into those quiet moments with God, He reminds us of His eternal focus. While we get hung up on what we see today, He is seeing what tomorrow will bring. While we wonder why the arrogant and wicked prosper now, He reminds us that all that seems so important will rust and be moth-ridden at some point.
Asaph ends the Psalm with this eternal promise:
"Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near to God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds."
Stick to the plan. Stay near to God. Don't be distracted by the here and now. The reward from God will come to those who remain faithful to the end.