Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”¬†Psalm 73:17

It would do us all well to fall in love with the Psalms. In this particular Psalm, the writer expresses what many of God’s followers have felt at some time or another. The writer was struggling with what he considered the apparent success of the ungodly. Some of the words that are written in this Psalm are, “I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. . .They are not in trouble as other men. . .Behold these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches” (3, 5, 12). This logic led him to the conclusion that, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency” (13). The writer was in a confused and deceived state. His focus was on what seemed to be unjust. He could see no benefit in living in a godly way. It was his opinion that those who rejected God were actually better off than those who served Him.

Of course, we all know that this is not true. In a moment of difficulty and hardship, truth can somehow get lost in what our eyes are seeing. In our own way, most of us can identify with what the man of God was going through. In his dilemma, he did what we all should do in such a situation. The psalmist turned to God for counsel. Our text says, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” When he got with God, he understood that things were not as they initially appeared. After being in “the sanctuary of God” he said, “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places . . .in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. . .they that are far from thee shall perish” (18, 19, 27) He saw things differently when he got God’s perspective on what he was seeing and thinking.

This is a great lesson for all of us. Certainly things are not always as they appear. We cannot trust our observations to be accurate. God’s Word is the final authority. When our notions differ from the Scripture, we must lay aside our opinions and believe what God says. What should we do when we begin to have the kind of confusing thoughts the psalmist had? We have a choice to make. We can continue in our false imaginations and become further frustrated and confused. Or, we can get with God, look into His Word, and get His divine counsel about the situation.