Posted on January 3, 2017
I’m following a daily reading regimen from the Book of Common Prayer (1979) as a New Year’s resolution. There are morning and evening readings from the Psalms that I’m incorporating into my morning devotional which consists of prayer and Scripture reading before I begin the day with my ministerial duties. The evening Psalm reading today is from Psalm 72, but I’m following the reading—not from the Hebrew Tanakh’s designation of the Psalms—from the LXX’s designation of Psalms.
In Psalm 72 in the Septuagint (LXX)—it would be Psalm 73 in our English Bibles—the psalmist laments how the wicked prospers on earth. However, this particular psalm teaches the “upright in heart” (Psalm 72:1) to not be jealous of those who do well in life, because they lack the understanding of the resurrection of the dead and the life that is to come. Sinners who do well on earth and in the physical life have only a vision that is limited to the present world, and they ignore the judgment that is to come.
I have stated in times past as others have too that I don’t understand why people who do so much wrong seem to do so well in life. “For I was jealous of the lawless when I beheld the peace of sinners” (Psalm 72:3). “Behold, these are sinners, and they prosper; they possess wealth in this age” (Psalm 72:12). I have felt the same way. The psalmist gains perspective, however.
And I sought to understand this; it was difficult in my sight, until I came into God’s holy place and understood their end. (Psalm 72:16–17)
While for the psalmist, coming into God’s holy place was the Temple, for us, this holy place is the church—God’s new Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). Coming before the majesty of God and with the fellowship of His people, we learn that the life that is to come is the life where we shall have peace and behold the splendor of the wealth of our God. In that world, the sinners “perished in their lawlessness” (Psalm 72:19).
What we seek on earth and in heaven, as Christians, is God (Psalm 72:25). Therefore, “it is good to cling to God, to put my hope in the Lord, that I may proclaim Your praises in the gates of the daughter of Zion” (Psalm 72:28).