READ: Psalms 73-76
THINK: Do you ever feel that people who don't follow Christ have it much easier than those who do? Do they seem more successful, less inhibited and able to do things you can't in good conscience? This may be so from a worldly perspective, but be careful not to lose your spiritual footing or slip in your faith just because ungodly people appear to prosper while you struggle. The benefits of following Christ run deeper and last infinitely longer than the temporary perks and pleasures the world offers. Nothing can replace the joy, peace and ultimate fulfilment of a relationship with Jesus and a life spent for His purposes. Long after earthly things are gone and everyone has been judged for what they've done, God's faithful people will be enjoying the eternal rewards of faithfulness to Him.
RESPOND: What's the intellectual dilemma in Psalm 73? (See 73:1-28 note.) How did the psalm writer almost "slip" (73:2), and why is this issue a temptation for many people? Why does it often seem that ungodly people prosper while godly people suffer? In what way will God's justice ultimately prevail? What will ultimately happen to people who reject God, and what will happen to those who are faithful to God? (See 73:17 note.) How does this realization put life in proper perspective for the psalm writer? What benefits do God's people enjoy, even if their lives are difficult? (See 73:17 note, subpoint 1.) What are the dangers of evaluating life from an earthly perspective? (See 73:17 note, subpoint 2.) What attitude and realization encouraged the psalm writer's faith in the midst of troubles (73:23ff)? (See 73:23-28 note.) How can your relationship with God provide strength and inspiration to endure whatever happens in life? Why do you think God temporarily hold's back His judgment against those who mock and reject Him (74:10-11)? How does considering God's greatness and power over creation give you confidence in His justice and judgment (74:12-75:3)? In what way does God's wrath bring Him praise (76:10)? (See 76:10 note.)
PRAY: Pray that you won't envy ungodly people or their apparent success. Ask God to help you keep a proper perspective about life and God's ultimate justice. Thank Him for the reward that awaits you in eternity with Him.
ACT: Whenever you're tempted to envy something that someone else has or does, take a moment to thank God for the eternal benefits of your relationship with Him. Also, pray for those individuals, that God would work in their lives and help them realize that what really matters in life is a relationship with Christ.
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