It’s Just Too Easy

Photo by Jimi Filipovski

Sometimes we think we live a new and unique in human history. It turns out that just isn’t the case. People, it turns out, are people. You, me, and the guy down the street, we are just like the people who have come before us. I know that might be a surprise but it is what it is. Truly, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

In Psalm 73 we run across an amazing confession. One that hit home with me. Check this out…

A Psalm of Asaph.

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.

For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
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.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

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.

Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
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.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
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, ESV)

I know that I can identify with the psalmist, can you? “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.”

There is so much painful truth in those lines. They expose so many our hearts. The sin that is knocking on the door. We look around at the world and see the “prosperity of the wicked” and wonder why am I seeking to do what is right? They get it all. There is no consequence for their actions. The big house, the fancy cars, the money, the fame, it’s all theirs for the taking.

Yet, here am I, trying to honor God with my life. Seeking to do what is right and I have none of those things. The thought has run through my mind more than once, “if only…” As the psalmist says, “my steps had nearly slipped.”

Our culture loves the anti-hero. We have embraced the bad guy and made him into the hero. Why? Because we look around and see that the bad guys seem to have it all. They have what we want. The desires for wealth and fame can be overwhelming at times.

The thing is, they start with something simple. I want a new computer. I want new car. I want the newest TV. I want the next tier of entertainment service. I want a seat at the table of power. The wants become unmet desires and then we begin to lust for them. Desperation builds and then we have a choice.

Thus far, by God’s grace, my response has been,

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
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.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
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.

I pray it will be yours as well and the God would continue to grant grace to us to be people of integrity.

It’s Just Too Easy was originally published in The Rev on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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