Refusing Envy and Embracing Truth in Psalm 73

Refusing Envy and Embracing Truth in Psalm 73

“Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Psalm 73:1-3

Weak faith in difficult times gives way to stumbling and nearly slipping.

God is good to the pure in heart, and yet, the temptation arises to envy those whose lives seem to prosper. The sun and rain visit the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Mark this: rain will visit you. Stand firm and refuse to allow envy to control your heart. It will seem as though the arrogant do not experience pangs of death. They have their fill of good foods. All is well for them even as they continue in pride, violence, and folly.

The arrogant scoff and exert malice. They threaten oppression and their haughtiness is heard in their brazen mouths. The envious see the success of the arrogant and find no fault in them. All seems well for them. The envious are tempted to doubt God’s omniscience. God must not know, they assume. It seems that the wicked prosper.

“All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.” Psalm 73:13-14

Such difficulty—even seeming unfairness—causes doubt in a sufferer. An honest assessment reveals that keeping a pure heart and clean and innocent hands was for naught. Instead, purity and innocence results in rebuke. However, speaking in this way betrays the truth and misleads a generation. These are the thoughts marred by doubt and not bolstered by faith.

“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” Psalm 73:16-17

When brokenness visits by delivering pain, loss, or death, it’s nearly impossible to make sense of it all. Indeed, it is a wearisome task. It’s seemingly insurmountable.


Until the sufferer preaches the gospel to himself or herself and context is established. Footing is regained. Like the prodigal son, we come to our senses (Luke 15:17). When you seek to understand it by getting beyond the wearisomeness and you enter the sanctuary you begin to discern eternity. Your end and their end.

They are walking in slippery places, and they fall to their ruin. They are swept away in terror and utterly destroyed. In time, they will meet their end.

I must walk in uprightness and avoid bitterness. To doubt is brutish and ignorant. In steadfast love, God holds my hand through it all. In the darkness, go into the sanctuary.

“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:24-25

In faithfulness, God guides me, and he receives the glory. Indeed, whom else do we have to turn to except our Father? Therefore, seeing his steadfast love and his faithfulness, we find nothing on earth to desire. We long for him alone. We may fail—but he remains faithful because he cannot deny his very nature (2 Timothy 2:13). He remains our strength of heart and our portion for eternity. And he holds our hand.

Those far off from God perish, and he puts an end to the unfaithful. Far off. Rebellious. Rejection.

Conversely, it is good to be near God. Up close. Near. He is our very refuge in a broken world. I testify to his good deeds done on behalf of those who draw near to him.

Through it all, refuse envy and embrace truth by faith. Proclaim his works to broken people.

“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.” Psalm 73:28


  1. Cherilee Williams

    This is exactly what I needed to hear this day, 19 months out from my husband’s relocation to glory. Doubt for my future creeps in but God is faithful and His word proclaims it. Thanks for the reminder.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Cherilee. Walk by faith on this long journey. You’ve come a long way so far.

  2. Gregory R. Davis

    God continues to speak through your insights as you journey through the Psalms. This jumped out at me today: Mark this: rain will visit you. Stand firm and refuse to allow envy to control your heart.

    Learning to let go and to trust the wisdom of God. May He be our only desire.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Amen, Greg. It’s an intentional choice to stand firm and to stand against any envy that seeks to control your thoughts or your heart. Blessings, brother.

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